Hunger for books or "the" Book?

by Frank Jones


And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses is "re-giving" the commandments and precepts of the law to the nation of Israel. Moses exhorts the children of Israel to remember the ways of the Lord. The Lord tried and humbled Israel in order to show them their hearts; for them to know whether they would keep His Word.

One of the more interesting aspects of the trials of that nation is the fact that the Lord permitted them to hunger and thirst. We hear today that the Lord would never suffer His people to go without the necessities of life, yet both Scripture and history show otherwise. However, any lack of necessities is not without purpose. Why would the Lord Jesus Christ permit us to hunger? He desires us to understand that our life does not consist of physical sustenance alone. Man is to live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord. It is by His Word that man lives. His Word is our meat and drink (John 6:48, 54, 63).

Brethren, have we feasted on the Words of Christ this day? Have we nourished our souls by beholding the Saviour in the pages of our Bibles? Were the Words of God enlightening and nourishing? Can we honestly report that His Word was pleasant to our souls throughout the day? Are our minds consumed with the thoughts of our Great Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ?

A danger for those who do love the Bible and the ways of the Lord is to spend more time in good, godly books than the Book. When we do so on a repeated basis we have a tendency to fit the experiences what we read into the pages of our Bible rather than seeking a proper contextual understanding of the Bible. Andrew Bonar recognized this temptation on April 3, 1853.

During last week, especially while at Greenock Communion on the Sabbath, I saw that I fall into a great snare often by my fondness for books, Satan and my heart agreeing in thus leading me off from prayer and from the Word itself also. (Andrew Bonar, Life and Diary, 155)

Brethren, let us hunger for the Book. May we continually seek to humbly evaluate all things by His Words, not by reading our experiences (or those in the past) and feelings into His Words. May His Words be our meat, drink, and daily sustenance.