Then the Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness so that the devil might tempt him. 2 After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights, he was starving. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “Since you are God’s Son, command these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.”
Jesus held fast to his values even as he was tested and needed physical sustenance. Ultimately Jesus knew we are all sustained by God, but he also knew that what sustains human beings is much more than just eating food. More than our physicality, we are emotionally, personally and spiritually sustained by being in relationship with God and through hearing God’s Word, the Bible. Jesus made a point of daily listening for God’s words as a way to be spiritually fulfilled. We might say that hearing God’s words is like “being fed” the daily bread of life.
Although scrolls were read in the temple in Jesus’ time, more likely God’s Word was heard through daily recitation. In fact Jesus’ words, as recorded in Matthew 4:4, point us back to how God’s Word feeds or teaches us. Hear the connection Jesus made from Deuteronomy 8:3:
“He humbled you by making you hungry and then feeding you the manna that neither you nor your ancestors had ever experienced, so he could teach you that people don’t live on bread alone. No, they live based on whatever comes out of the LORD’s mouth.”
Through daily reading and listening for God’s word, we grow into our relationship with God, like being fed each day. When we listen, God’s words can feed our souls, teach us and guide us into a new way of being. It is refreshing to know that Jesus’ words and ways also point us to being in relationship with God by the daily practice of the scripture. Because of God’s biblical truths, we know we are fed and will continue to be fed in every sense of the word.
So feed us, Lord! Leave us filled up, because we know we “don’t live on bread alone” but by every word that comes from you.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
As God’s people, we acknowledge our need to live as God provides and instructs. Both Mathew 4:4 and Deuteronomy 8:3, instruct us to listen for God’s words and to be “fed” through God’s words. It is like having our spiritual daily food, our daily sustenance. Jesus further acknowledged our need to be spiritually filled each day by scripture. Whether we hear it through ancient biblical text or we know these truths internally, Jesus recommended God’s word as daily spiritual practice. How can you improve your daily reading or connection to God’s words? How can you pass these along to someone who needs to hear it?
Prayer: Holy God, like manna from heaven, you feed me, even when I do not recognize your words on my heart. Show me, and teach me through my daily practice that guides me closer to you. Let me be “fed” so that my body and spirit are forever connected to you. Amen.