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Deuteronomy 8:3: Man Does NOT Live By Bread Alone

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Deuteronomy 8:3 is the first time we see this Scripture in the Old Testament that talks about the importance of the living Word of God.

In the New Testament in the book of Matthew 4:4, Jesus uses this same Scripture to fight satan when Jesus was praying in the wilderness.

Let us take a look at this entire Bible verse, that Moses uses when talking to the Israelites about God.

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. Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV)

When you read the Book of Deuteronomy from start to finish, you will understand the nature of God in more depth and how He rewards obedience.

But before we get into the details of this scripture, let us do a quick summary leading up to this verse.

The Old Testament starts with the book of Genesis, which talks about the beginning of creation including Adam and Eve.

Next, we see read about the lives of Abraham, Isaac (Abraham’s son) and Jacob (Isaac’s son).

Then we see the story of Joseph unfold in detail. Jacob’s youngest son Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers who were jealous of him, and so Joseph was sent to Egypt. After a turn of events that was in Josephs favour, he was reunited with his family and they settled in Egypt and were prosperous and multiplied (Exodus 1:7).

Unfortunately many years later, after the death of Joseph, a new King arose and he made the Israelites his slaves in Egypt.

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. Exodus 1:8 (ESV)

After this we see the story of Moses begin, and how God used Moses to bring the people of Israel out of slavery and out of the land of Egypt and into the Promised Land.

Although this journey in the wilderness to the promised land took 40 years, the hand of God protected the people of Israel throughout this journey.

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people. Exodus 13:22 (ESV)

This verse in itself is so powerful because it shows us that God’s presence is always with us, blessing us through our obedience.

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. Deuteronomy 28:1

40 years and 40 days

I my opinion, everything in the Old Testament is a prophesy of Jesus.

It can be noted that the people of Israel were in the wilderness for 40 years and God fed them with manna from heaven and they did not lack anything (Deuteronomy 29:5).

The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything. Deuteronomy 2:7

And it is after these 40 years in the wilderness, where Moses makes the statement –  Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:3

Similarly its is after 40 days in the wilderness that Jesus uses this same Scripture against satan.

It is so beautiful to see how well the scriptures connect to the Word of God!

Man Does Not Live By Bread Alone

Man does not live by bread alone

Before I get into the details of this verse, I believe it is up to every believer to read the Word of God and be led by the Spirit to understand what it means.

For me this verse related very much to what I was going through before I started my walk with Christ.

There was a point in time where I was proud of my successes, and seemed like I had everything under control, but a certain change in circumstance led me straight to the Bible (I have never read the Bible before), and I have never looked back since.

When we start to understand the truth in the Bible, we start living like Jesus and realise we are nothing without Him.

Just as how children feel comforted that they can depend on parents for all they needs, God is our Heavenly Father, who supplies all our needs.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

It is very important to remember that we are nothing without God.

And when we come to a point where we believe that all the success and growth we see in our life is through our own effort and fail to recognise God’s hand, we fall into the category of pride.

When pride sets in, we drift away from the Lord and as we never have the need to pray or get close to Him.

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. Deuteronomy 8:17-18

Always recognising that Our Almighty God is higher than us, and recognising that it is His grace that gives us good gifts, will change the way we see life.

Now, let me break down Deuteronomy 8:3 to explain how I understand this verse;

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna – For some of us, hunger may not actually be starvation from food, it could be deprivation of finances, sickness or something unexpected. This leads to us being hungry for help, solution, knowledge or wisdom. There are times in life where things go out of control and beyond our capacity to solve. This is when God steps in and feeds us with Manna – the Word of God.

Which you did not know, nor did your fathers know – This could be an unbeliever or someone who walked away from Christ or has never known Jesus, nor did anyone of their ancestors believe in Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

That he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone – That God might make you know that man does not live by bread alone. Bread in my opinion is a symbol of material things, worldly possessions and success. So that we do not fully rely on our own strength, wealth and things of the world, to lead us through life, but instead rely in the Almighty God. In fact, in John 6:35, Jesus declares He is the bread of life and whoever comes to Him will never go hungry.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

But man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord – This alone is such a powerful truth, that man lives by the Word of God. It is from reading, believing and meditating on the Bible, that we not only draw closer to God, but we start seeing our lives and things around us with a different lens.

Free PDF of the Gospels Bible Study Pack for Beginners

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