And the Lord humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8: 3

 

Hunger is a very big deal. For most of us it is something that we can take charge of and do something about. However, for over one million people in the world today hunger is an unrelenting and often defining aspect of life (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, October 2011). When we are hungry there is little else that can fill our minds beyond the basic drive to acquire food. In the situation that Moses was describing, God fed His people, but He was really demonstrating something even more basic than our need for food.

 

When people do not know God, His word is truly a foreign language. The shapes of the letters, the words of the vocabulary, and the structure of the sentences may all be normal and ordinary. Yet, the meaning of the words and phrases is beyond grasping at anything other than a rudimentary level. There is something mystical and wonderful in the way that God, Himself, speaks out of the pages of the text and reveals Himself through that same text. The Spirit of Christ seems to come out of the page and into the mind of His people, and the words speak into our hearts in ways that are beyond simple human reason.

 

Words that were previously unknown become clear, and we adopt them as our own language as their author, God, becomes known to us. This is a process that continues throughout life, for there are times when I will encounter portions of God’s word where His meaning and intent are truly obscure. These are usually times when God is telling me to “Be still” and to listen to His voice and to seek His understanding. The Lord will show me His will and counsel me in the desires of His heart. He will take that foreign morsel and craft an exquisite banquet feast out of it. This is the sort of feeding that should lead the diner to a real and actionable understanding of God’s intent to see that all forms of food are provided to those who are hungry in spirit and in body.