On the Word of God as Our Food



January 5, 2020

Matthew 4:4 (NIV)

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”


So familiar have many texts in Scripture become to us that we no longer hear or see them. Because we have heard them so many times we take our understanding of them for granted. We no longer even hear them or see their import, and consequently we neglect them in our work of disciple-making.

We need to be shaken awake with texts like today’s. We desperately need to recover a kind of beginner’s mind when it comes to familiar texts. Though texts do have a clear and limited meaning and can’t be bent into new and novel interpretations, one’s understanding of the Word of God with the help of the Spirit of God can be limitless. When it comes to the revealed Word of God, there is always more understanding to be grasped.

The context of today’s text centers around what we know as the temptation of Jesus by Satan in the wilderness.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Matthew 4:1-3)

This is not practice. Jesus is in the game. Up to this point, Jesus lived a life of practice. He grew up in wisdom and stature and favor with God and God’s people. He read, heard, meditated on, memorized, studied, and enacted the Word of God hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year. For thirty years Jesus lived out a Deuteronomy 6:4-9 life and lifestyle. The will of the Word of God wove his world together into a seamlessness between Heaven and Earth; shaping his mind and heart, forming his soul and spirit, literally becoming his source and strength; his sword and shield. The text makes clear, Jesus’ dependence on the Word of God did not rival that of food; it equaled it.

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Is it any wonder he is known to history and eternity as the Word made Flesh? When the test came he was ready.

In essence, Jesus prepared thirty years for a three year work. Oh, what difference it could make if we would consider preparing three years for what could be a thirty year work! Still yet we see a deeper lesson in the life of our most high mentor. For Jesus, practice was playing and playing was practice. All of life served as the playing field.

To be continued . . .


Our Father in Heaven, thank you for your Word, which is not like food but is in fact food. Bring us into this kind of dependence on your Word until our dependence becomes our delight. I do not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Make it so through the strength of your indwelling Spirit. In the process, expose the junk food habits of my soul and give me the will to amend my diet. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. 


How is your own longing and desire for a Word shaped life growing as we proceed on this journey together? Is your soul growing hungry? If so, this is a gift of God. Rejoice and reflect on that.

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.