Monday, October 14, 2013

What satisfies our hunger?

Gathering manna - James Tissot
Gathering Manna - James Tissot
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Deuteronomy 8:1-20

TO CHEW ON: "So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Deuteronomy 8:3

There's much to see in this verse that connects one of our most basic needs—the need to eat—to our life with God.

"So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger…"
A quick re-read of Israel's travels through the wilderness reminds us of how often they were humbled by hunger. Humbled by hunger is also our stance when we fast (as in fast and pray). We may feel invincible but a day or two without food shows us how vulnerable and dependent we are on regular refueling.

"…and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know…"
Israel, during her manna years, came to know and depend on God in ways unlike anything their forefathers experienced. Are we open to God doing new things in, for, and through us? Are we receptive to whatever God has for us in the area of ministry, influence, service, provision, protection?

"…that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
What connections did manna have with God's words? God gave the Israelites explicit instructions for collecting and using it.
  • They were to gather manna once a day before the day got hot and it melted (Exodus 16:4, 21).
  • They were to gather enough for each person, no more (Exodus 16:16).
  • They were not to save it to eat as leftovers the next day. Some of them tried, only to find it grew maggots and became smelly (Exodus 16:19-20).
  • However, on the day before Sabbath, they were collect double the amount and save half for eating the next day (Exodus 16:5).
  • On the morning of the Sabbath there was no manna to collect (Exodus 16:26-27).
Whether they ate or not depended on their obedience to God's words. In fact, one of the purposes of manna was to test their obedience (Exodus 16:4). It's significant that Jesus quoted words from this verse to overcome the devil's temptation to satisfy His hunger for food in a Satan-inspired way (Matthew 4:1-4).

We might ask, are we satisfying our deep hungers by trying to live by bread alone—focused on getting our needs met on the natural plane? Let's not forget that God is present in every aspect of life. Real satiation comes from obeying Him and seeking to live in God-acknowledging, God-honoring ways.


PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this object lesson of physical hunger that shows me the extent of my need for You and the importance of obedience. Help me to live "by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Amen.

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New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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