Thursday, June 18, 2009

Accept No Substitutes

Isaiah 55:1-5, NKJV

I know I shouldn’t do it, but I’m sitting here thinking of the days to come when I won’t have any bread and sugar in my diet. The one thing I already know I won’t do is the dietary bait and switch that so many others do. The reason for this is quite simple: I can’t.

I’m not the type of person who will pretend that a food item that I’ve substituted for another is the substituted item. For instance, I like spaghetti whenever I get it. However, the one time I had spaghetti squash, I knew it wasn’t spaghetti. As I recall, I didn’t like it very much, even with the spaghetti sauce on it. And although I like portabella mushrooms, I have never mistaken them for meat, not even on a burger bun with cheese, lettuce, and tomato with a side of hot, crispy fries, lightly salted and smothered in ketchup.

Now it’s not to say that won’t try to use vegetables in new ways. For instance, I know I like zucchini in spells, and I have a friend who makes the only eggplant I’ll eat. He’s not of Italian descent, but his pots and pans would swear otherwise. So I’m open to the possibility of a switch-out of those vegetables for the pasta in lasagna. And I’ve already enjoyed mashed cauliflower with garlic, herbs, EVOO, and enough cheese to sink a battleship (well it was a lot of cheese, anyway). And when I get ready for ice cream, the agave nectar will be in place, ready to sweeten my tongue happy in my own creamy creation.

The problem will come when I WANT SOME BREAD, DANG IT!!! It won’t be enough to eat something else and pretend it’s bread; since I already don’t believe in trying to fool myself about things like that, we can pretty much forget about that working for me. I’ll just be ornery and cranky until the urge passes or I get some bread.

There’s a sermon in here somewhere; I can smell it.

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters;

And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat.

Yes, come, buy wine and milk

Without money and without price.

Why do you spend money for what is not bread,

And your wages for what does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,

And let your soul delight itself in abundance.”

I do not gladly accept substitutes in food. These verses were written to a people who had accepted many harmful and soul-destroying substitutes for The Most High God, and it had destroyed them in every way possible. They were repeatedly ravaged by armies who killed, enslaved, oppressed, and starved them into such submission that at times in their history they resorted to cannibalism. They had accepted spiritual substitutes that did them no good, and they did not know their God any longer. These are His words to them through the prophet Isaiah, inviting them to come and take freely of Him. It would cost them nothing. All they had to do was show up ready to receive and accept. And this is what He promised them:

“Incline your ear, and come to Me.

Hear, and your soul shall live;

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—

The sure mercies of David.

Indeed, I have given him as a witness to the people,

A leader and commander for the people.

Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,

And nations who do not know you shall run to you,

Because of the LORD your God,

And the Holy One of Israel;

For He has glorified you.”

What a promise!

Now how does this help me with bread? Well, it doesn’t really, at least not on the surface. But just as I won’t fool myself that whatever I substitute for bread is bread itself, neither should I accept that there is any acceptable substitute for the Living God who gives me everything—even the ability to get bread when nothing else will satisfy.

But I promise to give this upcoming experiment my best effort and refrain from eating any bread.

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