This weekly series of devotions will seek to nourish the soul of the reader as food nourishes the body. Each week, based on a specific text of God’s Word, we will delve into how God feeds our spirits through that Word, feeding us forgiveness, life, and salvation. From the blessing of food in the Garden of Eden, to the feast of the Passover, to the institution of the Lord’s Supper, to the heavenly marriage feast of the Lamb in his Kingdom, God seeks to satisfy our spiritual hunger. So we ask all to join us, feasting with God.
Vicar Michael G. Lilienthal
Feasting with God #1
“Praying for God’s Blessings”
15The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
16You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Every family has its own tradition of table prayers. Some families pray what is called the “Common Table Prayer,” which begins, “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest….” Others pray some translation of the Psalm text above. Still others pray, “Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts….” Whatever the tradition of the family, these table prayers are the means by which we ask God to bless the food we are about to receive.
What does it mean for our food to be blessed? No, it’s not a magical incantation that somehow makes the food more nourishing to our bodies. This blessing means so much more than that. Because of our sinful natures, our whole lives have been corrupted by sin. Everything we do, even our good deeds, are tainted by our innate sinfulness, so that even those good deeds are considered sins, as Isaiah writes that “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Is. 64:6). As sinful beings, everything around us is sinful, everything we do is sinful, and everything we take in is sinful, including the food we eat.
But looking to God, we can see where our salvation comes from. This psalm says, “You satisfy the desire of every living thing.” In one sense this means that, whatever every living creature needs to survive in its daily life, God provides it, as the Creator and Preserver of the universe. The hunger of each being is not satisfied by anything other than what God provides. But in another sense, we can understand the keen desire of God’s creation, being broken and corrupted in sin, to have salvation brought to it. And that, God satisfied. Paul wrote to the Romans, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves…groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:22-23). Creation groaned for its salvation throughout history until the satisfaction came in the form of a literal birth: a child born in a stable, who then grew up performing miracles and never sinning, and ultimately who died on a cross, suffering the pains that our sins deserved. And he rose again to lead those who followed him into a new life that never hungered again.
Because of our faith founded on Christ, all the corruption of sin in us and around us is sanctified, made holy. Now, doing our good deeds in faith, they are no longer sins but true good deeds. Now, although this world is still sinful and continues to harm us, the things we eat are nourishing our bodies and our souls. Therefore we pray God to bless our food the same way we ask him forgiveness. We pray it knowing that he provides, knowing that he opens his hand. And so we have the blessing of food given by God, and the forgiveness of our sins, salvation of our souls, and new life in his Son.
Come now to us, Lord Jesus, and bless us with your presence. Be a welcome guest at our table and in our lives. Help us to realize that the gifts you give us of food and nourishment are truly blessings from you, as are the forgiveness of our sins and the promise of our eternal life after our death. Bless these physical gifts also with your grace so that we may grow in our holiness and thankfulness to you. In your name we pray. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.