MATTHEW 4:3-4: “Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
OBSERVATION: Man shall not live by bread alone! This is one of the most famous statements in all of Scripture. It is one we often quote. We sing it in songs of worship. We use it in personal exhortations to emphasize the importance of God’s Word. Yet, what does it really mean?
To be honest, I have used it primarily to emphasize the importance of God’s Word in my life. The reasoning goes – If I need daily bread to live and grow physically, then most assuredly I need to be in God’s Word daily to live and grow spiritually. I think this is true and a good application of this Scripture, but is it what Jesus was really saying when He quoted this in response to Satan’s temptation? I think He was saying much more.
Satan came to Jesus when He was tired and hungry. Jesus was fully man. He was not a “super being” that did not have the same needs as we do. When Jesus was hungry – he was really hungry! Is being hungry a sin? Of course not, it is a real human need. And here is the crux of Satan’s temptation. Satan was trying to get Jesus to meet a real human need in an unprescribed manner outside of God’s will. Isn’t this the temptation we all face. Love is a real human need, and we are tempted to lust. Provision is a real human need, and we are tempted with greed. Satan is always holding the “shortcut” in front of us to fulfill what God has promised He will provide for us.
So what does this have to do with “daily bread”? In life we always have a choice. We can live by our own will (our bread), or we can live by the will of God (His bread, His Word). Jesus was refusing to meet HIs real felt human need in a way that was outside of the “Bread of Life” – the Word of God. He was saying – Man cannot live by his desires, his needs, his wants – he must live by the Word of God! This leads us back to the importance of God’s Word in our lives. How can we know the will of God? By daily looking into the pages of Scripture and partaking of every word as we would every morsel of bread when we are extremely hungry.
This is a call to consider “first” the Kingdom and Will of God. Jesus taught us to pray – “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus walked completely in the Will of God, and He has given us His Spirit so that we can follow in His footsteps. If Jesus knew His need for living by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God, being without sin, how much more then do we need to do the same as we are walking through this life as both saints and sinners! Man shall not live by bread alone – but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God!
Lord, help me to consider “every word” that You speak into my life. Help me lay down my insecurities and my doubt at the foot of the cross and receive with meekness Your ingrafted Word which is able to save, deliver, and guide me throughout my life. Help me trust You to meet “every need” in my life as I follow and obey Your Word! In Jesus Name!