“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
Learning Through Crisis!
“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.‘”
– Deuteronomy 8:3
Probably this is one of the most popular verse of the bible yet it is so less understood. For us to understand Matthew 4:4, we will have to go back to it’s root in Deuteronomy 8:3.
After having redeemed Israel with the mighty display of power, signs and wonders, God was ready to teach Israel the most important lesson – “the survival technique.” It was barely a month that they had set out from Egypt. (Exo 16:1). Their wilderness journey was to be one of the toughest. There would be no land to cultivate food and there would be constant exposure to dangers and harm. Even if they had survived the wild beasts, scorpion and serpents, their food supply wouldn’t last very long to sustain them, they would eventually die. (Deut 8:15). It was like “Man vs Wild.” But God wanted to teach them the secret to survival and we can learn from them. So, how did God planned to teach them.
“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.'” – Deuteronomy 8:3
Our God is a great teacher. He uses the very circumstances of our life to teach us. God is trying to teach you something from what you are going through right now. But if you allow your situation to overwhelm you, you would learn nothing. Have patience! In fact, God could have kept you from this hour, but he allowed it for a purpose, seek that purpose. Don’t worry, you are in safe hands of our heavenly father. He allowed Israelites to go hungry for a while, but only to feed them and thereby teach them daily survival technique. God uses physical things to teach spiritual truths, it’s his nature, but if we allow our carnality to overtake, we will never learn those lessons and our spiritual growth will get stunted. Do you want to be a spiritual dwarf? Their carnal passion overpowered them so much, that their physical hunger led them to sin – they grumbled, murmured, they even alleged Moses and God of foul motives – they questioned the very unchanging character of God. Count the number of times the word “grumble and grumbling” appears in Exodus 16, it appears seven times!! Moses said to Aaron…
“Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’ ” – Exodus 16:9
Oh! How we wish the verse would read, “Come before the Lord, for he has heard your PRAYERS.”? If they had faith and understood the ways of God, they could have simply prayed, after all who doesn’t have needs? Who doesn’t go through crisis? But there a way we can express those needs to God – “be worried about nothing but in everything… make your petitions known unto God.” (Phil 4:6). This is faith. Jesus said, “if you have faith, you will say to this mountain…” but certainly not grumble and blame God!! (Mark 11:23)
Israel’s spiritual growth got stunted. Sadly, with few exceptions, Israel never learnt the lesson that God intended. God said, “… YOUR FATHERS TESTED ME AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS. That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘THEIR HEARTS ARE ALWAYS GOING ASTRAY AND THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN MY WAYS.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” – Hebrews 3:8-11
After having seen God’s miracle working power for 40 years, they still tested God in Meriah. What did they learn in 40 years, nothing! This time even Moses was disqualified from entering the promised land. They only saw God’s powerful work but never learnt God’s way. As far as their spiritual life was concerned, they had not progressed, their growth was stunted, they were forty years old spiritual dwarfs.
Time doesn’t guarantee spiritual maturity, but our faith and patience does, if we choose to hold onto it. God is leading you today. Take off your eyes from your flesh and fix it upon Jesus. Don’t pay attention to your problem, pay attention to what the Holy Spirit wants to speak to you. You will never ever be the same again.
“Time doesn’t guarantee spiritual maturity, but our faith and patience does, if we hold on to it and allow God to complete His work in you.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to learn the lessons which you desire to teach me with faith and patience. Amen