Soul Food, Food for the Soul

"Soul Food".
It's a well watched TV series, a popular 1997 movie and soundtrack, the name of a myriad of "home
cooking" restaurants, a song title on the albums of several dozen recording artists, and also a well known
and used adjective for African American cuisine that originated during slavery of Africans in America. But
when you consider "soul food" from a spiritual viewpoint, it has an entirely fresh meaning.

In Matthew 4:4, we see Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 in response to an attack from Satan. The New
Living Translation reads "Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna,
a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people need more than
bread for their life; real life comes by feeding on every word of the LORD." So it is not natural food that
gives life and feeds man's soul, but soul food that gives life, directly from God.

Man has a record of food getting him into trouble since Genesis.  As we go back to Genesis 3:3-7, we
see that man's fall was a result of something we ate, consumed, and polluted our bodies and souls with. It
was food-or the lust thereof-that plunged man (and woman) into sin, the repercussions of which have
been passed down thousands of generations.

Genesis 3:3-7But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat
of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely dieFor
God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods,
knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was
pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat,
and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and
they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Hungering after something is not just a function of one's digestive system. Anyone who has tried to diet, or
fast, knows that eating is as much a battle of the mind as it is the stomach. The tree in the garden of Eden
was good for food, but Adam and Eve were not hungry, not in a physical sense for they were well
provided for.  But it was this hunger that separated them from God, and oftentimes, our own hunger that
continues to separate us from God today.

In Exodus 16:3 we see the Israelites complaining to Moses that they have no food. This is after the
amazing way that God delivered them out of the hands of the Egyptians. Not only does God supply them
with food, but he supplies them with heavenly food of the angels (Psalms 78:25). Nothing is too good for
the King's kids. Likewise, God meets our nutritional needs with flair today.

We are cautioned not to take God's soul food for granted. In Numbers 21:5-6 the Israelites are yet
complaining of the heavenly food that God has provided for them. How much is this like present day
people of God? We complain about our lack of comforts, even though we have life eternal. Do we not
have enough already to thank God for the rest of eternity? Well God's response to the Israelites speaks
clearly his views on the matter "And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the
people; and much people of Israel died"

But our God is a just and merciful God. And He provides for us incessantly and lovingly, exceeding (not
exceedingly) abundantly-which is over and above excess (Ephesians 3:20). In I Kings 19, we see Elijah
fleeing from Jezebel. This is the same mighty prophet who had just experienced a profound victory for the
one and true living God over all the false prophets of Baal. However, verse 3 finds Elijah, on the run,
exhausted, depressed and wishing for death.

I Kings 19: 2-6Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do [to me], and more
also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this timeAnd when he saw [that],
he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which [belongeth] to Judah, and left his servant
there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper
tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my
life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel
touched him, and said unto him, Arise [and] eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on
the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.

Have things ever been so awful in your life that you literally wanted to die? Well this is how oppressed and
depressed Elijah was feeling. So what does God do? He sends an angel with food to feed Elijah. Not an
elaborate feast, but a simple meal blessed of heaven. This food not only revives Elijah's body, but
refreshes his from his wish of death and sustains his spirit. In fact, this food so fed Elijah's soul that he
went on for another 40 days and nights on that same meal. Surely God is capable of making the same
kind of provisions for us today.

So how do we get this soul food?
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