Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone
By He Miao
The Bible says: “And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live” (Deuteronomy 8:3). And when the was tempted by Satan, He said: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Previously when I read these words, although I acknowledged them to be true with my mouth, I didn’t fully believe in my heart. I thought, “‘Food is heaven for the people’ and ‘Grain is the root of existence.’ Only food is the foundation for man’s existence; without the supply of food, man cannot live. If man does not work hard to earn money to buy food, he cannot survive.” So, while I believed in God and followed Him, I still held that only if my clothing and food were ensured could I without worry and perform my duty with peace of mind. I did not believe that if man has truth, he has everything; and if man gains God, he has gained the foundation for existence. Especially when I heard that the disasters would become more and more severe, I was anxious to prepare more money and food so that I would be able to survive the disasters. Thus I had a foot in two camps, holding on to money and the truth at the same time. As a result, I suffered great loss in my life in the previous years of believing in God.
That was until one day when I read God’s words which say: “But the Lord Jesus said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,’ which means that, although man lives in a physical body, what gives him life, what allows his physical body to live and breathe, is not food, but all the words uttered by the mouth of God. On the one hand, man regards these words as truth. The words give him faith, make him feel that he can depend on God, that God is truth. On the other hand, is there a practical aspect to these words? (There is.) Why? Because the Lord Jesus has fasted for 40 days and nights and He is still standing there, still alive. Is this an illustration? The point here is that He has not eaten anything, any food for 40 days and nights. He is still alive. This is the powerful evidence behind His phrase. … This truth, this phrase—whether its content is long or short—it can let man live, give him life; it can enable man to find, within itself, truth, clarity about life’s journey, and enable him to have faith in God.” After reading this, I remembered that after the Israelites got out of Egypt, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. They neither sowed nor reaped, and didn’t prepare for themselves anything to eat, yet because they truly believed in Jehovah and relied on Him, God provided them with manna every day, so that they survived. The prophet Elijah, in order to escape the pursuit of Ahab, hid himself in the valley, where there was nothing to eat. But because of his belief in the words of God and real faith in Him, God sent ravens to bring him bread and flesh. Later, he came to a widow woman, who believed the words of God told by Elijah and made a cake for Elijah with a handful of flour and a little oil in her house. At last her barrel and cruse were always full, which had sustained Elijah, her son and herself for more than three years. From these we can see that, if we have real faith and trust in God’s words and obey His words, God will care for and protect us, and bestow upon us all the necessities for our existence, including the food that sustains our lives in the flesh. Therefore, although man’s life in the flesh needs food, it is God’s words that are the provision for man’s life and its continuation, and only God’s words are the guarantee that ensures man’s survival.
Therefore, if man doesn’t have real faith in God, receives no provision of God’s words, and is not equipped with the truth, even if he stuffs his stomach to the brim, he is still little more than a corpse. Money and food cannot keep man from the disaster. Without being equipped with the truth, man cannot stand fast when he is tried. Looking back, our forefathers, Adam and Eve, didn’t obey the words of God and ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which God commanded them not to eat, and as a result, death came upon them. Job practiced the way of fearing God and shunning evil according to God’s words all his life, so he ultimately stood witness in the midst of temptation and overcame Satan. Though he was stripped of all by Satan, he stood witness before Satan and didn’t lose real faith in God. Thus God’s blessings came upon him, and he got twice as much as he had before, and God called him a perfect man. For another example, Peter toiled all the night and took nothing, but after he obeyed and believed the Lord Jesus’ words, he enclosed a great multitude of fishes. All the facts prove that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. When all the words that proceed out of the mouth of God have become man’s life and living out, man has obtained the truth, as God’s words are the truth, the way, and the life, and the basis for man’s existence. God says: “God Himself is life, and the truth, and His life and truth coexist. Those who are incapable of gaining the truth shall never gain life.”
Now I have a deep realization of the word of God: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Sometimes when I haven’t read God’s words for several days, though I eat and dress well, my whole body is weak and limp and my spirit feels dark, painful, and distressed. When I distance myself from God and disobey His requirements, though the food is not lacking, I am reproached and accused inside, feel restless, or do not even want to live. On the contrary, when I pay attention to reading and practicing God’s words every day, the work of the Holy Spirit accompanies me. No matter what things I meet with, I have a way to go, and I am full of energy when performing my duty. Even when I encounter unfavorable people or matters, I can quiet my heart before God and seek His will, and am willing to forsake the flesh and satisfy God. Thus I feel enriched and enlightened and enjoyable in my heart all the day. However, when I don’t have God’s words in my heart, I want to flinch once encountering any difficulties, and am filled with negativity, resistance, and complaints, and my previous faith and love disappear completely; I am living under the influence of Satan. I really feel that without God’s words, man will lack strength and lose faith even though he is alive. I have truly experienced God’s words: “God uses the word to govern man; you feel good if you eat and drink of the word of God, and if you do not, you will have no way to follow. The word of God becomes the food of man and the force that drives him. The Bible said that ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ This is the work that God will accomplish this day. He will realize this truth in you. How is it that man in the past could go many days without reading the word of God but continue to eat and work? And why is this not the case now? … Only the word of God can supply the life of man, and only the word of God can give man light and the way of practice, particularly in the Age of Kingdom.” I have seen that man’s life is indeed not maintained by food, but supported by God’s words. God is the source of man’s life, and He will bestow upon us everything we need if we obey Him and worship Him. If man only sees the value of food but cannot see the authority and life power of God’s words, he will not receive God’s care, protection, and comfort. And he will be dry and dark in his spirit, and have a hard time taking even a single step forward, and live a life without support and without hope. I have finally had some real experience and knowledge of the word “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”