Quick Meals or Eating with Your Shoes On
Conversation starter: Did you know that God talks about fast food in the Bible?
Read Exodus 12:1-13 and 16:1-8 ahead of time, so you’ll know what you’re talking about.
When the time came for God to rescue His people, the Israelites, from their captivity in Egypt, He knew that they would have to pick up and go IN A HURRY. There would be no time to pack. No making sure all the kids had shoes on. No charging the iPad so they would have a movie to watch in the car. So He gave specific instructions to them ahead of time to get them ready.
He told them in verse four to determine in advance exactly how much lamb to cook based on how much each person would eat at one meal. No waste, because He knew they wouldn’t be there to eat it. He told them to roast it and make bread to go with it. This is also important: He told them to make bread without yeast. Why? Because bread without yeast doesn’t need time to rise! They needed a meal they could make and eat quickly.
He even told them not to store leftovers: in verse 10 He said, ïf some is left till morning, you must burn it.” No time to look for Tupperware! But verse 11 is really the verse that’s interesting to me: “This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.”
It should be a relief to us as moms that God understands eating on the run. All those times you felt guilty about throwing a bag of food toward the hungry hordes in the back seat at the McDonald’s drive-thru, God totally got it.
Although God gave specific instructions about what they were to eat and how to cook it, His focus was not on the food but rather on what purpose the food was going to serve. It was fuel for the road. That night, the Lord would pass through Egypt and slaughter the first born in the houses that weren’t covered in the blood of the lamb. He knew His people needed to be able to run, and run fast. And when they ran the next morning, they did so with no extra food as baggage and no waste left behind. Do you know what food they DID take with them? That unleavened bread dough! And it was compact and firm enough to pack into troughs on their shoulders because it hadn’t risen. It wasn’t some doughy mess to carry through the desert.
But then we get to Chapter 16. They were camping again, in a place called the Desert of Sin. (Do you think that’s a coincidence? Because I don’t.) And after a few weeks, the people started to grumble and complain. Why? Because they weren’t satisfied with their food situation! The same people who had walked through the Red Sea on dry land were irritated and said, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” They had been in the desert for 2 ½ months by that time.
But, and this is your “aha” moment, do you know how far their homes in Egypt were from the land that God had promised them? TEN DAYS’ WALK. Yup. Ten days. What were they doing this whole time? They were camped. They were sitting by the sea. Waiting on something to happen. Waiting to see if anyone was going to take charge or if anyone was going to give up and go home. Maybe even waiting on God to show up. They were wasting time hemmed in by a sea that God could move out of their way if they stepped in with a little faith.
We won’t go into the rest of the story now, how they disobeyed God and built an idol and ended up circling aimlessly in the desert for 40 years. Frankly, we don’t have time to catalog all the ways the Children of Israel messed up. But suffice it to say, they could have arrived in the Land of Milk and Honey while they were still burping lamb and bitter herbs.
God had given them a quick meal to focus them on the task ahead. He had given them fuel for the journey He had planned for them. It’s not His fault that they chose to take a totally different journey. So often we view food as the END to a day. The time at dusk when we sit down and take a load off and rest and stuff ourselves as a reward for surviving through a hard day.
What would happen if we viewed it as fuel for the journey instead? What if we asked God what He has for us to do and looked at food as a tool that helped us serve Him more effectively? What if, instead of feeding our families because we “have to,” we turned our tables into mission fields to reach our children. What if we used food to minister? What if we used it as fuel for ministry? Would it change the foods we ate? Would it change who we cook for? Would it change how we felt about cooking?
My dad used to say this prayer at every meal: “Bless this food to our bodies and our bodies, Lord, to your service.” We used to make fun of him because he said it every time. But it is truth and bears repeating. Food fuels our bodies to serve God. And in doing so, food becomes a holy act of worship. And every dinner becomes a Passover meal.