During these Covid19 days, food places all over, if they are compliant with instrucctions, are taking orders and preparing food for customer pickup. Quite a change from the “help yourself” salad bar. But it is a good, safe replacement. Covid or no, we all need food, and if we can find the right place to prepare it for us, we’ll pay the price and go back for more.
Isn’t that what we are doing also, in a spiritual sense? When we get on line for our devotions, Bible studies or services, we’re looking for the right food, prepared and ready for pick-up. Maybe it doesn’t look as appetizing as we would like, it isn’t as “perfect” or as tasty as we might like, but if it is spiritually nourishing and satisfying, we can hopefully overlook the rest.
So here we are.
I’ll be tending the drive-up window today.
Good morning, ma-am. Your order please?
I’ll have a Word sandwich with 2 full slices of the whole-grain Bread of life. Put in a generous portion of the solid meat of the Word.
Very good, I have it.
How about a side salad of bitter herbs.
I have it. Your choice of dressing?
I’ll take honey of encouragement. It complements the bitter herbs so well.
Anything to drink?
Yes, I’d like a fountain drink of the sparkling water of life.
Large, medium, small?
Extra large, please. And put in a fruit tart of manna from heaven. With a red cherry of love at the center.
There is no cost for the food, it is all “without money or price.” Drive forward to the next window, and it will be ready for you to pick-up.
The Word of God is all about food service. Spiritual food service.
Pick up. Take out. Eat. Grow.
God knows our needs. He knows we need natural food to sustain life, and He provides it. Physical life must have physical food. In the same way, spiritual life must have spiritual food.
Immediately we are drawn to Jesus’ statement to the tempter in the wilderness.
Matthew 4:4 4He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
Physical bread to live now, and “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” to get that LIFE that is truly LIFE, eternal LIFE.
Do we realize where Jesus was quoting this from? It comes from Moses’ comments about WHY God sent the manna. God was teaching the people to recognize Him as the source of their food, literal and spiritual. Moses said, speaking of God,
Deuteronomy 8:3 3So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.
Without God’s provisions we would soon die. The Psalmist bundles it all together as God’s “goodness,” and “wonderful works,” and pleads for us to praise God for all of it.
Psalm 107:8–9 8Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! 9For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
To appreciate it, our first need is to be that “longing soul.” There must be an appetite on our side. Proverbs give us the reason:
Proverbs 27:7 7The full soul loathes a honeycomb; But to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
If we aren’t hungry, the food isn’t going to taste that good—it might even be repulsive to us. We won’t be interested in eating it. That is why the voice of wisdom appeals to those who are hungry:
Proverbs 9:5–6 5“Come, eat of my bread And drink of the wine I have mixed. 6Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding.
To take in the bread of wisdom we must let go the foolishness—God’s term for the wisdom and lore and love of this world—and instead choose the way of understanding. What is “understanding”?
Job 28:28 28And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’ ”
It was prophesied of Jesus that He would “delight” to do God’s will.
Now back to the basics of picking up spiritual food, that meat sandwich made with the whole-grain bread of life.
When we sit down to read something spiritually invigorating;
or when we pray and thank God for our daily bread;
or when we come to our on-line meeting,
do we come with an appetite, eager to pick up a lesson for the day, some nugget to satisfy our inner hunger for life, some soul-food that will help us make this day an offering to God?
Do we come seeking a choice morsel that will help us get stronger to fight some fleshly weakness? Or are we only satisfying our conscience that it is the “right” thing to do even if we don’t get much out of it? How much is our desire saturated with our longing for LIFE?
In short, is our on-line or our off-line dedicated spiritual time an interruption in getting on with the day, or is it something we really WANT because we are really HUNGRY for things spiritual?
Spiritual appetite is something we have to develop by eating the “bread of life” and drinking the “water of life.” The more we eat and drink of it, the more we will LOVE it and the more we will HUNGER for it. What did Jesus say about our love for God?
Mark 12:30 30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
Love. Doesn’t that include our appetite, all our hungers and longings? Think about it: If our love for God takes in ALL our heart,… soul,… mind,… strength, what part of our life is missed? Nothing!
What makes us hungry for spiritual things? There is only one answer:
because we WANT the eternal LIFE God is offering, and for this reason we WANT to be reminded of what we must DO to get that eternal LIFE.
Jesus included an excellent “hunger” statement in His beatitudes. We won’t have enough desire to get the eternal blessings without this hunger.
Matthew 5:6 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
If we want the blessing Christ is coming to give, we must hunger for—long for—the righteousness that will allow Christ to accept us. We hunger for the righteousness, the upright life that God requires of us, and then we get the satisfaction and—best of all—the eternal blessing.
Jesus had this inner appetite. It was said of Him, as spoken prophetically,
Psalm 40:8 8I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.”
DELIGHT – isn’t that appetite? Strong desire? Committed love?
It is the thought we have had in prayer so many times:
Help us to LOVE to do the things You have commanded us to do.
The Psalmist said of the one God loves,
Psalm 1:2 2…his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 119:77 77Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight.
Psalm 119:174 174I long for Your salvation, O Lord, And Your law is my delight.
If we don’t have this love for spiritual things, we will be out of place in the Kingdom! That is why Paul said,
Romans 8:6–8 6For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8So then, those who are in the flesh [fleshly minded] cannot please God.
If we want Christ to accept us, we must have the character He will accept, the likeness to His family.
People may say, in a vague way, that they hope to live on forever; but they do not consider what they say. As someone has said, our hearts must be in tune. We must become heavenly-minded, feed those heavenly tastes, in the life that is now, or else we shall never find ourselves accepted in the life to come.
Then that “meat of the Word” sandwich made with the Bread of life and an extra large fountain of the water of life will be delicious—and satisfying!