Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 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 the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:1-3)
Living For Bread
Canaan was the land of promise just beyond the turbulent waters of the Jordan. After forty years, the nation of Israel had come to the threshold of a land that would become their home in fulfillment of a promise given to Abraham so many years before. The generation that rebelled against the will of God is scattered throughout the wilderness and a new people stand anticipating the joy of finding their reward granted by the grace of God. Moses will not make that journey. He will turn the leadership of the nation to his assistant Joshua who will lead the people to many victories. In the final declaration of the aged Moses, God’s law is recounted in the hearing of the people to affirm once again the covenant made at Sinai. Moses impresses upon the minds of every soul the importance of having a dedicated heart to the cause of the Lord. Possessing the land must come from hearts that are dedicated to the word of God.
The joy of dwelling in the land of promise will only come from those who seek to keep the commandments of the Lord. Salvation is obedience measured from the love of God who bountifully gives to His people everything they need. In the forty years the children of Israel wandered from place to place, God took care of them. Their garments did not wear out, they were given ample food and water and gained victory over their enemies. The survival of the people would come only by the hand of the Lord. They should remember the wilderness journey was a test of their love for God. The Lord humbled them to see what was in their hearts. He tested them to see how deep their allegiance was for Him. His aim was to show the people they did not live by the bounty of bread alone but by the word of the Lord.
Part of the Ten Commandments admonishes the people to keep the Sabbath day holy and do no work on that day. There was a message the Lord wanted to send to His people: life is not about the busy work we think is so necessary. They were not allowed to do any work on the Sabbath day – not even picking up sticks (for which a man was stoned to death for doing on the Sabbath). Man has not changed in his misunderstanding of what is important in life. He still rushes around like a mad-hatter so busy he has no time for God. While the Law of Moses is no longer binding including the keeping of the Sabbath laws, the principle of learning how to trust in the bread of Heaven is lost upon many Christians today. Life is filled with a hurried pace seven days a week with a non-stop rush to full life with all the empty promises of things that will pass away one day. When a person is lying on their deathbed, they are in no hurry to do anything. The reason is that they realize that life is not about the hectic pursuits that so captivated the heart before. Dying people take time to die. Sadly, living people make no provisions for the day of death.
Satan came to Jesus in the wilderness tempting the Lord with the desires of the flesh. He pleaded with Jesus to turn stones into bread so that He could satisfy His belly. After fasting forty days, the Lord had a powerful hunger. Rebuking the devil, Jesus condemned Satan with the truth that life is not about bread but devouring the manna of the Heavenly Father. Man does not live by bread alone; although looking around it is hard to see many people following that admonition. Jesus kept His focus on His Father. It seems that many Christians today live such vicarious lives pursing worthless things. Sunday has become a day of fun, frolic and focus on matters of the world instead of putting God first. Why are Sunday night services so frequently diminished from Sunday morning by the trivial pursuits of those who live for the flesh? In America, we are so busy we have little time for God. Face the truth. Look at this week. How much time have we spent with the Lord? When do we plan to fit Him into our schedule? Ironically, we live on His timetable because He holds our breath in His hand.
If you are not living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, you are dying.