This is Part Two of a two part post, Where Shall We Buy Bread? It will make more sense if you read Part One first. You can find Part One here. Your feedback and comments are always welcome!
Part Two of Two
We are taking up where we left off in Part One, considering God’s dealings with the Israelites when they suffered hunger on the exodus from Egypt. According to Deuteronomy 8 God was humbling and testing His people. It was He who caused their hunger so they could realise their total dependence on Him.
You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord… Deut. 8:2-3 NASB
The people were instructed to gather what was needed for their household for one day only. When some of them disregarded this commandment they found the manna they had tried to keep overnight went bad and filled with worms. Furthermore they were not to gather it on the Sabbath, the day of rest. God would provide double on the sixth day so the people could rest on the seventh. There were those who disregarded this commandment also and went out seeking bread on the Sabbath, but there was none. Israel was being tested by God. Would they trust Him unconditionally to deliver them from bondage and provide for them and their children? And His testing was revealing the true nature of their hearts.
So unfamiliar to the Israelites was this bread from Heaven it became known among them as ‘manna’ which means “what is this”.
The Old Testament manna was symbolic of the Living Bread Who was to come: Jesus the Christ. Now, for the second time in Israel’s history, God had provided bread in the wilderness. And for a second time in their history, many in Israel were saying “what is this?” of the Christ.
But Jesus, the Living Bread, read their hearts. Many of them did not seek Him to quench their spiritual hunger. Life under Roman rule in Israel was not easy. The people sought a political Messiah who would vanquish the Romans, become their national king and cause Israel to prosper so that no-one would be hungry. They were following in hope of easier lives, not because they believed He could save them from their sins.
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing,He tells them. The words (rhema) that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63).
It was not very long afterward that many who just one day before had tried to make Him their earthly king abandoned Him, complaining they could not understand what He was saying (Jn. 6:60-66). They could not understand because His words were of the Spirit.
“Do you also want to go away?” Jesus asks the twelve. But at least one of them had understood the lesson of the Living Bread.
But Simon Peter answered him: “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words (rhema) of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:67-68).
The life Peter spoke of was the Greek word ‘zoe’, the endless, abundant, spiritual life essence of God. The Logos had spoken truth from the mind of God; the Spirit had breathed the God-Life into Peter’s heart. Christ was being revealed.
Law and Life
You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life (Jn. 5:39-40).
Life! The Bread is always about Life.
The words Jesus spoke were eternal life, spiritual life, God-life. They were rhema. Eternal life is not life after death. Eternal life is always present. It is the endless, perfect, pure Life that is only found in God and emanates from Him. The written scriptures are only life-giving to the extent they reveal a Living Christ to a searching human heart.
As a very young Christian those in authority over me consistently emphasized the importance of daily Bible reading. Being eager and hungry for more of God I followed their advice. I received comfort, hope, instruction, and training by doing so. But the Bible was also law to me. Reading it was a religious duty. I could quote it but I couldn’t live it.
I learned something. If the Bibles we carry around don’t deliver a living Christ to us, they are nothing more than a temporary fix, just like the bread we eat. You will be hungry again tomorrow, as the Israelites were. The Logos is not to be quoted, He is to be lived. Rhema is the Spirit-breathed revelation of the Living Bread being unveiled within our own hungry spirits.
The ‘word of God’ we call a sword is only effective, dividing between soul and spirit, when wielded by the Spirit of God. Scripture on human tongues can convey life or can be used as a weapon of destruction, condemning rather than convicting. Scripture does not convict the world of sin unless it is delivered as rhema, by the power of the Spirit, because it is the Spirit’s role to convict of sin, not ours (John. 16:8).
Some people may as well carry around stone tablets under their arm as their Bible I have heard people rattle off scriptures like machine gun bullets believing they are speaking for God and carry His authority. They do not. They are speaking condemnation and death. They are merely quoting, but they are not imparting Life. Scripture is only holy as it reveals a Living Christ to us or to others. Otherwise it’s just another set of moral guidelines like any other religious book, with no life and no power. Many don’t want to hear this but the Bible is not to be treated like a book of magic. We need to stop worshiping the ‘good book’ and start seeking its Author.
Somewhere in my journey I caught a glimpse of the Living Christ in the pages of my Bible and from that point on I began searching for Him every time I opened it. Gradually, the scriptures became a delight to me because I met Jesus there. Everywhere I looked in them I found the Beloved, revealing Himself to me, beckoning me to follow and seek more of Him.
Our attitude to ‘the word’ is determined by who or what we’re looking for. If we are taught, or teach others, that reading the Bible will make us good Christians, we will find only a moral framework – law. It’s tough to chew and will soon become lifeless ritual. If, however, we are truly hungry for Christ, He will reveal Himself to us within its pages. The word of God really is living and active when wielded by the Spirit of God.
These days I go to my Bible looking for a living Jesus. If I am not beholding Christ within a few minutes of opening my Bible, if I am not receiving a tangible impartation of His Life, I put it down and walk away. I refuse to look for the Living One among the dead letters of law. I love the written Word of God, both logos and rhema, more than I can tell you, because it has become a sacred meeting place to me, where the One who is Life awaits.
The bread I seek to impart through Bread for the Bride posts is always Christ. Truly, if you are not receiving a portion of the living Christ when you read these posts, please do both you and me a favour and unsubscribe. Go somewhere else where you will be fed Christ-Life. I have absolutely no desire to pass on anything but the Living Bread through my writings.
The Word of God, written or spoken can only be two things: it is Life, or it is Law. Law is for the satisfied. But Living Bread is for the hungry. We don’t need an ever increasing choice of Bible colours, covers, styles, and formats to prove we are Christ-followers. Christ does not live in black, white and red print. He lives in His people.
We need Living Bread, the Spirit-breathed revelation of Jesus Christ, in our hearts and on our tongues. That’s when we’ll turn the world upside down.
Related Article: Where Shall We Buy Bread? Part One
© Cheryl McGrath, Bread for the Bride, 2016. Copyright Notice: Permission is granted to freely reproduce any Bread for the Bride articles in emails or internet blogs, unaltered, and providing this copyright notice is included. To permanently display an article on any static website please contact me for permission.