DayBreaks for 7/15/14 – The Blessing of an Empty Belly
Deuteronomy 8:3 – Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
When is the last time that you went to bed with an empty stomach? It is hard to conceive of the fact that much of the world goes to bed hungry every night, or at least much more often than we do in America. Yes, I know that there is hunger and need in this country, too, but nothing like the rest of the world knows.
Deuteronomy wasn’t speaking of literal bread, of course. But it’s sometimes hard to really understand what it means to live on (by) the word of God. How can we come to know this is true deep down inside of our hearts and souls?
Mark Buchanan, in Your God Is Too Safe, struggled with this idea, and here’s what he had to say: “One thing is almost certain: it’s a truth that’s hard, maybe impossible, to learn between fistfuls and mouthfuls of food.
“The serpent came to Adam in a garden – Adam surrounded by an abundance of delicious food freely given to him, Adam with his belly full – and tempted him and Eve with food: ‘Here’s something you haven’t tried. Want some?’ And they licked their lips, reached out with grasping hands, took, ate. But the devil came to Jesus in a desert, Jesus surrounded by stones and scorpions and snakes, Jesus with his empty belly, and tempted Him with food: ‘Wouldn’t you like just a slice of bread?’ And Jesus flicked him away like a fly.
“So now the quiz: who understands – really understands – that we don’t live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God? Who not only understands, but withstands because of it, overcomes on the basis of it? The man with his belly full? Or the man with his belly empty?”
Adam had all kinds of food, but was starved for the word of God. Jesus was hungry, yet in the midst of his hunger, he was full. The word of God is powerful, sharper, we’re told, than any two-edged sword. It is also described as honey from a honeycomb.
The Ethiopian emperor Menelik II took the command to eat the word literally. Whenever he was sick, he’d eat actual pages from the Bible, believing it would cure him. He died in 1913 after eating the entire book of 2 Kings. At the surface, his actions are laughable, but here’s the point: I’ve seen plenty of folks, including myself, who are sick in the soul caused by a refusal to eat the Word of God. It seems that our modern appetites crave everything except for the Truth.
What are you living on? Adam failed the test, but Jesus passed it because He was full of the Word. He’s shown us the “recipe” for success. Now we need to cook with it!
PRAYER: Lord, set off alarm bells in our heads to alert us to the war that not only rages around us, but within us, and help us see the severity and deadly nature of this conflict! Then, search our hearts and reveal our own idols to us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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