When considering God, most people primarily think of Him as the Creator, King, Judge, or Savior. These are all definite titles and attributes of the Lord, but God does not want to be primarily known as such things. I’d like to make the case that God has always desired to present Himself to man as food to be eaten.
This topic is incredibly important, for it reveals what God’s plan and desire is for man and specifically His relationship with man. I’m not going to get into the intricacies of such a mystery or the implications, simply due to the limits of a post. I’m simply going to let the Word of God be and hopefully speak to all who read this.
“And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden.” Gen 2:9
“Lest he put forth his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever…” Gen. 3:22
God first presents Himself to man as food in the form of the tree of life. We can’t limit the Word of God to a solely literal, historical hermeneutic, for the apostle Paul had a much richer, spiritual interpretation (see Gal. 4:21-31). This tree symbolizes Christ, who is God (Jn.1:1), who is our tree of life (Jn. 15), and who gives eternal life like the tree (Gen. 3:22, Jn. 3:16). So, it was as food that God first presents Himself. This is not a new interpretation. Augustine saw this as well: “Christ Himself, is the tree of life” ¹
“And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.” Ex. 12:7
“for our Passover, Christ, also has been sacrificed. So then let us keep the feast” 1 Cor. 5:7
To the children of Israel, God again presents Himself as food. Many theologians and pastors have realized that Christ is the reality of the Passover Lamb as the one who keeps us from the wrath of God, but few have seen that the Israelites then ate that lamb. God could no longer just be the tree of life, for our sin was in the way. Now, we need the blood before we have right to eat Him. This is why He is now the lamb.
“Then Jehovah said to Moses, I will now rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day” Ex. 16:4
“I am the living bread which came down out of heaven” Jn. 6:51
This one should be self -explanatory. God is our bread from heaven! He is our food supply, just as He was to the Hebrews.
“I will be standing before you there upon the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it so that the people may drink.” Ex. 17:6
“And all drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank of a spiritual rock which followed them, and the rock was Christ.” 1 Cor. 10:4
Here’s another self-explanatory one, even though it isn’t technically about food. Christ is not only our food, but also our drink and breath (Jn. 20:22). He is everything that we need to be sustained and satisfied.
“Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word became to me the gladness and joy of my heart.” Jer. 15:16
Here is a shadow to the New Testament where the Word of God becomes our food. But, this is another prime example of God being our food.
I could go on with the good land and each of the items in it, but I simply don’t have the time or the space for this post. I would like to mention, however, that with the tabernacle there are many such types as well. The priests ate many of the sacrifices, the showbread was the first item in the tabernacle, there was the hidden manna in the Holy of Holies, of which we will have access to (Rev. 2:17), and the temple is simply the enlargement of the tabernacle!
I’ve already used a ton of space (sorry if you’re exhausted already), but here are a number of verses that shows God, specifically as the embodiment of the Word (Jn. 1:1), today presents Himself to us as food:
“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” Matt. 4:4 (see Lk. 4:4 as well)
“he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.” Jn. 6:57
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” Jn. 7:37
“I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, for you were not yet able to receiveit.” 1 Cor. 3:2
“have become those who have need of milk and not of solid food.” Heb. 5:12
“As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation” 1 Pet. 2:2
“To him who overcomes, to him I will give to eat of the tree of life” Rev. 2:7
“To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna” Rev. 2:17
“For the Lamb…will shepherd them and guide them to springs of waters of life” Rev. 7:17
This was not at all extensive, but I hope it is clear that the Lord presents Himself to us as food. Food that is to be taken in and become a part of us. He wants to satisfy our every need and be the One who we depend on.
We must stop giving all our attention, devotions, and prayers to God’s “big-ness” and start treating Him how he primarily presents Himself: as our food to eat, satisfy, and enjoy.
Lord Jesus help us see You as our food! Thank you for becoming so accessible to us. Keep us feasting on You forever!
¹ Augustine, On the Literal Meaning of Genesis, vol. II, trans. John Hammond Taylor, SJ, Ancient Christian Writers, 42 (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 1982) 8.4.8, p. 38
Love the OT/NT parallels where Jesus is the reality.!
Reese, you have hooked me into your pieces upon reading “Eating God”. Profound and life giving. Thanks you for you thoughtful and enlightened analysis of this concept. I will be ready more and may Jesus bless you every step of your journey.