An Appetite for Life!
While praying this morning, I asked the L-rd if He was ready to write this newsletter. He gave me one word: appetite.
According to the Random House College Dictionary the definition for appetite is “a desire for food or drink; any bodily need or craving; a desire, fondness, or inclination for something.” Most of us would use these words and possibly the synonym hunger to define appetite.
The L-rd directed me to research “appetite” in His Word. So I turned to the New American Standard concordance and found nine listings under the word “appetite”.
The references listed Numbers 11:6, Job 38:39, Proverbs 13:25, Proverbs 16:26, Proverbs 23:2, Ecclesiastes 6:7, Ezekiel 7:19, Habakkuk 2:5, and Philippians 3:19.
Numbers 11:6 takes place when the children of Israel were in the desert. They had left Egypt and were in the wilderness. The people were in their complaining mode again. In the English we read that their appetite was gone. But in the Hebrew we read that their “nefesh” was gone. Nefesh is translated as the essence of life—the living breathing part of a human being—the soul.
Here were the children of Israel crying out for what they had in their former life. Somehow they had forgotten that in that former life they were slaves. They only remembered the fish and the melons, the onions, the leeks and the cucumbers.
The Torah tells us that there was a rabble of people (promiscuous group) in the midst of the children of Israel who had greedy desires. These greedy desires affected and infected the souls of the children of Israel. The children of Israel who had been delivered by the Hand of G-d joined right in the complaining. No wonder their “soul” was gone. They had replaced it with a bitter spirit.
In Job 38:39, (“..satisfy the appetite of the young lion...”) the word translated appetite is “chayat”. Note, this different word refers to an animal. Animals do not have a nefesh. Chayat is derived from the word chai which means a living thing. Chayat is a feminine form and is used in this verse to denote an untamed beast.
The verses in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes use the Hebrew word nefesh again. They read:
The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, But the stomach of the wicked is in need. (Proverbs 13:25)
A worker's appetite works for him, For his hunger urges him on. (Proverbs 16:26)
And put a knife to your throat If you are a man of great appetite. (Proverbs 23:2)
All a man's labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied. (Ecclesiastes 6:7)
The words of the prophets Ezekiel and Habakkuk also use the word nefesh in their prophesies.
"They will fling their silver into the streets and their gold will become an abhorrent thing; their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the L-RD. They cannot satisfy their appetite nor can they fill their stomachs, for their iniquity has become an occasion of stumbling. (Ezekiel 7:19)
4 "Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.
5 "Furthermore, wine betrays the haughty man, So that he does not stay at home. He enlarges his appetite like Sheol, And he is like death, never satisfied. He also gathers to himself all nations And collects to himself all peoples. (Habakkuk 2:4-5)
Whenever the English word appetite is used in reference to man, the actual Hebrew word is nefesh, the word for our soul. This tells us that our appetite is actually an indication of the condition of our soul.
The final reference for appetite is in Paul’s writing to the Philippians:
18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of Messiah’s execution stake,
19 whose end is destruction, whose g-d is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. (Philippians 3:18-19)
This reference is the Greek word koilia which comes from the Greek word koilos ("hollow"); it signifies a cavity, i.e. (especially) the abdomen; by implication, the matrix; figuratively, the heart, belly, or womb.
A wise man once taught me that there is a G-d-shaped void or emptiness in every person. Many people realize that they have this void and they try to fill it with food, drugs, alcohol, wealth, power (the list goes on and on).
But none of those things can succeed in satisfying this emptiness. Only one thing will fill this G-d- shaped void: And that is HaShem!
In Deuteronomy 30 we read the words that Moses shared with our forefathers:
15 "See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity;
16 in that I command you today to love the L-RD your G-d, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the L-RD your G-d may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.
17 "But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.
19 "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,
20 by loving the L-RD your G-d, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the L-RD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."
Messiah told us “How blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! for they will be filled (satisfied). (Matthew 5:6 )
We need to focus our appetite on hungering and thirsting for G-d and His righteousness. Now that is an appetite for life!