Lenten Reflections 2012: Retreating into the wilderness with Jesus, Day 16

Slices of French Bread

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Day 16, Saturday, March 10, 2012

 In the first temptation when the devil wanted Jesus to make bread out of stones because He was hungry, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4: 4, Luke 4:4). Interestingly, Jesus cited Deuteronomy 8:2-3 from memory. If you recall, we saw how Jesus’ experience is very similar to the wilderness experience of the Israelites. Deut. 8:2-3 (NIV) reads,

“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

 Jesus must have been reading the Word of God and contemplating on Israelites’ experience in the wilderness of Sinai. That’s why, in the face of hunger and temptation, he could tell Satan that there is more to our earthly life than just our physical needs. If we go deeper in the Word of God and do in our life what it says, we, too, will soon realize that the Word is life-giving. Compared to the worldly things surrounding us, the Bible says:

“‘But the word of the Lord endures forever.’ Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Pet 1:25-2:2 NewKJV).

The Word of God can satisfy our spiritual hunger and thirst and thus we should grow spiritually. There are millions of people today that call themselves Christian, but aren’t growing at all. God has blessed them physically, financially, and in every other way, as He did the people of Israel. But as far as the Word of God and their spiritual life is concerned, they are at the same stage today at which they were 25 years ago or so. They haven’t grown. As a result, they have grown in their dependency on the material stuff that has been accumulated around them. Therefore, in the face of testing of their faith, they will not have the spiritual resources to draw from and cannot win over the tempter. Today, let us look within and in the past. What is the source of your life? Is it the Word of God? What’s exactly the place of the Word of God in your life? Is it only to be kept under the pillow, on the bookshelf, or in the suitcase when you travel? Or, has it just become a habit that you read the Word and then forget about it? How much have you grown in the Word since you became a follower of Christ? God bless! Amen.

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