Dear Logos Flock,
“And he 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.” Deut 8:3
It’s a truism about human nature that we often do not appreciate the value of something until it’s taken away and we no longer have it.
God knows this. He made the Israelites eat only manna when they wandered through the wilderness. Not only would they come to appreciate real food that they would eventually receive in abundance when they entered the promised land – a land “flowing with milk and honey” – but He also wanted them to understand that more important than food was the word of God that nourished the soul.
Like the Israelites we are in danger of not valuing God’s word. Ironically, in America, there seems to be an over-abundance of ‘the word of God.’ Bibles are easily obtainable. You can drive down to your local Christian bookstore or order a Bible online in any translation you prefer with a soft, hard or leather jacket! Heck, you don’t even need a physical Bible anymore. You can just download it on your favorite Bible “app.”
Yet who is really hungry for the word of God? Who reads and studies God’s word except pastors? (I hope some of you are saying, “I do, I do!”) Could it be that it is so readily available in so many forms that we have lost our appetite for it? Or do we have just too many other tantalizing distractions? (Have you enjoyed your sabbatical from sports during the pandemic?)
I’ve mentioned before that I spent a summer in Mexico serving on an orphanage. We ate with the kids – oatmeal for breakfast, rice and beans for lunch and dinner every day. Mid-summer I contracted an amoeba so I couldn’t stomach rice and beans anymore. You know what happened besides the obvious that I lost weight?
My soul began to hunger for the word of God! I sensed God’s presence reading Scripture in the morning. My soul was filled with the joy of the Lord! Relationships became more meaningful! It was hot, dry and dusty and all we had was each other. Nothing to entertain us except school in the morning. But somehow that didn’t matter. Doing less actually produced a greater appreciation for what I did have! Less became more! I could more fully appreciate the psalmist’s words: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.” Ps 34:8
Sometimes it takes a ‘desert experience’ to rediscover the richness of God’s word!