“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 proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:3-4) NAS
When tempted by the Devil (C. f. Luke 4:3) to whip up a little miracle food for Himself while in the wilderness undergoing Satan’s testing and taunting, Jesus answered and overcame the temptation with memorized Scripture from the Pentateuch.
The original passage from the Pentateuch is found in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter eight and verse three, as spoken by Moses, the man of God, to the second generation of Israelites in the wilderness. “And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” (NAS) Jesus rebuttal to Satan’s taunt, and a proper understanding of it, is critical to us as His seed, the church. We need be reminded that Satan had his shot at the Christ, having lost that battle (and ultimately the war), the tempter being enraged has turned his attention to the offspring (seed) “who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. ” (Rev. 12:17) Brethren, the lesson to the Israelites then and to the Lord’s church now, the true spiritual Israel, is to understand there will be tests and they are designed to reveal our heart. The context of Deuteronomy eight bears that out: “All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your forefathers. And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” (Deut. 8:1-2) Would anyone argue that in a sense we wander through a spiritual desert called the world today? The land prepared for us is heavenly and it was what was promised to the forefathers (see Heb. 11:8-10) We entered in to that heavenly land, the kingdom of heaven, also known as the church, upon being immersed into Christ. Now one way the tempter seeks to coax you out of the spiritual land of the living and back into the world, the land of slavery and death, is by the trial of hunger. When physical bread becomes scarce, people’s focus turns back to things of the world and where they can get food to eat. The Israelites are a great example. They wanted to turn back to Egypt when it appeared they were going to die of hunger in the wilderness. So the LORD rained bread from heaven, their daily portion, to test them and see whether or not they would walk in His instruction. (Ex. 16:3-4) Jesus, in preparing the people for the coming promised New Covenant, reminded the multitudes “do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?” (Matt. 6:25) Jesus went on to remind them that the Father has always cared and provided for His children if their priorities are set correctly. In the gospel of John He stated plainly that He was the true bread come down out of heaven for the New Covenant faithful. Those who ate and drank of Him (His teaching, His character, His purpose) would never die while warning that those who didn’t eat of Him would have no life in them. No spiritual, eternal life, that is. Back in Matthew chapter six after telling them not to be anxious about food, drink, or clothing, Jesus said the answer to receiving what we will need for our physical lives lies in reference to the kingdom. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt 6:33) Brethren, the value and priority we place upon Jesus and His kingdom is a test by God to see where your heart is. When tested, do you continue hitting all the assemblies of the saints or do you forsake them? The assemblies are where you are equipped and nourished so you will know who you are in Christ. Do we have any guarantees that we’ll always live in a physical land of abundance in the U.S.A? Nope. Remember, God tested the people through privation (hardship) then gave provision. When tested, seek first the kingdom, that’s the provision!