Priesthood: 15. Law of Creatures in the Waters

Leviticus 11:9‑12  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The Law of Creatures in the Waters
The second class of liberty or of prohibition relates to the creatures which people the waters, salt or fresh, in seas and in rivers.
“These shall ye eat of all that [are] in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas and in the rivers, these shall ye eat. But all that have not fins and scales in seas and in rivers, of all that swarm in the waters, and of every living creature (or, soul) that [is] in the waters, they [are] an abomination to you. They shall be even an abomination to you: of their flesh ye shall not eat, and their carcass ye shall have in abomination. Whatever in the waters hath no fins and scales, that [shall be] an abomination to you” (vers. 9-12).
Here the principle is plain. The Israelite was free to eat of the abundance of the sea whatever had fins and scales. In fact such fish were wholesome; and the marks were easy to discern, like the rules as to land animals. But what believer doubts that a deeper bearing lay under that which is written? As the apostle asked in 1 Cor. 9, Is it for the oxen that God careth, or doth he say it altogether for our sakes? Surely for our sakes was it written. And so we may be assured is the direction here. The moral truth figured by these regulations was what He had chiefly at heart, the spirit, not the letter (save in executing the law on the lawless).
The line had to be drawn here too where the Jew might and where he might not freely partake. A fresh lesson is taken from the denizens of the waters. As Israel was not to eat of every sea or river fish, the believer is again instructed what he ought to avoid. Two marks are specified without which he was forbidden to eat. If they had not fins and scales, he must not make them his own. Both divine direction and divine protection are required in all things and at every step.
As the fins were the organs which directed and balanced the movements of the fish, we can readily discern, what the possession or the lack corresponding to these means spiritually. The word applied to the way in the prayer of faith seems to answer to the provision for the fish in both the prescribed respects. For it is not enough to be born of God, nor yet more to be justified by faith. Beyond controversy to have a new nature from God and to be rescued from the burden of a sin-oppressed conscience are indispensable. We also need a living and constant power of direction that we may know and do His will, to move where He desires or refrain according to His bidding. Who or what is sufficient for these things? Only in subjection to His word can we find ourselves obedient, as the Lord Jesus was; and to this obedience we are sanctified by the Holy Spirit. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his path? By taking heed according to thy word.”
Hence the all-importance of prayerfully using scripture, as we may read in Luke 10:39-11:439And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. 40But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. 1And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3Give us day by day our daily bread. 4And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. (Luke 10:39‑11:4), and Acts 6:44But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:4). “Let my cry come near before thee, O Jehovah; give me understanding according to thy word.” This is as necessary to glorify Him in our souls as in our service of His name. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Zeal and energy otherwise expose to habitual danger. As men of God, we ought to trust neither our own hearts nor the direction of others. We ought to obey God rather than man. It is due to Him that we thus honor Him; and, looking to the Lord, we are entitled to count on the Holy Spirit to join His help to our weakness. Is He not a spirit of power, of love, and of sobriety? He will not fail to guide sons of God who distrust themselves and cry to our God and Father in the Lord's name. But it is through His word, and not our feeling and ideas. “I have refrained my feet from every evil path, that I might keep thy word.”
And what is there to compare with God's word against the enemy? “By the word of Thy lips I have kept from the paths of the violent.” It only is the sword of the Spirit; but here too we need all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance, in order to wield it with effect. “Through faith” are we guarded by the power of God unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. But faith ever supposes and relies on His word. Otherwise one is prone to self-deception. Satan is as strong as we are weak; yet the word is, “Whom resist, steadfast in faith.” For the word assures us, that, so believing, we have the Lord to stand with us, to deliver from every evil work, and preserve for His heavenly kingdom. “Princes also did sit and talk together against me: thy servant doth meditate in thy precepts. Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.”
To feed on anything which leaves Christ out, to do without His direction and preserving care, is and ought to be an abomination to our souls. So the finless and scaleless creatures that moved and were in the waters the Israelite was to shun; alive or dead, they must be had in abomination by him. If they were destitute of the normal guidance and protection, which that twofold provision represents, he was not only not to eat but to hold them as a horror. But all that had divine direction and protection, he could freely use and appropriate fearlessly. “I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts. The wicked have awaited to destroy me: I attend unto thy testimonies. I have seen an end of all perfection: thy commandment is exceeding broad.” Many are my persecutors and mine oppressors: I have not declined from thy testimonies.”