Spring Splendors

Spring Splendors

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Campfire: Third Evening

Anyone hungry?

Go ahead and grab some s'mores fixings and gather around the fire, because tonight we're going to discuss hunger.

Spiritual Hunger

If you'll join me in opening your Bible to Matthew 4:3-4, we'll read:

"And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he [Jesus] answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

At first glance, this verse seems to be saying that humans need more than physical food--that we are in need of spiritual food to fully live. And I believe that is true. First Peter 2:2-3 states,

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."

It takes time to prepare a good meal, and it takes time to be spiritually fed by God's word and through prayer. When you pour out your heart to God, there is a very real comfort and satisfaction that nothing and no one else can bring, because God is our Provider, our Friend, and our Lord. He is in control, and He cares about us. Yet how often I neglect this truth!

God Provides

And this brings us to the reference given for the Scripture Jesus was quoting in Matthew--Deuteronomy 8:3. Let's take a look at this verse along with the preceding verse in chapter 8:

"And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live."

I think by seeing the context of the Scripture Jesus quoted, it seems that there is another element to Matthew 4:4, which is this: we are sustained by the very words of God, by His commands. God may give us food to live, but ultimately that shows it is His control that gives us our lives and the ability to live them. Sometimes, he suffers us to hunger. And sometimes he feeds us--something we take for granted.

Humility and Hunger

I do not claim to know what exactly Jesus meant when He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, but I think that perhaps He was alluding to the power of His Father. He was trusting His life in His Father's hands, because at that time, while He was fully God, He was also fully human. And He submitted to His Father's will, whether that meant being fed or not.

Consider some of the following verses in Deuteronomy 8:

"Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him....

When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:

Lest when thou hast eaten and art full...then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;

And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day."

(Verses 5-6, 10-12a, 14-18)

And there it is--a connection between hunger and humility.

When we are hungry (for love, for wealth, for success, for food, for hope, etc.), will we trust that God truly seeks "to do thee good at thy latter end"?

Will we believe that God chastens us because He loves us?

Will we realize that He tries us because He wants us to grow?

Will we remember and praise Him for what He has done when He provides for us?

8 comments:

Amanda said...

Amber... I don't even know where to begin to thank you for this beautiful devotional. You brought tears to my eyes, dear friend, and blessed my heart in ways you cannot begin to imagine. It was like the Lord spoke through your words right to my soul, to my heart through yours. Gosh, and I really needed those questions you posed at the end. God is so good and so faithful. Thank you, my friend, from the bottom of my heart for this :) I'm gonna print it out and share it with my family, as I know they will be blessed as well :)

BTW, this is my first campfire too! ;)

Big Hugs,
Amanda

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

I am so thrilled and humbled and blessed by your words, my friend! You know, when I was first thinking about writing this I wanted to focus more on being spiritually fed, but I was so amazed at how looking back at Deuteronomy touched me, and how the connection between hunger and humility just came so naturally! God is so good!!

I'm humbled to think that God used me to speak to you--the words really did just flow and feel right, you know?

I pray that God will use this to bless your family, too! :) And I'll plan on responding to your e-mail soon! Right now I've got to leave the campfire for a little while to go to my sister's 8th grade dinner. :) Until then, maybe you can tend the fire and make sure it doesn't go out? That would be much appreciated! ;)

~Amber

Amanda said...

Oh, may our fire never go out! ;) May it ever burn brightly for Him!

My friend, I hope you and your sister and your family have a wonderful time tonight!! Congrats to your sister on her graduation! :)

And, I have no doubt that those words just flowed - thats how the Holy Spirit works :) When you said, "we are sustained by the very words of God, by His commands." that really hit me. At the risk of quoting a Casting Crowns song, His Word is alive! Those precious God-breathed scriptures enter into the heart of a man and change him from the inside out, feeding his spirit. There is healing, strength, comfort, peace and life in every word found within the pages of that precious Book. Man truly cannot live by bread alone, but by every word of God - EVERY word! That means we can be sustained by each jot and tittle as long as it is coming from the mouth of God! How awesome is that?! His gives ordinary words extraordinary power!

I like this quote by Charles Spurgeon: "His precious ‘shall’s’ and ‘will’s’ are better than men’s oaths.” Amen!

Again, thank you, my friend! And I'll be sitting here basking in the glow and warmth of the Fire ;)

Blessings,
Amanda

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

Amen to that! :)

I had a wonderful time at my sister's 8th grade dinner. :) Her class is really small (only 3 students), but it was neat to see the families there and some of my old teachers back when I went to that school! After dinner we went around the tables sharing about the three 8th graders, and when I took a turn to say something about my sister, I started speaking, looked over at her, and then began to cry. She's growing up into such a beautiful young lady! Boy, that was an emotional time, and I didn't expect to break down like that at a dinner. Unfortunately for my parents, I spoke before they did, so they were in tears, too, when it was their turn! It all worked out, though, I suppose. :)

Anyway, thank you for your kind words and for sharing your thoughts and those quotes! :) I hope I didn't sound proud earlier by saying what I wrote just felt right, because it's God's Word and His guidance that are powerful, not my words on their own. But I'm glad that He chose to use my words to speak to you, and I'm in awe of what we probably both needed to hear tonight! :)

Thank you for tending the fire, and I think I'll join you in basking in the Fire's glow! :)

~Amber

Amanda said...

I'm so happy you all had a wonderful time!! I would have cried too! :) It's beautiful how close you are to your family. :)

And you didn't sound proud at all, my friend! Its an incredible feeling when the Holy Spirit works through you and you feel that special flow from your heart that gets poured out for the glory of God. That happened here, with every word, and I thank you for being that willing vessel for Him :)

Blessings,
Amanda

Casey said...

So very well said, Amber! What a great way to end your day...and start mine (since I'm late. :)

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

I do so love my family, although I confess we are a pretty crazy and strange group sometimes, LOL! ;) But yes, I'm so grateful we're close, and I could hardly help but cry last night. :)

Thank you again for your sweet words, and I'm just so happy about how God worked this all out! :) God bless you and your family!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Casey,

Thank you! :) You know, campfires can be a nice beginning to a cold morning, as well, especially with a nice cup of hot chocolate!

Glad you could join us!

~Amber