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2020 Lent devotion #16 – Once again, do not eat the blood

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

The people pounced on the spoil and took sheep and oxen and calves and slaughtered them on the ground. And the people ate them with the blood. Then they told Saul, “Behold, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood.” And he said, “You have dealt treacherously; roll a great stone to me here.” And Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Let every man bring his ox or his sheep and slaughter them here and eat, and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’” So every one of the people brought his ox with him that night and they slaughtered them there.  (1 Sam. 14:32-34)

This scene takes place during some of Israel’s intense fighting with their classic enemy, the Philistines. As the battle goes on, Saul has commanded his people to keep fighting rather than stopping to eat. They were exhausted and starving, so when they win some victories, they begin slaughtering and eating some of the plundered cattle on the spot, clearly in violation of God’s law. In one of his moments of faithfulness, Saul supervises them so that all is done in order, and the people are not sinning by eating the raw meat filled with blood.

In times of stress or fatigue, our will power can fail us, and we might just revert to unwise behavior. When you haven’t had a chance to eat all day, you’ll eat whatever’s in the house, even if it’s not good for you. That’s why you really don’t want bags of chips or boxes of donuts in the pantry or containers of ice cream in the freezer. But even better is someone who will help keep you on track. Someone who will encourage you, hold you accountable and walk that healthy lifestyle with you. Don’t get me wrong. Chips, donuts and ice cream are definitely good gifts from God to be enjoyed from time to time. Just maybe not all the time.

Get enough rest, plan and prepare healthy food, enjoy a treat once in a while. That’s some of the best wisdom I’ve received. I’m pretty sure that wisdom can be found in scripture, too. And do it with those you love and care about. Supporting each other is both a gift to be received and to give.

Thanks Lord, for those who help me stay on track. Amen. 

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