MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD…
(Saturday, July 11, 2020)
Every time Jesus responds to the three temptations of the devil in the wilderness he quotes from Deuteronomy. “Man shall not live by bread alone”—Deuteronomy 8:3; “You shall not tempt the Lord your God”—Deuteronomy 6:16; and “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve”—Deuteronomy 6:13.
We feel like we are always so busy, but others are busy too. However, we always feel like our life is missing something, and others always seem happy. What I mean is we are always working and working, with only time to eat and sleep. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” [Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4]. Physical nourishment is not sufficient for a healthy life; MAN also has spiritual needs. The man does not live by bread alone means that human beings need more than the simple necessities to keep them biologically alive, they need things that feed them mentally, spiritually, aesthetically, and they need things that give their lives meaning. I feel like without having time for God, I’m missing out on something very important. This sentiment may be found in several places in the Bible, in the Old Testament and the New Testament. In a passage in Deuteronomy 8: 2-3: “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” Jesus Christ reiterated this sentiment in his teachings and practice, as found in the Gospel of Matthew 4:4 & Luke 4:4: “But he answered and said, it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
It means that, although man lives in a physical body, what gives him life, what allows his physical body to live and breathe, is not food, but all the words uttered by the mouth of God. On the one hand, man regards these words as truth. The words give him faith, make him feel that he can depend on God, that God is truth. On the other hand, is there a practical aspect to these words? There is. Why? Because the Lord Jesus has fasted for 40 days and nights and He is still standing there, still alive. Is this an illustration? The point here is that He has not eaten anything, any food for 40 days and nights. He is still alive. This is the powerful evidence behind His phrase. … This truth, this phrase—whether its content is long or short—it can let man live, give him life; it can enable man to find, within itself, truth, clarity about life’s journey, and enable him to have faith in God.”
2.0 EVIDENCES OF PEOPLE LIVED WITHOUT BREAD OR WATER
The intertestamental book of The Life of Adam and Eve 6:1 reveals that Adam engaged in a forty-day fast in penitence for his fall (the Slavonic adds that Eve fasted forty-four days). In Deuteronomy 9:9 we read Moses fasted for 40 days and 40 nights when he went up to Mount Sinai for the first set of tablets. It says, “When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water”. In Exodus 34:28 & Deuteronomy 9:18 we read Moses fasted 40 days and 40 nights when he went up to mount Sinai to get the second set of the Ten Commandments. It says, “And Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. In I Kings 19:8 we read that After Elijah had slain the prophets of Jezebel, he fled for his life to Mount Horeb, where he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. It says, “And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God”. This indicates that he did not eat or drink during these forty days and nights. In 1 Samuel 30:12 we read, David lived without bread and water for three days and three nights. It says, “And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights”. We read in Esther 4:15-16, that the queen told her uncle Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Sushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise.
In Matthew 4:1-2; Mark 1:12-13 & Luke 4:1-2 we read, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward hungered. Acts 9:9 reveals, in fact Paul fasted by abstaining from food and drink for three days, it says, “And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink”.
3.0 GOD TAKE CARES OF OUR DAILY LIVING [BREAD]
In the Old Testament (especially in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua) we read Israelites got out of Egypt, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. They neither sowed nor reaped, and didn’t labour for themselves anything to eat, yet because they truly believed in God and relied on Him, God provided them with manna every day, so that they survived. In 1 Kings we read about the prophet Elijah, in order to escape the pursuit of Ahab, hid himself in the valley, where there was nothing to eat. But because of his belief in the words of God and real faith in Him, God sent ravens to bring him bread and flesh. Later, he came to a widow woman, who believed the words of God told by Elijah and made a cake for Elijah with a handful of flour and a little oil in her house. At last her barrel and cruse were always full, which had sustained Elijah, her son and herself for more than three years. From these we can see that, if we have real faith and trust in God’s words and obey His words, God will care for and protect us, and bestow upon us all the necessities for our existence, including the food that sustains our lives in the flesh. Therefore, although man’s life in the flesh needs food, it is God’s words that are the provision for man’s life and its continuation, and only God’s words are the guarantee that ensures man’s survival.
In Matthew 6: 24-34 & Luke 12:22-31 Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? …. For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. In John 6: 25-59 we read, then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Looking back, our forefathers, Adam and Eve, didn’t obey the words of God and ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which God commanded them not to eat, and as a result, death came upon them. Job practiced the way of fearing God and shunning evil according to God’s words all his life, so he ultimately stood witness in the midst of temptation and overcame Satan. Though he was stripped of all by Satan, he stood witness before Satan and didn’t lose real faith in God. Thus, God’s blessings came upon him, and he got twice as much as he had before, and God called him a perfect man.
4.0 PROVISION OF GOD’S WORDS
Therefore, if man doesn’t have real faith in God, receives no provision of God’s words, and is not equipped with the truth, even if he stuffs his stomach to the brim, he is still little more than a corpse. Money and food cannot keep man from the disaster. Without being equipped with the truth, man cannot stand fast when he is tried. For example, Peter toiled all the night and took nothing, but after he obeyed and believed the Lord Jesus’ words, he enclosed a great multitude of fishes. (Luke 5:3-11) All the facts prove that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. When all the words that proceed out of the mouth of God have become man’s life and living out, man has obtained the truth, as God’s words are the truth, the way, and the life, and the basis for man’s existence. God says: “God Himself is life, and the truth, and His life and truth coexist. Those who are incapable of gaining the truth shall never gain life.”
Now I have a deep realization of the word of God: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Sometimes when I haven’t read God’s words for several days, though I eat and dress well, my whole body is weak and limp and my spirit feels dark, painful, and distressed. When I distance myself from God and disobey His requirements, though the food is not lacking, I am reproached and accused inside, feel restless, or do not even want to live. On the contrary, when I pay attention to reading and practicing God’s words every day, the work of the Holy Spirit accompanies me. No matter what things I meet with, I have a way to go, and I am full of energy when performing my duty. Even when I encounter unfavourable people or matters, I can quiet my heart before God and seek His will, and am willing to forsake the flesh and satisfy God. Thus, I feel enriched and enlightened and enjoyable in my heart all the day. However, when I don’t have God’s words in my heart, I want to flinch once encountering any difficulties, and am filled with negativity, resistance, and complaints, and my previous faith and love disappear completely; I am living under the influence of Satan. I really feel that without God’s words, man will lack strength and lose faith even though he is alive. I have truly experienced God’s words: “God uses the word to govern man; you feel good if you eat and drink of the word of God, and if you do not, you will have no way to follow. The word of God becomes the food of man and the force that drives him. The Bible said that ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ This is the work that God will accomplish this day. He will realize this truth in you.
God is the source of man’s life, and He will bestow upon us everything we need if we obey Him and worship Him. If man only sees the value of food but cannot see the authority and life power of God’s words, he will not receive God’s care, protection, and comfort. And he will be dry and dark in his spirit, and have a hard time taking even a single step forward, and live a life without support and without hope.
This recalls the creation of Adam from the breath of God, the life force being separate in source from the body itself, and ultimately divine in origin. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” From our experiences, we feel that these words are indeed the truth. God’s word is the source of our life. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and active.” Every aspect of our daily life involves the practice of and relying on the word of God. For example, concerning the practice of prayer; quieting our heart before God; worshiping God in spirit and truth; practicing God’s word, loving our neighbour as ourselves, and be tolerant and patient when interacting with people; relying on the word of God and learning to heed God’s voice when waiting for the Lord’s coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; relying on God’s word to have a path to travel in everything.