~~Deuteronomy 14: 1-21~~
This passage starts with a declaration that the people of God are “sons of the LORD your God” and what follows includes some rules for how they will set themselves apart from the rest of the world.
First, there is a prohibition against making a show of mourning that is like the pagans around them who cut themselves and shave their heads a certain way. The Matthew Henry commentary explains that “this as a law against immoderate grief for the death of our relations”, since we are people who have hope in a life eternal. We sorrow, but not as the world sorrows. As the commentary explains, if our father should die, we are sorrowful, but not to the point of despair because we still have an eternal Heavenly Father who provides for His children. What a wonderful truth for those who know God!
As for the prohibition against certain foods, both this commentary and the notes from my MacArthur Bible app explain that those prohibitions, following upon verse 2 ( “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God…chosen..out of all the peoples…on the face of the earth”) , are more rules that will set the people of God apart from their ungodly neighbors. God had a good purpose in mind in His forbidding of certain foods. From the Henry commentary:
“…to be intended as a mark of peculiarity; for their observance of it would cause them to be taken notice of in all mixed companies as a separate people, and would preserve them from mingling themselves with, and conforming themselves to, their idolatrous neighbours.”
We are reminded in Henry’s commentary that “It is plain in the law itself that they belonged only to the Jews, and were not moral, nor of perpetual use, because not of universal obligation…” and he reminds us of 1 Timothy 4:4 which tells us “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving…” Praise the Lord for the ability to enjoy all foods with thanksgiving!