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.’”
There are so many familiar sayings from the Bible that are used in a variety of life situations. As often happens when something is repeated over time it tends to lose the original significance. This verse is used to encourage the reading of scripture which is an important and valid point. And as you look into the context of the quote you see that there is even more.
In response to temptation Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3. The context of this quote is when the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness and the Lord provided manna for them to eat. Cleary God was providing for their physical needs. Verse 2 says that God led them in the wilderness that they would be humbled. They were tested to see if they would follow the commandments of God. Verse 3 shows another way that they were humbled as God provided the manna. This unknown food was provided to show that humans do not just live by bread but again by the commandments of God.
What is the lesson? People continually separate human physical needs from spiritual needs. People prioritize one over the other often thinking that they have to provide for their own physical needs and then looking to God to provide spiritual satisfaction. But the reality is that bread cannot be separated from the Word. How we eat and how we drink cannot be separated from walking in the ways of God. The most mundane steps of life flow from the Word of God.
This was further taught to the Israelites in the laws of food and celebration. Food is not simply a reaction to hunger. It is part of walking in the ways of God. This was a lesson that Esau had to learn many years before the wilderness wandering. If we approach all decisions of life with this spiritual mindset we will view life in the way that Christ was viewing life in the wilderness. Every basic need was responded to with the Word of God. It is an incredible adventure to read the Bible with an expectation of Spiritual Wisdom for every question of life even to when to eat bread.