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
Bread was central to the diet of the ancient Near East. Even today, many cultures have a bread that is unique and prevalent in their diets. There is the crunchy baguette in France, the unleavened roti in India, the spongy injera in Ethiopia, the thin tortilla in Mexico, and the soft pandesal in the Philippines.
But in Deuteronomy 8:3, Moses declares that man doesn’t live by bread alone. While the Israelites were in the wilderness, God provided for them by raining down manna, a bread-like food, from heaven. Now, as they prepare to enter the Promised Land, a land of plenty, Moses takes time to remind the people who fed them in the wilderness. And even though they will no longer need bread to rain down from heaven in the new place they are going, their dependence on God remains the same. It is in trusting and obeying God’s Word that they will live and thrive in the land. They need his Word like they need bread to survive.
In the same way, our dependence on God’s Word should be like our reliance on bread. Each day of this fast, our bodies will crave more and more the nourishment that bread provides. But it is in this craving, this almost all-consuming awareness of our need for food, that this metaphor of God’s Word as bread becomes all the more relevant to us. Just as our bodies crave bread, we should crave God’s Word, living in constant awareness of our need for him and his words every day.
In fact, we learn in John’s gospel that Jesus himself is the very Word of God. He calls himself the “bread of life,” promising that whoever comes to him will never hunger or thirst. When we come before him and fill ourselves with God’s Word, we can receive his salvation and be truly fulfilled.
God’s Word is true. God’s Word is powerful. And it is through God’s Word that he reveals himself to us, and we are transformed and empowered to live for him.
As we go into a week of prayer and fasting and our hunger for bread grows day by day, may our appetite for God’s Word grow even more.
Think of a situation when you had to depend on God. Give him thanks for sustaining you through it.
What verse or passage has kept you encouraged this past year? Take time to praise God for his Word being trustworthy and powerful in your life.
God, thank you for the gift of the Bible. Through your Word, you speak to me and remind me that you are for me. You show your everlasting character, and I learn to hear your voice as I read and meditate on scripture. Lord, help me build a daily desire to abide in your Word, a desire that would grow throughout my walk with you. Your Word nourishes my spirit and fulfills my heart. As I pray, fast, and consecrate myself to you this week, may my understanding and love for you grow as I draw nearer to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.