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Monday, September 5, 2011

Living on the Word of God

Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread by the devil. He knew that He did not live by what He ate alone. He knew that He lived by every word that came from God.

I have heard many sermons gloss over Jesus response. Those sermons emphasize that Jesus did not give into temptation but they fail to recognize living on God's word. Maybe the preachers didn't understand this.

Jesus had just fasted for forty days. He was extremely hungry. I don't think that he was significantly overweight when He began His fast. I suspect each day of the fast contained extreme physical discomfort' It is during this fast that these words our of Deuteronomy made the most sense.

Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV)
3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 

I have fasted for forty days a few times.  I read a couple of books on fasting before I did so the first time. My experience was nothing like those in the books. Though I was not obese, I was also not extremely thin at the beginning of the fasts. The feelings of hunger would come and go. I found that I would completely forget hunger when I worshiped. This world and its hunger would fade as I got closer to my Lord.

The words of the Bible became richer than ever. The background noise of this world faded. I hungered after God's word and the Holy Spirit taught me. I obtained a new energy that was not physical.

I believe that Jesus would have feasted on God's word during His fast. He did not have pounds of fat to sustain Him like I did. He would have grown physically weak much faster than I did. He would have also been humbled and much stronger than I was. His Father's words would have been life to Him.  He spent His days and nights in the wilderness meditating on God's Word.  He understood through experience the power of living on the Word of God.

I do not believe that "food" hunger is the only type of hunger. There may be a hunger for finances or a career or children or marriage or any other thing for which a person longs for. Many of those who feel this "hunger" will curse the hunger rather than understand it as a means of truly listening to God's word. They will seek relief rather than God.

This is why people do not understand why Jesus said:

Matthew 6:31-34 (NIV)
31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 

The things of this world are not merely circumstances by which God must operate. God is still sovereign and could take any moment to make sure that anyone is well fed, clothed and getting everything that he or she wants. He seeks for us to turn our hearts toward Him and seek what He seeks. He urges us to walk with Him. He wants us to listen to Him and in listening know through experience that we live on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

The way of the world is to feast on something that will never remove your hunger. The way of God is to seek after Him so that your hunger may be satisfied. Thus, our lives are full of worries while we seek to fill our hungers.

Very few Christians will read their Bibles today. Most will not pray or have any thoughts on what God seeks for them. They will live this day hungry even though they could have feasted on God's Word.

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

There are powerful revelations to be had for those words of Jesus, as in Matt 4:4 (Deu 8:3) - Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God

For one thing, Spiritual food, according to Jesus, is every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Jesus of course was NOT saying we need NOT, physical food; in fact, He is affirming that Man is both physical and spiritual. The physical part of us needs to eat physical food (like bread) and the spiritual part of us needs to eat also and the food is every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Sometime back I wrote an article, “Spiritual food”, starting with Matt 4:4; in it there were several revelations, and it had impacted my perceptions of what is spiritual food, why the Bible is spiritual food, what else is spiritual food, are the manifestations of the Holy Spirit spiritual food, is there such thing as tailored spiritual food, how does one grow spiritually, milk and solid spiritual food, last days’ need of tailored food. I believe it is a powerful article, and so, I would like to leave the link here to that article on my blog:

Actually we hunger for too many things, many of which we can do without, easily. Then there are impositions of society pressures, making us difficult not to go a little beyond the simple need of food and clothing. We have to cultivate our inner life to let go of the unnecessary. The Apostle Paul put it this way to Timothy:

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Tim 6:6-8)

Physical food definitely we need; Jesus did NOT deny that, for He said in Matt 4:4, “Man does not live on bread ALONE”, He did NOT say, “Man does not live on bread”. But what is your motto of life, in regard to physical food? Do you eat to live or do you live to eat? Even if you live to eat, you must agree with me that you first need to eat to live; a physical man needs physical food to live. So, don’t you think the spiritual man in you also needs to be fed? Those wanting an understanding of the Tripartite make-up of Man, can read my separate article: In regard to the physical aspect, Paul said, if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that; have you grown to this stage? Many of us are spending too much of time and energy hungering beyond food and clothing, and neglecting to feed the spirit man in us. There cannot be godliness unless you feed the spirit man in you. You don’t feed the spirit man with physical food; you need spiritual food; and you cannot begin to feed spiritually unless you know what constitute spiritual food.

A bonus point to think about: unless you know, not know ABOUT, but KNOW the blessing of God, contentment is difficult to behold. What is blessing of God? Not our riches, not our intelligence, NOT our youthfulness or beauty, NOT our status, NOT our many admirers or flatterers, NOT our power and authority, NOT our health, NOT even our physical life! What is blessing of God?