I read a familiar portion of Scripture today—the section that tells of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness by the devil. Jesus fasted for 40 days, becoming hungry.
That’s when the tempter strolled in and said to Jesus, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
To that, Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD’ ” (see Matthew 4).
I’ve often thought of this exchange in terms of physical hunger (obviously); I’ve seen it as a way to battle against the temptation of being ruled by your belly.
Today, however, I’m pondering the deeper hunger pains we all experience—hunger for love, attention, affirmation, acceptance, praise, power, control, security, and so on. Hunger prompts us to act in any way needed to satiate that pang of emptiness that aches deep within our souls.
When we sense the ache within, the tempter strolls up offering solutions to our emptiness. That’s when we must choose between the temporary filling of substitute bread and the permanent healing of true bread that comes from the mouth of God.
The trouble is that substitute bread can be found right at our feet, just as those rocks were at the Lord’s. It is tempting because such rocks are easy to find and easy to consume.
True bread that fills and heals the soul is found in God alone—and that takes a bit of patience and waiting before Him, as we learn to trust His hand to provide for our soul’s hunger.
John Piper says this in his book A Hunger for God: “We have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”
O, that I would not be tempted to stuff myself with the rocks I find here at my feet.