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#608 – Not by Bread Alone (Deuteronomy 8:3)

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“And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
(Deuteronomy 8:3)

This verse is recounting what God did back in Exodus, providing bread from Heaven for His people on a daily basis. Here, God is telling us why He did that. He did that so that they would know that they live, like their sustenance is based not on bread alone but on the words of God, on the provision of God in His word. In other words, more important than breakfast for you and me is the word of God. More important than lunch or dinner or snack is the word of God.

Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Obviously, this verse is about hunger and God providing food, but at this point, I would just encourage each one of us to consider the place of fasting in our relationship with God. I don’t know how regulate fasting might be in your relationship with God, but I want to encourage you to make it a regular part of your relationship with God, to physically put aside food for a meal for a day, for longer, if God leads, and to say, “More than I need physical food, I need spiritual nourishment from God’s word.” This is a good discipline that Jesus expects us to do, that the scriptures show us how to do and call us to do.

I’m encouraging you to fast. The reason I mention that here is because that is one of the clearest ways that we can see we don’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God, so we set aside food, we substitute the time we would eat with prayer and study of God’s word. When we get hungry, we say, “More important than a sandwich or a snack right now is the word of God to me.”

God, we pray that you would help us to learn this. You are obviously teaching your people in the Old Testament this. We want to learn that we don’t live on bread alone but on every word that comes from your mouth, so help us to be a people sustained by your word. Help us to value your word more than we value daily food. God, we pray that you would use our fasting, that you would use our setting aside of food to teach us that your word is sufficient in a way that no meal in this world can compare with. God, help us to honor you with our fasting in this way. Please make us a people, we pray. Pray this my life and pray this for those who are listening right now who know this, who know. Make us the people who know, who learn from you to feast on your word more than anything else this world offers us.

Then, O God, I’m just driven today to pray for people who don’t have your word, God, for the Shawiya Berbers in Algeria that don’t have your word. There’s over 2 million of them that don’t have a complete Bible in their language. God, we pray. We live on every word that comes from your word, and they can’t live without your word. God, please, please bless those who are working to translate the Bible among them. God, please cause that Bible translation to become a reality. God, we pray that Shawiya Berbers in Algeria would have your word and have life in it. Please use our giving, our working, and our churches toward that end. We pray that they might know man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

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David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and president of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, and Counter Culture.
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