By Brian Shilhavy
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)
Forty years had passed since the Lord had led his people Israel out of Egypt, where they had been slaves. Through many miracles and a mighty display of God’s power, the people were led out of Egypt to Mt. Sinai where they received the Law through Moses, and then they proceeded to the land of Canaan, the “promised” land that God had promised to them hundreds of years earlier in the covenant with Abraham. But after serving the Egyptians as a minority people in slavery for many generations, they did not know how to trust God or follow his leading, so the Lord had to wait for a whole generation to die and then lead their children into the Promised Land. It took 40 years of wandering around in the desert before they were ready to enter into the land. The book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ last sermon to the people, the new generation, before they took over the land.
As Moses reviews the past forty years to this new generation, reminding them about the conditions of the Law, he also reminds them about how God humbled them in the desert, where there was not enough natural food to sustain such a large nation of people for forty years. During that time, God miraculously provided a nutritious food for them called “manna” that fell from heaven like dew on the ground. As Moses says in Deuteronomy 8:3 above, this proved to the people that “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” There is more to life than physical food – there is spiritual food as well that is needed for people to live their lives in fulfillment of the purpose for which they were created. Moses referred to this spiritual food as “every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”
Jesus quoted this same exact verse when he fasted in the desert: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:1-4) Jesus also acknowledged that there was spiritual food that is necessary to sustain life for man. What the devil asked Jesus to do was not wrong in its essence, after all later on in his ministry Jesus did miraculously create bread (and fish) on a couple of occasions. It was the fact that the Holy Spirit had led Jesus into the desert to fast for those forty days and nights. That leading of the Holy Spirit was “the word that came from the mouth of God.” To create food and eat it at that time would have been an act of disobedience to the word (the specific will of God for his life at that time) that had come from God.
We can conclude also that when Moses was referring to “every word that comes from the mouth of God” in his discourse to the Israelites, that he was not referring to the commandments of the Law which served to teach the people how to live their lives as a holy people before God. They wandered around in the desert for forty years, and the Law did not contain a road map and time schedule for their wanderings, for example. They needed daily specific instructions from the Lord to survive in the desert.
Today, for those of us living in the Kingdom of Light serving Jesus as our King, we too must expect specific instructions for our daily life. This is our spiritual food. If we don’t seek out this food and eat it, by obeying the will of God in our lives, we are not being properly nourished and therefore we cannot have optimal health. Remember the words of King David, who needed daily guidance from the Lord to lead the nation: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalms 139:23-24)
Is that the cry of your heart today? Are you receiving your spiritual food from the Lord with his word for your life today? David’s request above to be led by God came at the end of Psalm 139, which is one of the most eloquent pieces of literature ever written by man acknowledging that God is the Creator and sustainer of life, and that he has a specific plan and purpose for our lives. Physical food is not enough for you to truly live a healthy life. You need spiritual food as well. The contrast to that truth is the belief in Darwinian evolution, which gives no more meaning and value to man than the meaning attached to an evolved blade of grass, and which leads one down a path of hopelessness and disease resulting in death. It denies the spiritual part of man, and teaches that man can live in the physical realm only, simply on physical food. Remember the promise of Jesus today, and seek your spiritual food!
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)