“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the living God.”
It’s hard to live on words. You body needs food and shelter and water. We need connection (something we’re rather starved of right now). How can I live on God’s promises alone.
The only way I can do that is if I truly believe that this life is not the only one to live. It’s not a trial run, or something like that. It’s not a throw-away life. No. But I have to trust that what God says about the life to come is true.
That’s what Jesus was doing when he rebuked the devil by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. He was trusting that God had called him to fast and he was choosing to trust in God’s provision for him.
What’s interesting is that he wasn’t trusting God with his life, per se. What I mean is, Jesus knew that he wasn’t going to die in the wilderness. He knew that because he knew he was going to die on the cross. Jesus was trusting that God would enable him to fulfill his mission, his purpose in life.
Jesus was dedicated to living his life for God. He knew that his life was not about himself, but that his life was intended to fulfill a purpose that God had for him. His faith in God wasn’t that God would take care of his physical needs (though he would). His trust in God was not that he would save him from a painful death or from suffering (he would ask him to endure it). No. His trust was that God would enable him to fulfill his mission.
Jesus didn’t trust in bread that provides physical life. Jesus trusted in the word of God which said, “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11). It wasn’t the satisfaction of a full stomach that Jesus sought. It was the satisfaction of the Father’s good pleasure.
We think that for God to be faithful he has to lead us to ultimate prosperity, prosperity in this life. We think that a good God couldn’t lead us into suffering or turmoil. But that’s just not true when your model for life is Jesus.
But there’s more. You see, the suffering that Jesus endured, God will never ask us to bear. Because Jesus died cut off from the love of God, we know that whatever suffering God may ask us to endure in this life will not be ultimate. Because Jesus was excluded, God will include us. Because he was cut off, we are hemmed in.
We don’t live by bread alone because our hope is not in this world alone. No, our trust is in God’s word which says that nothing can separate us—in life and in death—from his love.
Father, it seems like this world is all we know. We want quiet lives in the comfort of our homes with our friends and families. We want to have food and shelter and love and laughter. But our desires for these things don’t leave us with the fortitude to endure the hardships of life for the sake of your mission. But you word does. Help us to trust in your word. By your word we live. By your grace we endure.