I attended my first Community Bible Study class in January of 1987 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I had a brand new baby boy and decided not to return to teaching right away. On Tuesday mornings, Momma and Baby made our way to the First Presbyterian Church on the University of Michigan campus. Little did I know, at the time, I had embarked upon the most important spiritual journey of my life.
I received a large notebook to fill weekly with Bible lessons and commentaries. The course was comprehensive, but I was okay with that. I am the academic type and enjoyed spending close to an hour, six days a week, on my studies. Still, at first I couldn’t make much sense of what I was learning. Most of the other women in my core group seemed to have such facility with the Word of God. They had a good bit of knowledge of the various books in the Bible, while I found it quite a challenge only to locate a specific book within the Holy Scriptures. I decided to hang in there. It took a little time, maybe a year or two, but then I began to make the connections. The history and the poetry started to come together and I became hooked on the beauty of it all. I thank God for giving me a hunger for his Word. It truly has transformed my life.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors 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. Deuteronomy 8:3
To feel hunger and then to be fed is a naturally humbling process. God could have fed the Israelites without causing them to suffer from hunger, but he chose to withhold the manna until the middle of the second month of their journey. Finally, after their own resources provided no sustenance for them, they saw God’s glory in the way that he fed them. The Lord continued to feed them for a full forty years. God’s provision of manna, the bread from heaven, taught them that their lives depended completely on God, who had the power to sustain them without any of the usual means.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:4
Our Lord uses these same words in his hour of temptation. He was led forty days, one day for each year of the Exodus, in the wilderness. During that time, he lived on the Word of God. In his moment of weakness, the Devil suggested Jesus create bread for himself. Although he had the power to perform a stones-into-bread miracle, he would not use it. Instead, he trusted in his Father’s Word to sustain him.
Deuteronomy was an essential part of every Israelite’s education. The words that Jesus used would have been well known to him from his childhood. These familiar words came to mind as Jesus suffered from exhaustion, and in an act of faith, chose to leave his life in his Father’s hands. Jesus’ wilderness experience gives new meaning and significance to the Old Testament history of the bread from heaven.
Are you feeding on the Holy Scriptures? The Bible is our spiritual food. As Jesus, when we study the Word of God, we develop a frame of reference to apply when faced with trials. We discover the guideposts God has given us to live our best lives while on Earth.
I highly recommend joining a Community Bible Study class in your area. Alternatively, the Engaging God’s Word Bible Studies, produced by Community Bible Study, are available at Amazon.com for individual home study or study with a small group.