God's Rules for Health
Lesson 19

When the Lord brought Israel out of their Egyptian bondage, before taking them into the land of promise, He established them as a peculiar nation belonging to Himself. At that time, because they were to be a holy people, He gave them a series of laws governing not only their diet, but rules for good sanitation and social conduct. After having spelled out these rules to them, He gave His word that if they would adhere to the principles that He had given them and do all of His requirements, they would experience none of the diseases that He had brought upon the Egyptians (see Exodus 15:26); but this promise was given on conditions of obedience. Had the Israelites obeyed these laws, profiting by the advantages that were theirs, they would have been an object lesson of health and prosperity to the world.

Our Creator has arranged the living machinery of our bodies, and He has pledged Himself to keep this machinery in healthful action if we will obey His laws and cooperate with Him. Many ask God for health, expecting Him to keep them from sickness with no particular effort on their part; but God will not work a miracle to keep us from sickness if we have no care for ourselves and are living in violation of the laws of health.

1. What does Paul state that our bodies are to be?

1 Corinthians 6:19–20

Note: Most people recognize no link between their physical health and their spiritual experience. However, the Bible reveals that our body-temples do not belong to us, but to God. We are His by creation and by redemption. Through His Holy Spirit, He desires to dwell in us, and He desires that we give glory to Him through His gift to us—our bodies.

2. Therefore how are we to present our bodies to God?

Romans 12:1

3. If we defile our bodies, what does the apostle say God will do?

1 Corinthians 3:16–17

4. Is God concerned with what we eat?

1 Corinthians 10:31

5. What foods did God originally give man to eat?

Genesis 1:29

Note: When God made our bodies He also gave specific directions for their maintenance. No one has been able to improve on the original diet; grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables are still recognized by the best nutritionists as the finest possible diet.

6. When did God give permission to eat flesh food?

Genesis 8:13; 9:1–3

Note: It is clear from the wording that until that time, (the time of the Flood), it was not God’s plan that meat should form a part of man’s diet.

7. How did God arrange to provide meat for man’s use?

Genesis 7:1–2

Note: Many have assumed that it was only the Jewish people who were forbidden to eat the unclean animals. However, the law of clean and unclean animals extends all the way back to Noah’s day, and there were no Jews at that time. If Noah and his family had eaten any of the unclean animals, that species would have ceased to exist. Clearly in providing the extra clean animals for the needs of Noah’s family during that period of time following the flood when there would be no vegetation to eat because of its having been destroyed, God intended that they would eat only of the clean animals.

8. What two characteristics reveal that an animal is clean?

Leviticus 11:3

Note: The verses to follow clearly point out that it is not sufficient to have one of the two characteristics; it is necessary that both be present for the animal to be considered clean.

The fact that God spoke of all animals as being given man for food, would lead some to believe that they are free to eat all animals. Notice, however, that God likens it to the green herbs, all of which He had given man to eat. See Genesis 9:3. We know very well, however, that there are some green plants that grow that are deadly when eaten, and we would not consider eating them. We must understand that of all the animals which were fit for food—clean—and which God had given them to eat, they might freely eat.

We have another example of this in Exodus 16 where God told Moses that He would cause bread to rain from heaven and that the people were to gather a certain amount every day. A few verses later it becomes apparent that they were only to gather bread six days a week, and that on the sixth they were to gather twice as much as on any other day. Not only was this to be the case, but it was to be a test to determine the obedience of the people, and their attitude toward God’s law and authority.

9. What distinguishes between the clean and unclean sea creatures?

Leviticus 11:9

10. What part of the animal was never to be eaten?

Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 3:17

11. What reason did God give for restricting the Hebrew’s diet?

Deuteronomy 14:2–3

Note: It is impossible for man to present his body a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, while he is indulging in habits that are lessening physical, mental, and moral vigor. The body is the medium through which mind and soul are developed for the up-building of character. It is for this reason that the enemy of souls directs so many of his temptations to the weakening and degrading of the physical powers.

12. What is Paul’s counsel with regard to even good things?

1 Corinthians 9:25

Note: Intemperance in eating, even of good food, will have a weakening influence upon the system and will blunt the ability of the mind to think clearly.

13. What does Solomon say about the use of alcoholic beverages?

Proverbs 23:31–32

Note: Many Christians believe that the Bible endorses moderate drinking of alcohol, but this concept is largely based on the use of the term “wine” in Scripture. The word for wine in the Bible may refer to either fermented or unfermented drink. The wine upon which the Bible pronounces a blessing is the new wine, as found in the cluster, an obvious reference to freshly pressed grape juice. See Isaiah 65:8. There is no blessing in that which tends to intoxicate and confuse the thinking. Jesus in the New Testament did not contradict the inspired warning given to man in the Old Testament. As the Creator, He did not sanction the use of a beverage which weakens the moral inhibitions, reducing the power of effective decision making.

14. With what does Paul class temperance?

Galatians 5:22–23

15. What advice about purity did Paul give Timothy?

1 Timothy 5:22

Note: We have been made stewards of our body-temples. Any practice or habit which weakens our physical strength affects also our mental ability, which in turn adversely affects our spiritual life. Whether this be the use of mind altering drugs, nicotine, or caffeine, they are all enemies of good health, and as such are forbidden in God’s Word.

One who has brought poor health upon himself through intemperance, or indulgence in forbidden practices, cannot glorify God as he could had he retained his physical strength, dedicating it to divine service. We have, therefore, a moral duty and obligation to become wise with regard to maintaining our bodies in the best possible condition, living in accordance with the natural laws of health. When we submit our whole being to God He will then use us as His “instruments of righteousness.”

16. How do we show that we truly belong to Jesus?

Romans 6:16

17. What does God promise those who follow the guidelines for health that He has given us?

Deuteronomy 7:12, 15

Note: God gave Israel definite instruction in regard to their habits of life. When they fulfilled the conditions, the promise was verified to them. “There was not one feeble person among their tribes.” Psalm 105:37

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