All the Fat is Not the Lord’s

The devout cowboy lost his Bible while mending fences out on the range. Three weeks later a cow walked up to him carrying the Good Book in its mouth. The cow-poke couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He took the book out of the animal’s mouth, raised his eyes towards heaven and exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!” “Not really,” said the cow. “Your name is written inside the cover.”

I mention this story because when you read today’s Christian diet plans (Eden Diet, Makers Diet, Hallelujah Diet, What Would Jesus Eat?, etc.) all generally agree that when it comes to the Bible and beef – you should stay away from most cuts but especially the more fat-laden ones (filet mignon, prime rib, rib eye, sirloin, etc.)  Their nutritional reasoning is based on God’s instruction to Israel in the Old Testament law.

Leviticus 7:22-23,25

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Ye shall eat no manner of fat: of ox, or of sheep, or of goat … For whosoever eateth the fat of the beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, even the soul that eateth it shall be cut off from his people.
Leviticus 3:16

And the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savour: all the fat is the Lord’s.

The nutritional conclusion is thus – God wants all the fat himself because it will keep His people from getting high cholesterol followed by clogged veins and ultimately  fatal heart attacks.  Now, this would all be fine were it not for the fact that elsewhere the Lord both commends and commands His people to be eating fat.

Luke 15:27

And he said, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf…

Nehemiah 8:10

Then he said, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord…

So how can this be?  The answer lies in the difference between what you must offer on the temple altar and what you can offer on your home table.  At  the temple, the Lord requires all the fat of the best prime cuts to be consumed on the altar as a burnt offering, but at home you may keep the fat in the same prime cuts for yourself.
The bottom line?  You’re biblically free (now and then) to enjoy the fat: big juicy burger, rich marbled steak,  grease-dripping ribs, etc.  After all, doesn’t the Bible say of the early church believers in Acts 2:46 – And they did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.