“Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.” Song of Solomon 2:5
Did you know that there was sex in the Bible?
You probably did. But that shocked me when I was younger. I don’t exactly remember the first time I studied the Song of Solomon, but I was a little embarrassed to discover that there were verses in the Bible about boobs.
I remember because I saw that same embarrassment reflected back in the faces of countless middle school girls when we would talk about God’s design for sex. I talked about it anyway, over and over again, because I always wanted my girls to see was that underneath all the baggage and shame and hurt that we have heaped on to sexual intimacy, there is a beautiful thing that God designed with our enjoyment in mind.
He designed food the same way.
That’s why they’re mentioned together in the verse above. In ancient Israel, raisin cakes were considered aphrodisiacs and fertility aids. (Knowing this completely changed my understanding of Samuel 6:19-20.) Think about it: food that was designed by God to give us greater desire for our spouse or heighten our enjoyment of their intimacy – how can we doubt that God has made these things because he delights to give his children good gifts?
God created us with bodies on purpose and put us in a world where things have textures and flavors and scents. The feel of grass between your toes or sunshine on your skin, the crisp smell of leaves in fall or snow in the winter, the taste of a juicy slice of watermelon or a hot cup of coffee – these are carnal pleasures.
We experience them because we are flesh and blood.
In the garden, Adam and Eve were freely able to partake in the pleasures that God had created for them. Everything was simple. They did not even realize they were naked. That’s how free they were.
But outside the garden, where sin is rampant and the enemy perverts what God made good into things that cause terrible pain, the pleasures that were once so freely enjoyed now need boundaries.
Sex is a delightful expression of love between a married man and woman, but outside of that, it is the source of some of the greatest evils in our society. Likewise, when our need for food is distorted, it can also responsible for a lot of pain, through things like alcoholism, obesity-related diseases, and eating disorders.
If you have been the victim of pain that was caused by one of these things, my heart goes out to you. But these things have not happened because food is bad. They have happened because we live in a world where our very real enemy seeks to destroy and devour everything that God calls good.
Food is one of those things.
Food is meant to be enjoyed. And not just in some small, passive way. God meant for us to absolutely delight in the bounty that the earth provides for us. Think of the deep flavor of a summer tomato, or soft warmth of bread that just came out of the oven. Those things were designed to give you pleasure simply because God loves you.
He loves you.
With every bite that you put in your mouth today, please remember that.
This post is part of a 31-day series. A list of all the other posts in this series can be found here.