♣ Not by Bread Alone

Not by Bread Alone

“And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” – Deuteronomy 8:3

NO ONE IN their right mind would deny the requisiteness of nourishing our bodies, but as ridiculous as it may sound, has it ever occurred to us that food can actually become more than it ought to be; would it seem farfetched to state, that for the most part of society, food has become an idol? It is what constitutes the majority of today’s conversations almost everywhere you go. We are bombarded with it through the TV, radio, newspapers, internet, flyers – even to people dressing up as hamburgers, pickles or pizzas.

When God designed us to eat, He gave us taste buds to enjoy a variety of food and wisdom to know how to make things taste good. Granted that some don’t have a flare for gourmet cooking, but a fair deal of common sense should get anyone well on the way to preparing something that is at least edible and nutritious.

We hear it often said, “Enjoy yourself”, but our sole purpose of being here is first and foremost to glorify God, then comes the enjoyment – not so much enjoying ourselves as God Himself. God has so constituted us that as Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless till they find rest in You and we shall never truly enjoy life until we find our joy in God – “For with You is the fountain life” (Psalm 36:9).

When food for our body becomes more important than nourishment for our soul, we are drastically off line spiritually; when our lives are preoccupied with satisfying our stomachs above and beyond thirsting and hungering for righteousness, we can be sure there is little or no spiritual life in us. Man/woman certainly shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Are we being fed with the Word of God; does the Son of God nourish our souls? Have our spiritual appetites been quickened and does the Spirit continue to heighten them?

While our culture thrives with a diverse range of restaurants and our dining tastes reflect more affluence than ever, we have simultaneously forgotten our God; we have become full of luxury at the expense of God’s Word. Can any one of us deny that in our generation we are living in a spiritual famine, where God’s voice is not heard; where His Word is undermined, compromised, deliberately dismissed and thrown out?

The Great Roman Empire, that once monopolised the world round, gravely fell through her complacency, excess luxury and laxity. History will show that nations have flourished in the realm of education, science, medicine and welfare subsequent to an outpouring of the Spirit of God in revival, but how God had been forgotten over time, even abandoned when ease had set in and a society’s advancement was attributed to man’s achievement. Is it any wonder today why our society has broken down and why so much lawlessness abounds? We may still have our ‘educational’ and ‘social’ systems in place but they have become more anti-God than ever and many have the audacity to wonder as to why our crime rates have escalated to insurmountable levels.

We do not exist to “live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God – It is an attitude that is independent of God that states, “We shall live by bread alone and by the words that proceed out of our own mouths” and is the very root cause of all the problems we encounter today.

Even though Christ provided food for thousands of people, He made the conditions of discipleship so explicitly clear to not labour for the food that perishes, but for the kind that endures to eternal life (John 6:27). Christ said that His food was to do the will of His Father and to accomplish the work that He had been sent to do (John 4:34), which was above His earthly needs even though he did eat being fully man (as well as fully God); it is fanaticism and extremism that states we don’t need to nourish our bodies. Recall how the Lord’s Prayer commences; it begins with hallowing God’s name and that His purposes be made known here on earth as it is in heaven – then comes our needs and personal concerns of which God is already aware. Our Lord exhorted us not to be preoccupied with what shall we eat, drink and wear – everything pertaining to our physical needs (Matthew 6:31-33). It was the main thread running through all of His temptations in the desert to prioritise Himself with the important needs of man instead of the imperative spiritual need – a right relationship with God, from which everything else is governed.

To fast from food and pray is to turn our attention away from ourselves and bodily appetites to acutely concentrate on God; it is bringing our bodies in line to the highest priority of God’s order. To hear God and to know His will is of utmost importance, transcending our own comforts, will and ambitions. It is the same spiritual tenacity as Jacob – “I will not let You go until…” Have we got to that place of desperation where nothing matters saving that we know God is having His way in and through us?

Let us always be reminded that God has ordained us to eat and drink in order to breathe and live for Him; we are to nourish our bodies that we may live unto His glory – for this, as the Westminster Catechism of Faith states, is man’s chief end: to glorify Him [first] and enjoy Him forever.

 

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Posted on January 8, 2014, in ♣ Devotional and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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