DEUTERONOMY 7:1-8:20 | LUKE 7:36-8:3 | PSALM 69:1-18 | PROVERBS 12:1
2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.
Moses is providing another recap of the last forty years, and is exhorting the people to gird themselves even as they are on the verge of entering the promised land. The volt-faced line in the verse above is the capstone verse upon which I have established this devotional titled More Than Bread.
It was Moses who had first uttered these words about how bread alone is not what we need to survive. This earthly bread may be the sustenance of our earthly bodies, but it is of no use for our eternal bodies. We need more than bread; we need the Word of God. The Word that gives life, nay, life eternal.
It is the Word that became flesh and came to dwell among us is how John, the apostle puts it. And when Jesus himself is taunted by Satan on the mountain-top, to make the stones into bread, it is these very words that Jesus utters to rebuke Satan: Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Next, in our reading in the book of Luke, we find yet again the famous passage of the woman who comes to Jesus and sits by his feet to anoint them with her tears and an expensive perfume. Simon, also known as Peter looks at this scene and wonders how it is that Jesus could allow himself to come into contact with a woman of such disrepute.
But Jesus turns to Peter and by way of a parable-story explains how it doesn’t matter if she is a bad woman or a very bad woman. It doesn’t matter—do you follow? Sin is sin is sin. We are ALL in need of forgiveness. And so, turning to the woman, Jesus says to her, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Faith, and God’s grace: the two and only ingredients needed to change a life!
Like this unnamed woman who was changed, Luke makes mention of a few other such women—women whose reputations were not the most sparkling. Women who were looked down upon and shunned by the well-heeled individuals in society. It was women like these that came to Jesus to find a new life, nay, life eternal. Women once possessed by demons, women who were known prostitutes, and other such unsavory characters came to Jesus for forgiveness and to forever become changed!
Next, our Psalm for the day is one in which David is crying out to the Lord for help. Even this great warrior-poet-king of Israel had his moments of weakness and despair, and in his dark hour, he cries out for the Lord’s promise in extending his hand of mercy and provision. David says:
13 But I pray to you, O LORD,
in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God,
answer me with your sure salvation.
14 Rescue me from the mire,
do not let me sink;
deliver me from those who hate me,
from the deep waters.
15 Do not let the floodwaters engulf me
or the depths swallow me up
or the pit close its mouth over me.
16 Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love;
in your great mercy turn to me.
17 Do not hide your face from your servant;
answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.
18 Come near and rescue me;
redeem me because of my foes.
And last but not least, the verse from Proverbs today is a straightforward one. Solomon, the wise king of Israel, says this:
1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates correction is stupid.
This verse may be seen as a reiteration and affirmation of what Moses has told the people right at the start of today’s reading: Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.