Recently I walked into church and was greeted with “Falafel – I don’t ever want to see another falafel again.” This old friend had just returned from his first trip to Israel and although he said the sites were amazing, the food over-excited his senses. Even if you haven’t been to Israel, the seven foods of the Promised Land can enliven your taste buds.
We experience the flavors of God’s grace many ways – through His workings in our life, His workings around us and His blessings within us. Food is one of the major ways the Lord communicates with us and teaches.
Food Connects Us
Fourteen years ago my husband and I led a short term mission trip to Romania. Our team discovered the soda Fanta and everyone was enthralled with it. They wanted it every night for dinner after our long hot days.
Then on our first trip to Israel I also discovered as my friend did, falafel – a delicious bean croquette and just like him we had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Are there foods that the aroma of or eating of bring memories of? Often, we connect special foods with experiences, relationships, and traditions.
My senses connect the discovery of these foods to God’s workings.
Seeing Fanta today still reminds me of our trip to Romania: How God provided the words to share, guided us through difficult transportation issues, and gave opportunities to reach people in the far countryside waiting to hear the Gospel.
Each time I enjoy falafel, my senses are taken back to Israel: Memories of how God led us to the specific places where He’s at work in the lives of people, brought us through customs with limited questions of our assignment, and taught us how to pray for Israel.
Foods can be the initiating reminder of God’s promises, provisions, and grace. Perhaps this is why there are so many references to food in scripture.
The Flavors of Grace in the Seven Foods of the Promised Land
God intended the same for the Israelites: to remind them of HIS promises, provision, and grace.
During Passover, Jewish families, and now some Christians, enjoy lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. All reminders of His promises, provisions, and grace.
Imagine with me it is the year 1350 BC and you’re sitting at the dinner table in Galilee. Your grandfather is telling you about the days of walking in the dessert till they reached the Promised Land.
“I remember my parents sharing stories as we reclined for our dinner of manna and quail – again. It was the only food I had ever known. My parents would talk incessantly about leeks, onions, garlic and cucumbers. I assumed these foods must be the sweetest foods on earth. Boy, was I surprised when I bit right into a garlic clove the very first time. Whoa. What were they thinking?”
Food evokes memories and memories are a reminder of God’s grace.
Manna and quail in the wilderness. Fanta soda in Romania. Falafel in Israel. All flavors of God’s grace.
Flavors of Grace - Seven Species of Foods of the Promised Land
In Deuteronomy there are two specific examples of this grace for us to learn.
Deuteronomy 8 has the words of Moses where he retells everything God had done. Moses didn't want the people to forget the journey and therefore squander the promises.
He wanted their attention. He needed to give last minute reminders.
Imagine Moses shares these words with you. You’ve never seen the food he’s describing. Never tasted these delicacies. But yet they must be good because at the end he says when you’ve eaten and are satisfied you’ll praise the Lord your God for the good land which he has given you.
The first way he shows us his grace is in his provisions of 7 specific foods.
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:7-10
After years of wandering, God delighted the tastes of the Israelites with a delicious banquet. Food from orchards they didn’t plant. Ground they didn’t turnover.
My husband wants to live on a lake so he occasionally talks about moving. Yet I’ve worked hard at improving our yard with garden beds planting fruit trees, including plums, peaches, apples, pomegranates, blueberries and strawberries. For me to move the new home must have an orchard, garden, and perhaps a greenhouse.
7 foods of the Promised Land with 7 reminders
These nutrient rich foods God has already supplied delight the palate, invigorate the cells, and rejuvenate our stamina.
Plus they are a reminder of His Grace.
Get your Shopping list ready.
1. Wheat in the Bible
But I would feed you with the finest of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you. Psalm 81:16
Wheat is a staple in life from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation.
As noted in my books Healthy Treasures Cookbook and Treasures of Healthy Living Nutrition Manual, wheat berries come abundantly filled with iron, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, copper, selenium, and more.
The large supply of zinc is a boost for the immune system.
The rich essential oil of vitamin E is protective against cancers such as breast and stomach.
The B vitamins help prevent depression and stress.
The most requested cooking class I offer is the Whole Wheat Bread Class where we experience everything from the milling to the buttering. There’s not much better than freshly baked bread straight from the oven.
Our Yeshua compares himself to the bread of life. Wheat berries freshly ground and baked into homemade bread bring satisfaction and delight to our cells
2. Barley in the Bible
A food that delivers a burst of nutrition in a tiny seed is Barley.
Barley has the ability to prevent inflammation and build a protective barrier in our digestive lining as a defense. It’s our own national guard against invaders.
Barley also contains an antioxidant that helps prevent heart disease and a lignan oil which prevents the formation of blood clots. In addition, barley aids in digestion, builds healthy hair and skin, and helps the body rid itself of kidney stones.
Barley gets mostly ignored by foodies yet is the perfect addition to the Mediterranean dish tabbouleh. It’s also the perfect addition to soups and salads. You can even enjoy barley grits (video coming soon!) topped with fresh apples slices and cinnamon.
3. Grapes in the Bible
Do you want to gladden your heart? Scripture tells us grapes are perfect for this.
The juice and skin of one particular grape, the muscadine, has many current studies proving the prevention of the formation of plaque on the arteries and of DNA damage.
This means they help people look young longer!
Let’s confess. Who wants to look younger?
Grapes are common in our diets today and some fun ways to enjoy them would be frozen whole for a quick snack. Or dipped in yogurt and chopped nuts or chia seeds first then frozen. They’re a great snack at home or on the go.
4. Figs in the Bible
Nutritionally, figs do an excellent job of nourishing and satisfying your cells. The fiber content in figs balances blood sugars and promotes satiety.
Figs are the perfect diabetes preventer.
This delicious fruit is loaded with calcium that builds strong bones in children and sustains bone density in adults. They also are chock full of potassium, which helps control blood pressure, and iron, which prevents anemia.
They even have a high B6 content. Do you remember what B6 is good for? This essential vitamin prevents memory loss and reduces stress levels.
Details such as these make me wish I could go back 20 or 30 years and add figs into my diet.
I love highlighting figs and all the great things that can be made with them, like fig spaghetti, blueberry fig newton cookies, and apple fig crumble.
You can find these fig recipes on our website.
God chose figs as one of the seven for one other important reason. For that you will need to catch this video for an eye-opening revelation.
Most importantly, figs were one of the seven foods that were part of the Promised Land diet. And now you know why.
5. Pomegranates in the Bible
Because of its color and shape, people considered the pomegranate the most beautiful fruit in the land of Israel.
They stitched them at the bottom of the high priest’s robe. Artisans also carved them into the capitals of the pillars outside the doors of the Holy of Holies. Solomon had them carved way up at the top. People of Biblical times cherished pomegranates. They considered them royalty food. That’s why you see them throughout scripture and in every gift shop in Israel today.
Rumor has it that all pomegranates have 613 seeds, the same number as laws in the Old Testament. In researching this, I discovered (thanks to someone else’s diligence and hard work) that this isn’t true. However, when one averages out the number of pomegranate seeds across samplings of the fruit, the number equals 613!
God is always setting before us reminders of His promises, provision, and grace. His law is about grace.
For us today the pomegranate delivers not just beauty and artwork, but it’s a super food in its own category.
Pomegranates keep skin youthful and protect against the sun. They prevent inflammation in the heart and eye problems and even protect against cancer, especially breast cancer. It also prevents buildup of plaque on teeth.
So let’s enjoy pomegranate seeds. You can add them to a salad, oatmeal, tea, orange juice, or just a bowl of the arils (pomegranate seeds).
Pomegranates were one of the seven foods part of the Promised Land diet – and now you know why.
I’d love to hear your favorite ways to enjoy pomegranates.
6. Olives in the Bible
Our tour guide in Israel on our first trip promised was a quiz at the end. He asked us to identify the olive tree. As most of you know these trees have a beautiful silver underside distinguishing them from the other trees.
In biblical days, the olive fruit had three main uses. For:
1. offerings in the temple
3. lighting in their homes
God's people used olive oil for anointing kings as a sign God chose them to rule. It was also used to anoint the tabernacle and all its furnishings.
Those who have traveled to Israel know there’s no place as special as the Mount of Olives as a place to pray and weep for all that our Lord has done for us and also to shed tears of happiness for what He is coming to do.
Olives, like the other seven foods talked about in the accounts of the Promised Land, are extremely nutritious. They’re so rich in phytonutrients that they work as a king attacking all inflammation in our bodies. Olives block the pathways that produce inflammation and also help heal and remove inflammation.
They’re the queen of antioxidants and help to lower cholesterol, prevent nerve cell damage, and increase the blood levels of glutathione, the master antioxidant of the body.
I know you are ready to go straight to the grocery store, but stick with me. We’re almost done!
7. Dates in the Bible
Dates are the seventh and final food on our list today. Scripture also references honey, but research has proven the honey mentioned here is from dates and not bees. This will make more sense later.
In biblical days dates were used to make honey and today they are the perfect sweetener. In fact, sugar and other sweeteners can be replaced with dates in most recipes. This substitution brings pleasure to your cells .
Studies link the high fiber content in dates to lower rates of certain cancers, especially pancreatic and abdominal cancers.
Their nutritious load of vitamins and minerals of dates has awarded them the perfect food for:
- Muscle strength
- Correcting stomach disorders
- Nervous system balancing
- Heart protector, as it lowers LDL Cholesterol and has a positive effect on weak hearts
Dates are the perfect food for everyone.
They’re loaded with nutrients. Dates have potassium, vitamins C, seven of the 8 B vitamins, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc copper, essential oils, and beta carotene.
The B Vitamins from this delicious fruit help prevent depression and release energy. B vitamins are essential to your happiness and health.
Remember the verse from above. It said they would lack nothing!
7 Perfect Foods for Excellent Health
Eating these 7 foods nourishes and protects every system and every cell in the body.
When cells take in whole foods such as those listed here, they automatically respond giving you increased energy and clarity of mind, improving your ability to function.
In fact, our cells recognize God’s goodness even before we can say, “Thank you, God.”
The Israelites didn’t have microscopes, or diagnostic equipment – they had no means of knowing the flavors of His grace would benefit their bodies in such fulfilling ways.
God wanted them to trust Him, not go elsewhere for their deliverance and their delight.
No other foods – altered and imitation foods such as we have today – can deliver the nutritional blessings as what God designed for us.
He prepared the Israelites hearts, minds, and taste buds to experience His grace as they followed his commandments. The flavor of grace satisfies.
This is true for us today. He wants us to be satisfied in Him and His commandments and therefore delight in His grace. His grace includes delicious foods.
Why Did God Choose These Seven Foods of the Promised Land?
A second way the Lord shows us his grace is why He chose these specific 7 foods.
October 2016, we experienced our second trip to Israel. A mission trip. We planted a 7-species food garden in the middle of Jerusalem. Before leaving I had to have one question answered, one that had bothered me for years: Why these 7 foods?
Through numerous phone calls to universities in America and in Israel, referrals to dozens of books and commentaries, I found the answers.
The common denominator with these foods – the 7 foods listed in Deuteronomy – is the calendar of days between Passover and Shavuot (Pentecost). For 50 days the Canaanites worshipped their multiple gods fervently. These were the same 50 days when God told the Israelites, “Look to me.”
During these 50 days, usually between mid-April and mid-June, the flowers of the olive, grape, pomegranate and date open and the embryonic figs begin to develop.
In addition, during this same period the kernels of wheat and barley fill with starch, it has been stated that the fate of these 7 foods is determined during the referenced 50 day period.
There’s a connection to the fate of the nation, also during these 50 days, as these were their basic crops for survival of humans and animals.
For those of you who have traveled to Israel during the spring, you may have experienced the climatic changes. The winds vary from scorching southern winds and alternate with cold wet winds from the north and west.
The scorching southern winds bring extreme dryness and heat, while the northern winds darken the skies, generating tempestuous storms with thunder, lightning, and rain.
This delicate season is a direct provision by God.
God’s Promises, Provisions, and Grace
The northern winds that blow over Israel between Passover and Shavuot bring rain. This early wind and rain benefit the wheat and barley as it is in the third stage of ripening.
But this same wind wreaks havoc on the olive, grapes, dates and pomegranate crops if buds have already opened into flowers.
The north wind can be a blessing to the wheat when it’s reached a third of its ripening and a curse to the olives if it comes after they have bloomed, but before they have been pollinated.
On the other hand, a prolonged southern wind benefits the flower crops but can devastate the wheat and barley if it comes before the kernels have filled with starch, for then the grain will be scorched and the crop decimated as described in Pharaoh's dream in Genesis 41:6.
And behold there sprouted seven ears, thin and scorched by the southern east wind.
God controls this delicate balance. The flowers of the olives, grapes, male dates, and pomegranates need successive days of dry heat, like that which comes with the southern wind. Under ideal conditions these flowers open, allowing the pollen to reach the pistils for pollination.
But if the heat wave proves too brief and pollination has not been completed before the cold northern wind comes, the flowers blow away by the wind or the rain washed off the pollen.
The perfect timing of the northern wet winds is necessary for the filling of the wheat and barley. The perfect timing of the warm southern winds is necessary for the fruition of the other trees.
7 Promised Land Foods and the Tabernacle
God’s directive to place the table of showbread in the north side of the tabernacle and the menorah - lampstand lit with olive oil - placed on the southern side serve as reminders and symbols of the importance of the direction of the wind as the provision for these seven foods.
What we see as minute, inconsequential details are often connected to much deeper meaning.
...and he will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you. Deuteronomy 7:13
God desires to bless you.
Ask rain from the Lord at the time of the spring rain – The Lord who makes the storm clouds; and He will give them showers of rain, vegetation in the field of each man. Zechariah 10:1
Out of the south comes the heat, And out of the north the cold. Job 37:9
Enjoying God's Grace Through His Provision
God uses all of his creation to demonstrate His grace.
The Israelites were headed into the pit of paganism. God used the above 7 foods as a reminder every year of His promises, provisions, and grace.
He wanted them to look to Him. To be satisfied and content in Him.
How many of you would agree that we too live in a pit of paganism?
God wants us to be content in Him.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
When we delight in the Lord we are satisfied in Him.
When we delight in ourselves our pride leads to sin.
Continuing to Experience the Flavors of His Grace
Remember the story of the old man sharing how God delivered them to the promised land? That’s an example of what we need to do. Come to the table. Fellowship. Break bread together.
And tell our family members what God is doing in our lives. How He’s answering prayers, providing, and giving grace.
Our children need to know these stories. If you can’t think of any stories, start praying for God to reveal His promises, provisions, and grace. Then share with everyone what He’s doing.
Enjoy the foods God delivered to us. Avoid the lab experiments of man.
Our bodies know the difference and talk to us. Eating God’s foods gives our bodies energy and healing. Eating man’s foods leads to pain, inflammation, and depression.
Learn to savor the flavors of His grace. Learn to be satisfied in His provisions and not look elsewhere. The food gods of our day. The overindulgence god of our day.
Reap the Benefits of the 7 Foods of the Promised Land
Food evokes memories and memories are reminders of God’s grace. The grace of yesterday is the same grace available to us today. Grace is an attribute of God and God never changes.
As I prepare meals with wheat, barley, figs, dates, pomegranate, grapes and olives, I can teach my family the true story of grace.
The fruits of the land depend on His direction: sun, wind, rain, and heat.
The fruits of our lives depend on His direction: guidance, provisions, and love.
The flavors of grace satisfy.
Are you ready to experience more GRACE?
Are you ready to teach your family about GRACE?
These 7 foods are the perfect place to start. Want to learn more about these foods? Start by clicking the link attached to each food heading. It’ll take you to recipes, meal ideas, and more!