Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone

Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone

Matthew 4:4

Jesus, quoting from the Scriptures, responds to the temptations of the devil by saying, "Man shall not live by bread alone."  Certainly these words are tremendously amplified when we consider the context.  Jesus had been engaging in a supernatural fast of 40 days and nights (Matt. 4:2).  This is when the devil approached Jesus.

  "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread(4:3).

I want to notice several elements of this temptation:
  1. The devil calls into question the identity of Jesus.  The temptation is for Jesus to defend His Sonship by acting upon the "dare." This is tantamount to the playground banter, or manipulation tactics, "You aren't the Son of God... if you are, prove it!"
    • In our own lives, do we ever act out of our own insecurity around our identity?  If you belong to God, and are His child, a follower of Christ, servant of the Most High -- you can rest in your identity on the basis of what God has said in His Word.  The devil's temptation to draw you into doubt can be squarely laid to rest at the foot of the cross. 
  2. The devil entices Jesus to use His power to satisfy His own desires.  Whether or not Jesus would have turned stones in bread, we do know that He is capable of tremendous miracles involving food (consider the feeding of the 5,000 - Matt. 14:13-21).  Notice in the miracle accounts, none of them were performed to satisfy any personal desire.  Rather each one was to (1) serve those around Him, and (2) display His fulfillment of all God's redemptive purposes coming to fruition in Christ.
    • Friend, how many times are you drawn to use your resources for selfish purposes?  Do your desires - even needs - lead you into some form of compromise in your spiritual commitments?  How then can you be sustained?  More on that in a moment.
  3. The devil used an occasion of physical weakness to exploit potential spiritual weakness. In Jesus' full humanity, He experienced hunger and weariness.  In this case, after not eating for 40 days, "he was hungry" (4:2).  At this moment, Jesus' weakened body could have become the determining factor in His decision making.
    •  In our lives, do we allow physical weakness to be the devil's strength?  Where we are weakest is where we need the most careful awareness against temptation.  Where we may feel depleted, we must find a true and significant means of sustenance.
Jesus' response to the devil's temptation is simply, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."'

I want to notice several elements of this response:
  1.  Jesus indefinites Himself with all humanity.  How encouraging to know that the intercessor for our souls before God the Father has known hunger, has known temptation, has known hardship.  And just as His people were called to "live by every word that comes from the mouth of God" - so too He points to this.  Would you have victory over temptation?  Follow Jesus' example. 
  2. The words that comes from the mouth of God are "life sustaining."  As you read, and meditate upon, and study the Scriptures, are you being nourished by them?  This does not mean that you will never have to eat physical food again.  But just as the nature of man is more than physical, so too are the nourishments that must sustain them.  All humanity is searching for meaning; we hold a witness to its source in our hands every time we open the Bible!
  3. The Word is from "the mouth of God." The pages of the Scriptures are not merely a collection of some dead men's writings.  They are "from His mouth."  Consider the words of Job, "I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food" (23:12).  Also 2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is God-breathed..."  Dear friend, in the Scriptures, you hold in your hands, the very breath of God; likewise in your lungs. 

So... what about you?  Today?  Are you feeding on this life sustaining, soul sanctifying Word?  Do you hunger for it?  Dig deep!  Do not grow weary!

If you are looking for ways to dig deeper in this community of believers, reach out!  We would love to hear from you and see you!

Pastor Phil