Parting The Hoof And Chewing The Cud – God’s Checklist For Clean And Unclean
Deuteronomy 14:3 – Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.
Deuteronomy 14:4 – These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat,
Deuteronomy 14:5 – The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois.
Deuteronomy 14:6 – And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat.
Deuteronomy 14:7 – Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you.
Deuteronomy 14:8 – And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.
Hello readers, I hope you have had a great week. Today I want to give you something to chew on. Maybe you have heard the saying “chew on that!” before, and I believe it comes from this principle found in God’s word regarding clean and unclean beasts.
In the book of Deuteronomy, we read as Moses recounts, reiterates and reinforces the law of God to the children of Israel before they go into Canaan. They needed to know, and we need to know! And in Deuteronomy 14, Moses reiterates the law regarding clean and unclean beasts that was first given to the Levites in Leviticus 11.
I believe as you think about these two criteria which delineate between clean and unclean beasts, you will find the principles in these criteria not just beneficial, but crucial to your walk with God. Because chewing the cud and dividing the hoof is crucial to you leading a life that is acceptable to God.
If the beast did not chew the cud and part the hoof, it was considered unclean and not to be eaten. God strictly commanded Israel not to eat any abominable thing. And so we find out that what you eat is important to God, and important to you, because it’s for your good. Let’s remember that God’s law is for our good.
And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that what you eat is important. Just think of that in a physical sense. If you eat bad food, it can cause dysfunction, disorder, disease or even death. How many people are unwell because of what they eat. And how much moreso spiritually?
As we read this law today, we know that we have liberty to eat “what we want”. Eating or not eating these animals isn’t our salvation or sanctification. This law was for the nation of Israel, and there is great wisdom to them, but we as the church of Christ, all those who have believed on Christ, are not subject to these dietary laws. But we sure can learn from them, particularly in the spiritual sense.
If you’ve ingested abominable things in your life all this week, you are unclean. If you consumed pornography this week, it made you unclean and you know it. When I scroll my Facebook or see stuff or hear stuff… it has a tendency to influence what I think about, how I think, and what I say and do. You put abominable stuff in, you feed yourself on filth, and you will be unclean. But God’s people are a clean people, and God wants you CLEAN.
And it’s nice being clean isn’t it. Isn’t it a great feeling to get cleaned up at the end of a long day. Isn’t having a clean body, clean soul and clean mind a great thing? Most people don’t want to be clean though. They like the muck and mire of sin, and they are like a pig in slop. If you are unsaved, you are unclean, and that’s why you think unclean, behave unclean and wallow around in unclean. The failure of Christianity is trying to clean up what is inherently unclean. Remembering that salvation is a new creature, because we are all an unclean thing before we are saved.
I can’t remember ever hearing a sermon about dividing the hoof and chewing the cud, but nonetheless, I saw for myself in reading this chapter the other night some crucial truths for my own Christian life. I learnt that what qualified a beast as “clean” was if it chewed the cud and divided the hoof. They had to be both as well.
I actually looked up why a cow chews the cud, and found out that chewing the cud is a vital part of a cow fully digesting what it has eaten. Cows are known as “ruminants”, because they chew again what they had swallowed before. Maybe you’ve heard the word “ruminate” which refers to when you muse and meditate on things over and over again. That’s basically what the cow does with her food, because what they eat such as grass and hay requires a lot of work to unlock nutrients from, which is why cows have advanced digestive systems which basically reprocess the food so their bodies can draw nutritional benefit from it.
Of course, the spiritual significance is staggering to me. Because without knowing it, I am a ruminant. Often I’ve read the Bible and really haven’t got much out of it. But it went in. And that was important. But it can be minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or even years later when I’ve properly chewed on something I’ve read and it really has become meaningful to my growth. There’s a lot of stuff in God’s word which can be hard to digest and it requires a bit of work, and the action of the Holy Spirit to bring it to the point of where we have really benefited and grown from it. After all, that’s why we eat, to grow and to be sustained.
Your diet is not just vital, but the manner in which your food is processed is also vital. You must chew on stuff, it just can’t go straight in and straight out like it does with many. For a lot of people, the Bible goes in, but never does them much good, because it is not chewed on, particularly not the second time. Thus the Bible often is useless to them. You’d think they could benefit from the nutrients to be drawn out of the pasture of God’s word, such as forgiveness of sin and eternal life… but instead that goes out in the draught. I learnt that a cow that does not chew her cud is not healthy, and if they don’t chew their cud they can become quite unwell. Interesting huh.
One thing I thought of is that it’s important to chew stuff for yourself. When the farmer feeds the cow, the work is often done for the cow. Yeah she eats out in the paddock, but they get a lot of hay and so on provided for them. But you’ve got to process God’s word for yourself. You’ve got to chew on it yourself. The farmer doesn’t give the cow food that is already processed, because that’s not good for them, they give the hay in rough and raw form, because it’s the cows job to process and digest it. We are such welfare cases these days because we are unable to draw anything out of God’s word for ourselves. How many people have really no walk with God or conviction of truth for themselves, they’re just doing what the environment they’re in is doing. If they’re at church, they act church, if they’re around worldly friends, they’re worldly. Because they’ve never chewed the cud.
God’s word is not going to do you any good if you do not chew on it… for a long time, just as the cow does. She settles in and chews away. That’s what makes the food helpful and meaningful to her, it’s what makes her healthy. It’s healthy for you to meditate on God’s word and think about it and pray about it.
Ok so that’s chewing the cud, and I’m sure there’s far more there than I’ve even touched on. But what about dividing the hoof? And this is what blew me away. Because no division in the hoof was an unclean animal. What are hooves for? They’re for walking. You eat, and you walk, two basic things in life, both physical and spiritual. Hooves take you places, they go a certain direction. And there needs to be a division between right and wrong, truth and lie, light and darkness, holy and unholy in your life. You cannot walk right “one hoofed”. There must be a division between Spirit and flesh, there must even be a division within yourself between new man and old man. There must be a clear line of distinction.
So many people do not part the hoof. I’ve seen it, I see it almost every day. People professing to be Christians who can’t divide between anything because there is no division in their own lives. They have no clue what’s Biblical and what’s not. They cannot discern between sound doctrine and false doctrine. That do not know Jesus Christ from antichrist even. Stop being divisive? You better get divisive in your own life, because your Christian walk is depending on your ability to put a godly division between good and evil. You have the Spirit and your flesh, and they’re both pulling forward, but which direction is your life going? How is your walk going? Is there are godly division within you and in your walk of life? Because if not, you are unclean.
One of the most staggering things I reflected upon was that the swine actually does part the hoof. But the swine is very much unclean, because it doesn’t chew the cud. See, you either are all of it, or you are none of it. But I thought, hey some people do have that parted hoof. There are a lot of people out there with very clear lines of morality, just their own line of morality. They have evil on the good side of the hoof and good on the evil side of the hoof. Just look at our world if you need an example. People crying out for abortion as woman’s rights and you’re despicably evil if you are against killing babies in the womb. What about people who condemn God as a hateful bigot and they’re more loving as they love the sodomites all the way to hell. I was thinking just recently about how when they put Jesus on trial, they’re here accusing Jesus of all this wrongdoing, meanwhile they’re envious, lying, deceiving, proud and have murder in their hearts. A bunch of religious swine in other words.
But I hope this blog is something of a help to you, and if nothing else, an entry point into thinking about this chewing the cud and dividing the hoof thing. Man, who knew that such a law could teach so much? Remember, all this law was pointing us to Jesus Christ. There was a lot of wisdom in them in and of themselves, because these unclean animals often carry parasites and so on because they’re unclean. You can’t get a clean result from consuming an unclean thing. We’re so busy trying to draw our nutrition for our lives out of stuff that is unclean and abominable to God.
God wants you spiritually healthy, but many Christians are distinctly unhealthy, and on life support in a spiritual sense. What is going in to your life? Sort out the clean from the unclean using God’s word. Remember, it was GOD who said what was clean or unclean and how to identify it. How about check your diet for “chewed the cud” and “divided the hoof” one of these days? There are people out there ingesting all sorts of rubbish and it’s producing an unclean life. Look at our churches… there’s no chewing of the cud and parted hoof in there. They’re full of worldliness and uncleanness because people are eating abominable things that their abominable pastors and teachers are putting before them. In my experience, my flesh doesn’t need to be fueled. These clean animals were not flesh eaters, they were herbivores. Our spiritual man needs to grow and he won’t grow as we feed the fat man of our flesh. I do hope you will consider this law, and consider if there are abominable things which you are feasting on in your life, which are bringing nothing but trouble to your mind and soul. Let our Christian lives be a clean and holy and joy filled feast unto the Lord, not an abominable banquet and revelry in sin.
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Joseph View All →
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)
I’ve heard these principles before in a basic form, but thank you for the “deep dive”.
Thank you for this post ! I am reading Leviticus these days and read someone’s explanation about sea creatures which are clean if they have fins and scales, clean animals being “armored” to protect them from the world around them. That analogy stuck with me.
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