Knowing God impacts every area of our lives. For the nation of Israel, it meant a whole new way of living, including a whole new menu. God gave them a very clear list of what they could and could not eat. Though there were certainly some dietary and hygienic reasons for this list, the primary reason was spiritual. God’s explanation is found in v.44-45…
Leviticus 11:44–45 44 For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 45 For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
That might seem like not much of a reason, but, truthfully, what greater reason does anyone need other than the fact that God says to do or not to do it. These dietary laws would have been a constant reminder to Israel that the Lord their God was in control of every aspect of their life.
It would have also made a close association with those who worshipped other gods and did not have the same dietary laws difficult. This would have protected them from the more serious spiritual defilement of participation in idolatry and pagan practices.
Regarding the application of this principle for believers today, Weirsbe explains it well,
“The dietary laws were temporary (Mark 7:14–23; Acts 10:9–18; 1 Tim. 4:1–5), but the principle is permanent: believers must have discernment and avoid what is unclean (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 1:9–11; Heb. 5:14).” (With the Word Bible Commentary, Lev 11:1).
So, some questions to consider: In what way does knowing God impact every area of our life? Are we using discernment in the decisions we make, considering the spiritual impact of everything we do? We no longer have a list of exact rules, but we have a higher calling – to do all to the glory of God, to try to not offend anyone, and to seek to please all men for the sake of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 10:31–33 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.