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The Taste of Gratitude

Taste is intimately linked with the enjoyment of our food. One could say it starts with a look, is enhanced by the smell and that what we smell is what we taste.

Today we have a plethora of interesting things to eat but if it’s not spicy or smothered in gravies or sauces we consider it “bland”. If gratitude had a taste would we even know what it was?

Walk with me back to the time of Elijah (story found in I Kings 16:29-17:16): The new king was Ahab, the son of Omri. He committed many of the abominations of his forefathers by worshiping idolatrous gods. Early in his life Ahab displayed a taste for things that he shouldn’t have – false gods, heathen women, and property belonging to others…

This taste for the exotic was further highlighted when he married Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians. He built a temple and an altar to worship the Baals. He built a wooden statue to represent the Canaanite goddess Asherah.

According to I Kings 16:33, Ahab did more to provoke Jehovah to wrath than all the other kings before him. 

If gratitude had a taste,  would it be sweet or savory?

No Rain in the Land

Fast-forward a few months. Elijah, the prophet of God stands up before the king and declares that there will be no rain or dew in the land for the next few years until he gives word (I Kings 17:1).

No rain? No dew? How will the plants be watered? How will the animals be watered? What will the people drink? How will they get food to eat?

Now you’re probably wondering, W why Elijah would do such a thing?" Why would God grant such a request? Here’s what I think – God wanted to remind the people that it was his hand that kept them.

In Deuteronomy 11:1-21, Moses charged the people to serve Jehovah and to remember all that God had done for them. And here’s the part I find really interesting:

For the land which you are entering to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it with your foot like a garden of vegetables. 

But the land into which you are about to cross to possess, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven,  a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.

"It shall come about, if you listen obediently and pay attention to My commandments which I command you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul [your choices, your thoughts, your whole being]—  that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early [fall] rain and the late [spring] rain, so that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your [olive] oil. 

And He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away [from the Lord] and serve other gods and worship them,  or [else] the Lord’s anger will be kindled and burn against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the land will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.

Basically what Moses was saying was, if you serve God, he will take care of you, your animals and your land, but if you don’t then he will stop sending his rain. The children of Israel were not being obedient. They were not living a life committed to God. Their lives were not living sacrifices.

The Israelites were in the perfect position to experience and understand the taste of gratitude. When the rain stopped they should have come to a realization that every drop of water, every blade of grass, every seed that goes into the ground and comes out transformed, was the work of a mighty God. It should have caused them to appreciate every bite.

“O taste and see that the Lord is good!” they should have cried while giving glory unto Jehovah instead they failed to appreciate the lesson. Instead of turning towards God they turned their backs on him and wholeheartedly pursued those things that did not belong to them. Instead of whole grains and natural foods they glutted themselves on the sweet and the savory.

“What is she talking about?” you probably wonder. Let me break it down: two tables are laid out before you, one laden with fruits, nuts, vegetables and all things wholesome.

The other has decadent desserts, delightful cakes, sweet, creamy ice-creams and all the fried foods that your heart could desire.

One path leads to death. The other leads to life. Earlier this month we spoke about diabetes and its connection to our diets. So the question now is: are we choosing death or life with our tongues? 

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