Tag Archives: food

Should fruit trees be destroyed?

No.

Moses told his people that when they attacked a city, they shouldn’t cut down the city’s trees. Or at least not the fruit trees. That would be silly; the trees aren’t your enemies. Trees are useful, and fruit trees in particular are most useful when they haven’t been cut down.

God punished Jeremiah’s enemies when they called him a fruit tree and plotted to cut him off and destroy him.

Jesus told a parable where he seemed to approve of a man deciding not to cut down a fig tree even though it hadn’t produced any fruit for three years. (That man Jesus approved of was open to cutting the tree down if it was still unproductive after another year of special care, though…)

Yes.

The prophet Elisha encouraged the king of Israel and his allies, telling them that with God’s help, they would successfully overthrow their Moabite enemies. He said they would stop up all the Moabites’ springs, ruin all their good fields, and cut down all their good trees. Apparently God thinks spitefully cutting down the enemy’s trees is a good thing now.

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The Story of Jonathan and the Cursed Honey
Saul Tries to Starve His Own Army

During a war with the Philistines, King Saul’s son Jonathan ate some honey that he found on the ground. But then someone informed him that his father had said anyone who ate anything that day would be cursed. Jonathan thought that was dumb. By depriving them of food, Saul was making his army too weak to fight the Philistines. So Jonathan sneaked away and started killing Philistines himself. Then God made the Philistines panic and attack each other so the Israelites wouldn’t have to.

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Saul Tries to Starve His Own Army
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The Story of King Abimelek
The King Who Wasn't Killed by a Woman

Gideon was another judge of Israel. He destroyed a pagan object of worship that his father had made, and then he made his people a new one. He also tortured or killed anyone who wouldn’t give his men free food. The Israelites liked Gideon so much, they wanted him to become their king. But he refused. After Gideon died, his son Abimelek murdered his 70 brothers, and then he was made the first king of Israel.

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The King Who Wasn't Killed by a Woman
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The Story of Samson’s Riddle
Out of the Strong, Some Way to Cheat

Samson was another judge, who saved his people when God let the Philistines take over Israel. Samson was a life-long Nazirite, which required him to abstain from wine, corpses, and haircuts.

While Samson was on his way to a Philistine city to visit a Philistine woman, he was attacked by a lion. God gave him the strength to easily kill the lion with his bare hands. Later, when he was on his way to the Philistine city again to marry the Philistine woman, he found that some bees had made a nest in the lion’s body. He took some honey out of the dead lion and shared it with his parents. But he didn’t tell anyone where the honey came from.

Samson challenged 30 Philistine men to try to solve a riddle by the end of his week-long wedding feast. They agreed that the losing party would have to give the winning party 30 sets of clothes. So Samson told them a “riddle” that they couldn’t possibly make sense of without knowing about the lion incident that no one but Samson knew about.

The Philistine men realized that Samson was unfairly trying to take their property. So they threatened to burn down his new wife’s house unless she told them the answer to the riddle. Samson’s wife cried constantly for the rest of the week until Samson gave her the answer. Then she told the answer to the men, and the men gave the answer back to Samson.

Samson knew those 30 Philistine men must have cheated, since there was no other way they could have possibly solved his “riddle”. But he gave them the promised 30 sets of clothes… which he got by killing 30 other Philistine men.

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Out of the Strong, Some Way to Cheat
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The Story of the Water from the Rock
Why Moses was Banned from the Promised Land

Moses brought the Israelites to a place called Meribah. They couldn’t find any water to drink there, because it was a desert, so they complained to Moses. The Israelites had been in the same situation here in Meribah before, and God had told Moses to hit a rock with his staff. When he did, water had come out of it.

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Why Moses was Banned from the Promised Land
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The Story of the Twelve Explorers
You Didn't Tell Us There Would Be Giants

Moses sent twelve men to explore the land of Canaan, which God had promised to give to the Israelites, to see what the land and the people there were like. The men found that the land was very good, but it was inhabited by Anakites. To show how good the land was, they brought back a cluster of grapes too big for one person to carry.

The men reported that the land was very good, but it was inhabited by big, strong Anakites in big, strong cities.1 Two of the explorers, Joshua and Caleb, thought the Israelites should go and take that good land for themselves. But the rest of the explorers said they couldn’t do that, because the people there were too big and strong.

When the Israelites heard this, they said it would be better to die in the wilderness than to try to take over that land. They decided to try to kill Moses and go back to Egypt. When the untemptable God heard their plans, he was tempted to kill all the Israelites except Moses and his descendants.

But Moses reminded God, again, that killing all his people would be bad for his reputation. Everyone would think God was incapable of bringing his people to the promised land. When the all-knowing, never-changing, all-good God heard this, he changed his mind and decided not to kill everybody, again.

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You Didn't Tell Us There Would Be Giants
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The Story of the Plague of Quail
God Solves a Problem by Creating a Worse Problem

The Israelites were getting tired of eating nothing but bread from heaven, so they asked for some meat. Moses didn’t know where to get meat, even though God had already given them meat when they had asked before. So Moses asked God to kill him.

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God Solves a Problem by Creating a Worse Problem
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Should people drink wine?

No.

Going after wine is a foolish thing to do. It will only betray you, cloud your judgment, and cause all kinds of suffering. Wine makes you stupid, unhealthy, and defiled. Only wicked and indecent people get drunk on wine, and only godless people and detestable pagans drink wine all day. Anyone who doesn’t belong to the dark side must remain sober. So if anyone offers you wine, follow Jesus’s example and refuse it. God will not forgive people who enjoy wine, until the day they die.

That won’t be too long though, since the Bible says people who are accused of being drunkards must be executed. But people who get drunk, or even associate with drunkards, won’t be forgiven after they die, either. They won’t be allowed in the kingdom of God. People who are good at drinking wine will fall apart like they’re being consumed by fire. God will destroy those who shamefully get others drunk on wine, as they deserve.

Yes.

Paul advises people to drink wine to improve their health. Solomon also wisely advises people to enjoy wine, with God’s approval. Wisdom herself invites people to drink wine, so it can’t be a foolish thing to do. And drinking wine and getting drunk can’t be a bad thing to do if God makes people do it, right? Would God force people to sin?

God created grapes so people could make wine to gladden their hearts and make them thrive. Jacob, the father of God’s chosen people, was given an abundance of wine as a blessing. God gave his people wine as a blessing and a reward for following his laws and honoring him. Not getting to drink wine is a curse and a punishment for failing to do what God wants. For instance, God takes away people’s wine when they fail to recognize that wine is a gift from God.

God told Aaron and his priestly family they could have all the finest wine of the land. He tells people to invite others to drink wine. He said when you free your slaves, you should generously supply them with wine, as he generously supplies all people with wine. God clearly doesn’t see wine as a bad thing.

Noah was righteous and blameless, and he made wine and drank it till he passed out. Even Jesus drank wine and provided others with wine, and he never sinned. So drinking wine is not a sin. In fact, it’s a requirement. Some of the religious rituals that God and Jesus commanded people to engage in involved drinking wine.

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The Story of Joseph and his Brothers
The Interpreter of Dreams

How God got Joseph into Egypt

Jacob made a fancy robe for his favorite son, Joseph. This made Joseph’s brothers jealous. Then Joseph started having dreams about his family bowing down to him. This made his brothers hate him. So Joseph’s brothers stole his robe and dipped it in goat blood, so their father would think Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. They sold Joseph to some merchants, who took him away to Egypt and sold him as a slave to Potiphar, the captain of the guard.

Inmate interprets increasingly insane imaginings

Potiphar’s wife kept trying to get Joseph to sleep with her, but he refused. Then she accused him of trying to rape her, so Potiphar put him in prison. Two other prisoners, who had been Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker, got Joseph to interpret their dreams for them. Pharaoh’s cupbearer had dreamed about bearing Pharaoh’s cup, which Joseph said meant he would become Pharaoh’s cupbearer again. And it was so. Pharaoh’s baker had dreamed about birds eating Pharaoh’s bread out of a basket on the baker’s head, which Joseph said meant the baker would be executed. And it was so.

Later, Pharaoh had a dream about seven skinny cows eating seven fat cows, and a dream about seven thin heads of grain eating seven full heads of grain. None of his magicians and wise men could tell him what his dreams meant, so his cupbearer suggested asking Joseph. Joseph said both dreams meant that there would be seven years of abundance, and then seven years of famine. Pharaoh was so impressed by this claim that he put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt, without even bothering to wait and see if Joseph’s prediction was accurate.

Do not worry about tomorrow

During the seven years of abundance, Joseph took away all the grain that was grown in Egypt and stored it up, so the people could starve sooner rather than later. Then during the seven years of famine, he sold grain to everyone who needed it in Egypt and Canaan. Joseph gave the Egyptians food (that he had stolen from them) in exchange for all their money, all their livestock, all their land, and their slave labor. He also made them give a fifth of the food they were able to grow to Pharaoh, so that they could have food.

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The Interpreter of Dreams
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