Practical Application of the Word of God
Bread and water are two of the most commonly mentioned things, both literally and symbolically, throughout the word of God.
The most spartan diet described for human beings consists of bread and water, since a person can live on just these two things alone.
I could not possibly cover all the ways in which bread and water are used in God’s word in these two contexts in one post or probably even 100 posts, so today I want to focus on a relationship regarding bread that we may not have associated before.
In Matthew 6:11, Jesus Christ includes this in the areas of things we pray to God about: “Give us this day our daily bread.” (This section of scripture is given as a broad outline of things we should pray about, not as a prayer to be recited over and over, as many people do, ending up being guilty of doing what Christ tells us not to do just a few verses before in Matthew 6:7.)
Why did Jesus Christ include this area among all the things we need to talk to our heavenly Father about? What is the significance of this in relationship to the rest of scripture? Does it have a deeper meaning than just the words that we see here?
Well, let’s take a look and see.
The first thing we glean from this scripture is that we must pray – talk with – our Dad daily, because we depend on Him daily.
Prayer is not some sort of haphazard thing we do if we remember, if we don’t fall asleep first, or if we’re in trouble. It is our part, as children of God, in communicating daily with our Father, without which we will not have provision, guidance, forgiveness, and the help we need to fulfill the mission statement that Jesus Christ gives us in Matthew 6:33.
And, as I’ve mentioned before, communication is not a one-way street. When we ask for things, we must be willing to listen to the answers. As we’ll discover in a bit, Matthew 6:11 is critical in our listening to what God answers.
But before we discuss that, I want to bring out an Old Testament parallel that points to the inevitability of Matthew 6:11 that we may not have thought about before.
God provided manna to the Israelites on a daily basis, except on Friday when He provided enough for two days (Friday and the Sabbath).
Manna was provided by God to Israel as a test to see whether they would obey Him.
There is a New Testament parallel to manna that ties in to Matthew 6:11. However, its meaning is deeper than we may have thought about until now.
In John 6:22-58, Jesus Christ explains this parallel when He compares the physical bread from heaven (manna) with the spiritual bread from heaven (Him as the Bread of Life).
So when we ask God for our daily needs (food, water, sustenance, help and guidance) as we are directed by Jesus Christ to do in Matthew 6:11, we are not just addressing our physical needs. Instead, we are asking God to provide for all of our needs: spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental.
Spiritually, we need the Bread of Life and the living water daily to grow, to repent, to overcome, and to become spiritually complete, like our Father and Older Brother.
Where do we get this Bread of Life? We’re given the answer in John 1:1:”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
The Word of God and the Bread of Life are Jesus Christ. Therefore, we eat of the Bread of Life when we study the word of God. In other words, the Bible is Jesus Christ in print. It is the truth and it is the only truth that exists in the universe so it is the last word – the final authority – on anything that we encounter in life.
God provides this for us daily, but just as manna was a physical test to see whether Israel would obey God or not, so this Bread of Life is a two-fold spiritual test to see whether we’ll obey God or not.
The first part of this spiritual test is whether we will actually ask for and eat of the Bread of Life daily. The second part of this spiritual test is whether we will accept or reject the Bread of Life as our spiritual nourishment.
Sadly, among many people who claim to be Christians, both eating the Bread of Life daily and accepting it as our spiritual nourishment is more uncommon than common today.
We’d rather listen to or read the words of mere mortals – who, just like each of us, are flawed, sinful, and outright wrong in many things, perhaps not intentionally, but just because we are human and fallible – like ourselves instead of the Word of God (the Bread of Life).
In other words, we’ve come to prefer a spiritual junk food diet instead of a spiritually healthy and nourishing diet.
And, yet, among the same people is the constant complaint of not being spiritually fed. My answer to that is always the same: if we’re not being spiritually fed, that’s our fault.
We have access to the Bread of Life anytime we want to eat of it. We have God’s spirit to understand it and to learn how to apply it in our lives.
But the choice to eat this Bread of Life is ours. If we chose not to or we choose to eat spiritual junk food (the words of human reasoning, which is faulty at best and wrong at worst), then we have no one but ourselves to blame for being spiritually hungry or starved.
We are nearing the close of the observance of the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Have we been more keenly aware with each day’s partaking of unleavened bread of our daily need to eat fully of the Bread of Life?
Or have we missed one of the deep lessons of the Days of Unleavened Bread altogether because we’ve been told by people and study papers that we aren’t required to eat unleavened bread every day during the Days of Unleavened Bread?
Here is the two-part spiritual test in practice.
The Word of God (the Bread of Life) says in Leviticus 23:6 “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.” But there are many people and oodles of study papers (what they were studying, God only knows, but it is certainly the exact opposite of what God says definitively) saying that eating unleavened bread is optional and not required.
Who do we believe?
If we look at Matthew 6:11, John 6:22-58, and Leviticus 23:4-8, it should be immediately obvious that these are intimately connected and interrelated, and the deliberate action of eating unleavened bread every day is a reflection of our renewed commitment to eat of and seek sustenance from the Bread of Life (which is unleavened and which unleavens us) daily forever.
Being casual or kinda-sorta-maybe (non-committal?) about eating unleavened bread every day during the Days of Unleavened Bread seems to me to be a reflection of our spiritual state of commitment to God, to Jesus Christ, and to His word.
I can only answer this for myself. You can only answer for yourself.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t remind us all of Hebrews 10:31: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Our lives depend on the Bread of Life. If we reject that, then He will reject us. It’s that serious.
I urge each of us to be diligent in asking for and eating of the Bread of Life daily that God graciously provides for us abundantly, using His spirit to learn to live by every word that proceeds out of His mouth, applying it to who we are, what we are, how we are in attitudes, in motives, in thoughts, in words, and in actions.
Knowing it is not enough. We must internalize it and live it!