I’ve been on my share of diets. You, too?
Why is it that memories of what I can’t have fill my thoughts? I think of the fragrance of chocolate as I pop it into my mouth, hold it on my tongue until it melts, and slowly swallow it. Yes, I’m a chocoholic.
Cravings for what I don’t have.
God led the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery and into the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land.
The Israelites craved the pots of meat and abundance of bread that they enjoyed in Egypt and grumbled.
I remember the food we used to eat when I grew up and smile. I remember pancakes smothered in butter, topped with strawberries and whipped cream. I remember pouring Log Cabin Syrup over it all. Now, it’s pancakes, strawberries, and a smidgen of maple syrup.
The path to get to a healthier diet curved around sugar, shot uphill to avoid the fried foods, and followed the babbling brook lined with fruit trees and vegetables. It was a slow process of eliminating the harmful and adding the healthy.
God reveals Jesus in a similar manner, gradually throughout the Bible.
Physical Food Replaced with Spiritual Food
God replaced the food of slavery with the food of freedom. He rained bread from heaven for the Israelites, Exodus 16:4.
I can picture the Israelite women scooping up the white seeds and saying, “The seeds have a spicy aroma like coriander. What is it? The bread from heaven that God promised?“
They gathered the “what is it?” seeds, ground them, boiled them, and shaped them into cakes. Manna tasted like wafers made with honey, like pastry cooked with the finest oil, (Numbers 11:8c, Exodus 16:31).
For 40 years in the wilderness, the Israelites ate this sweet manna. Forty years receiving from God, living in His presence, and depending upon His daily miracle of manna.
Future generations would hear about the manna and rejoice because God had provided for their ancestors in the wilderness.
7 Lessons for Today
- Depend upon God for daily bread. We need nourishment every day. Our bodies need it, and our spirits need it.
Jesus taught his disciples to pray for their daily bread (Matthew 6:11, HCBS).
God’s people trust Him for their physical and spiritual daily needs.
- Dine on pure bread. Before their journey from slavery to freedom, the Israelites prepared a Passover meal. Bread without yeast was a part of that meal (Exodus 12). The priests presented unleavened bread for sacrifices and offerings (Leviticus 8:26). Unleavened bread became a symbol of purity.
“Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch. You are indeed unleavened, for Christ our Passover has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7, HCBS).
God’s people eat bread worthy of sacrifices and offerings.
- Relish bread that gives eternal life. The world’s bread gets moldy and inedible. God’s bread lasts through eternity. God allowed the Israelites to go hungry and then rained manna from heaven to help them know “that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3b, HCBS).
Chew on the Word of God.
- The Bread of God is Life. Our Father sent Jesus into the world to pay the price for our sins – a price that we owe, so that those who accept Him as their Lord and Savior would enjoy eternal life with Him (John 3:16).
“For the bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world … I am the bread of life” (John 6:33; 35, 58, HCBS).
Digest the Word.
- Work for eternal food. Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 men by multiplying the 5 barley loaves and 2 fish (John 6). The next day, the crowd found Jesus on the other side of the sea. He told them that they were coming to Him because He filled them with bread.
“Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him” (John 6:27, HCBS)
Jesus offers spiritual bread that gives eternal life.
- Share the Bread. We have the key to eternal life with God. One day, we will see Jesus face-to-face. I want all my family and friends to be there, but some are not Christians. We are called to share the bread with others. Jesus told us to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19, HCBS).
“Send your bread on the surface of the waters, for after many days you may find it” (Ecclesiastes 11:1, HCSB)
Invest in life by sharing the Bread of Life
- Consider the Bread. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays to remind us of significant times in our lives or others’ lives. We celebrate Jesus’ gift of eternal life by breaking the bread and eating it. Taking the cup and drinking from it.
“And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you’” (Luke 22:19-20, HCBS).
Remember the Bread given for us.
Make It Real
Let’s take seven days to meditate upon the manna, the Bread of Life. Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide your thoughts.
Day One. Let’s ask ourselves how we are depending upon God for what we need, both physically and spiritually. Thank God for His provision.
Day Two. Let’s ask ourselves if we need to clean out old habits that may prevent close fellowship with God. What action will we take?
Day Three. How are we chewing on the Word of God? Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to guide our thinking and lead us in meditating on God’s Word, day and night.
Day Four. How are we digesting the Word? Is it changing us? Making us more spiritually healthy? Let’s pray about it.
Day Five. Let’s examine our time and our thoughts. What is the Holy Spirit telling us?
Day Six. Let’s share how Jesus has worked in our lives with someone today.
Day Seven. Let’s remember Jesus’ sacrifice and thoughtfully and prayerfully celebrate His great sacrifice for us by breaking the bread and drinking the cup.
The diet that God offers is one of abundance, joy, and satisfaction. He offers us the eternal Bread of Life.
Let’s taste and see. Savor the flavor.
I’m rethinking how I look at diets. Are you?
Jesus, You alone are the Bread of Life. We want Your eternal diet, a diet of abundance in mercy, grace, hope, joy, and much more. Your diet is rich and powerful. Your diet empowers us to accomplish the works that You have prepared for us to do. Your diet glorifies and honors the Father. Show us how to dine upon the diet that truly satisfies. In Your precious name, we pray, amen.