Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - March 8, 2023

Hymn: “O Christ, You Walked the Road” (LSB #424, v. 2)

No bread of earth alone
Can fill our hung’ring hearts.
Lord, help us seek Your living Word,
The food Your grace imparts.
I don’t know about you all, but I really enjoy food. While my favorite foods may not be the healthiest for you (double bacon cheeseburgers), I just enjoy eating in general. My dog Noah also loves mealtimes. They’re his favorite 30 seconds of the day! You and I know that one of the curses of mealtimes is that it doesn’t last. Eventually the food will be gone, and just a few hours later, you will be hungry again. Even the double bacon cheeseburger will eventually fade and we’ll have to eat again. Food may fill the stomach for a time. It may even fill the heart for a time, but it will never fill our hungering hearts permanently.

That’s because the hunger of our hearts is not seeking food. The heart hungers for things much deeper and profound than a slice of bread, or at least, it should. Unfortunately, too often, our hearts are content with mere foods to satisfy their longings. Picture Esau, the man who sold his birthright for a bowl of red stew because he was “about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” (Genesis 25:32). This was the first temptation which the devil laid before Jesus. “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.” Jesus had been fasting in the wilderness for forty days, so He was very hungry. No doubt the idea of hot, buttery pieces of bread appealed to Him greatly. However, Christ does not take the bait, so to speak.

His response to Satan is the text on which this verse is based. “It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). This is a direct quotation from Deuteronomy 8, where Moses is reminding the people of Israel about their provision of manna in the wilderness. Manna was designed to point to the greater reality of God’s Word for the people. Manna came down upon the earth because God said so. God’s Word provided the bread for the people to eat, but God’s Word provides so much more than bread. It provides what our hearts truly desire: salvation from sin, a relationship with God in heaven above, and the promise of eternal life.

This is what it means to live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. We pray in this stanza that God would help us to seek His living Word, which is true food for our hungering hearts and thirsty souls. God’s Word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Don’t get me wrong. Bread of earth is important. If you don’t eat food on this earth, you won’t live on this earth for very long. However, we must recognize that we only receive bread because God in heaven above gives it to us. We also must recognize that bread alone is not everything. The Word of God is everything, providing all that we need for this body and life, as well as the next body and life that we shall someday receive.

We must never be content with satisfaction in the things of this world. If our hearts hunger for spiritual things, we shall not find fulfillment in this world, because “in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:21). Thankfully, God has given us His Word and Spirit so that we might find the satisfaction for our hungering hearts. Our hearts long to be forgiven, to be loved, to belong. All of these things are provided by the Lord’s Word, not by the measly food of this world, even if that food is awesome, like bacon burgers.
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