Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone – A Brief Reflection upon Matthew 4:4

“If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.” ― St. Augustine of Hippo

“And men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a second thought.”
― St. Augustine of Hippo

“The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.” ― St. Augustine of Hippo

“Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?” ― St. Augustine of Hippo

“The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them.” ― St. Augustine of Hippo,

Matthew 4:1-11 New American Standard Bible

The Temptation of Jesus

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, He [a]then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’” (Emphasis is my own for this devotional reflection)

Then the devil *took Him along into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and he *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written:

‘He will give His angels orders concerning You’;

and

‘On their hands they will lift You up,
So that You do not strike Your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “[b]On the other hand, it is written: ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil *took Him along to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and [c]worship me.” 10 Then Jesus *said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and [d]serve Him only.’” 11 Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to serve Him.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Today’s Gospel

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” (The Message)

Have you ever read the Bible but felt overwhelmed?

Have you ever read the Bible and felt underwhelmed?

Maybe the book seems really big.

Maybe the book seems too heavy to lift off of the dusty bookshelf.

Maybe the book seems really small.

Maybe the book looks too much like your smart phone.

Perhaps you simply don’t like reading “books” but looking at smart phones.

After all those “small screen tiny letter” technological things can make Bible reading seem really hard. However, the study of the Word of God is critical.

Today’s verse from Matthew’s “Temptation Narrative” shows us that we aren’t to just eat “bread” for food and that’s all we need for growth. Instead, it tells us that we also need also need to feast on the Word of God. Feeding on God’s word might sound 21st century weird, but it’s really helpful for your spiritual growth.

The Bible helps us learn right from wrong. It helps us to make good decisions and makes us wise.

God’s word is a powerful tool in our lives. Your heart was made for God’s word.

The Word of God for the Children of God is a seed that produces growth and life in your life. So, if you have not picked up or planted any new seeds lately, find ways to make time for God’s word. It might or could be something simple like picking up or looking up a small devotional book reading every day, listening to a YouTube sermon or Podcast. Even if you just don’t like to read there are many ways to get God’s word in your heart. Simply look up into the starry night sky!

Matthew 4:4 Complete Jewish Bible

But he answered, “The Tanakh says,

‘Man does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of Adonai

This verse should be many Christians’ motto. 

God’s Word IS the truth and the daily bread of our life.

Because of God’s word, we are supplied and sated in our spirit; so that we have “fed” faith to stand testimony when we encounter failure and defeat, trials and refinement, just as God’s word says, “Jesus (the man, the Rabbi, teacher) said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,’ which means that, although man lives in a physical body, what gives him real life, what allows his physical body to live and breathe, is not physical food, but all the words uttered by the mouth of God are.

On the one hand, man regards these words as truth. The words give him faith, make him feel that he can depend on God, that God is truth. On the other hand, is there a practical aspect to these words?

Yes! There is! Why? Because the man, Rabbi Jesus had fasted for 40 days and nights and He is still standing there, still alive. Is this a healthy illustration?

The point here is that He had not eaten anything, any food for 40 days and nights. He is still alive. This is the powerful evidence behind His phrase.

The phrase is simple, but, as far as our Rabbi Jesus is concerned, was His phrase taught to Him by someone else, or did He think of it only because of what Satan had said to Him trying to play him for a fool? Think about it. God is truth. God is life. God is the Way. Was God’s truth and God’s life and God’s Way a late Gospel add-on? Was it born of experience? No!! It is innate in God, meaning that truth and life already reside in God’s very abundance, in God’s abundant substance.

Whatever befalls Him, what He reveals is truth. This truth, this phrase—whether its content is long or short—it can let man live, give him life; it can enable man to find, within itself, truth, clarity about life’s journey, and enable him to have that well-nourished, well-sustained, faith and hope in God alone.

This is the source of God’s use of this phrase. The source is positive, so is this positive thing holy? (Yes.)” Thank God for bestowing His word to us so that we can each know God from His word and also understand the meaning of life and pursue the nourishing growth of life (Psalm 23:5-6) in God’s word every day.

“I have read in the writings of Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.” ― Saint Augustine of Hippo

“The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them.” ― St. Augustine of Hippo

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let’s Pray

“Oh, God, to know you is life. To serve You is freedom. To praise you is the soul’s joy and delight. Guard me with the power of Your grace here and in all places. Now and at all times, forever. Amen.” ― St. Augustine of Hippo

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Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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