This past Wednesday night, I feel like I did take a few minutes to stop and "smell the roses". Right now at my church, we meet on Wednesday nights for a midweek study while home fellowships are on a break. The study has been great, as we are "Learning to BREATHE".
Last Wednesday we were looking at the "R" in "Breathe", which was "remember", or "retaining" scripture. My pastor busted out Luke 4:4 where Jesus tells us that, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone.'" Naturally, thanks to Dr. Lunde's training, I immediately flipped over to Deuteronomy 8:3, where Jesus is quoting the "written" passage. Here is where the "roses" began to smell good.
When I turned over to Deuteronomy, I read, "He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers 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."
As I started to read this, I realized that the writer here is writing about the Exodus Event, reminding his readers of what God has done to rescue His people. I kept on reading through Luke, and realized that every time Jesus came back at Satan with an argument, He quoted from Deuteronomy chapters 6 or 8. So at this point I began to read through the context's of chapters 6 through 8 in Deuteronomy, and I found something very interesting happening.
You see, in Luke (and in the Temptation event on a whole...), there is a pattern where Satan is trying to tempt Jesus with having authority over everything. First Satan tells Jesus to make stone into bread so He can eat. Then Satan tells Jesus that he (Satan) will give Jesus all the authority in the world. And then finally, Satan tells Jesus that if He is the Son of God, He will throw Himself down off the mountain and prove to everyone that He is God because the angels will save Him. Jesus seems to come out of nowhere with His quotes from Deuteronomy. I mean, they make a little sense I guess...but even when he quotes that man will not live on bread alone, He doesn't even finish by saying, "but by every word of God (in Luke). So what was Jesus thinking of when He quoted from Deuteronomy??
Sometimes we can just take that one verse - Deut. 8:3 - and only glean meaning from it individually. But it is oftentimes good to look at the entire context of where the New Testament writer is taking the Old Testament quotations from. Because as soon as you continue to read on in Deuteronomy (specifically in chapter 8), a whole bigger, and clearer statement is made. Deut. 8:4-5 says, "Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you."
Deuteronomy continues by saying, "Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land - a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper our of the hills."
You see, we must read into the context of the Old Testament passage to understand what Jesus is referring to, to have the passage come alive to us. Jesus is really saying "booyah Satan! Are you kidding me?! You, Satan, are offering me the powers of the world when right here in Deuteronomy God is promising us all a place where we will lack nothing; a place flowing with honey, where bread will not be scarce." You have to be kidding me! Why would Jesus take that offer? Why would Jesus listen to Satan when He knows that the Word of God tells Him to be disciplined by God, to walk in His ways, to observe His commands, so that He will brought into a new land where He will lack nothing.
We live on every word from God, because that is where His promises are. Even when we are tempted, we know that God has something greater for us. Whether we feel tempted to be "in" the world again (or for the first time), we can always go back to the Word of God which tells us that that life leads to death, but Jesus leads us to eternal life with Him. Or maybe we feel like we are being "spiritually attacked" as Satan can get ahold of our minds and our hearts, which causes us to stumble, we can always go back to the promises we have in scripture and reaffirm that we are believers in Christ, who died and rose again. And now He has given us the Spirit which dwells inside of us, and that same Spirit that dwells inside of us, rose Christ from the dead (so much power!). Or just like in this passage, when Jesus was tempted with taking over the whole world, Jesus knew that God has a much bigger ending for Him than what Satan could ever give. And when He was tempted by Satan to stop His fast to eat bread, Jesus knew that God was calling Him to this specific discipline at that time, and would not give in.
There is so much power in a promise. We tend to forget that nowadays because of broken marriages, broken contracts etc. No one can keep a promise that they make to one another, so it is hard to imagine that God would keep His. But He has. He has never broken a promise, and He never will. He will always be faithful to us. He is our solid rock on which we stand, and it is His words that we must hold near to our hearts, because that is the place where we find our hope.