Blessing The Food – Why?

Good Friday…

God chose to bless us by allowing His son to endure his horrific death today…that very thought overwhelms me.  Thank you God.

And so God’s blessing rules over creation.  He blessed His living creatures by saying “Be fruitful and multiply” – Gen 1:22.  The first thing God does in relation to man is to bless him (Gen 1:28).  God’s promised gifts are fruitfulness and dominion.  Then He blesses us with continued showers of blessings in Ez 34:26.  And then check out the blessing of all blessings in Gen 26:3 “I will be with thee.”

Fast forward to the time of Jesus.  Rabbis imparted blessings according to specific rules.   Jews used a blessing at meals.  It was a rule that they would eat nothing before a blessing was pronounced.  “It is forbidden to man to enjoy anything belonging to this world without a blessing; he who enjoys anything of this world without a blessing commits a violation”.  An explanation of this understanding is found in the Torah: “The world belongs to God. Only he who takes with thanksgiving truly receives from God; he who does not robs God.”  The Biblical backup is Ps 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof”. And “The earth hath He given to the children of men” Ps 115:16.  The first verse applies prior to the blessing and the other after.

So, do you ever wonder where our tradition of saying a blessing before our meals came from?

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From The Theological Dictionary –  “If a man eats alone, he says the blessing to himself. In common meals the main part is opened with a blessing usually pronounced by the head of the house with a piece of bread in his hand.  The others confirm it with an Amen. After this the head of the house breaks the bread and distributes to those who sit at the table with him. He himself eats first.  He praises the Creator who controls the fruit of the earth. At the conclusion of the meal there is a common thanksgiving or praise for the food.  Usually the head of the household asks the chief guest to pronounce this.  After saying “Let us pronounce the blessing” this guest takes the cup and with his eyes on it pronounces a blessing.  It is then that the whole meal becomes blessed for those who thankfully receive it as a gift from God.”

For me this historical understanding helps me understand the importance of the blessing of our meal.

Father forgive me for my “God is great, God is good…” type of prayers.  I bet you would rather me be silent than to utter a rote, unemotional, often memorized prayer before the meal.  My heart is to recognize and thank you and praise you.  From you all blessings flow…

Next – the New Testament Blessing…

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