Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bread of Life: Part I - The Hunger Inside of Us

This photo is property of the James 1:22 Project
About a year ago, I asked God in my spirit to reveal to me the depth of Jesus' declaration of Him being the "Bread of Life."  (John 6:48)  I've spent a lot of time in Bible study, meditation, and prayer for wisdom on this very deep and rich subject for the past year and I've been overwhelmed by what the Holy Spirit has taught me.  In fact, I think that I'm going to have to explain what I've been taught in separate posts because the subject matter is so dense that I wouldn't want to abbreviate or limit this teaching in any way since it is a true gift from the Lord.

God created people with appetites and desires designed to motivate us to behave according to His will.  For instance, our desire for sex is born from God's command to multiply and fill the earth.  (Genesis 1:27-28)  Likewise, God created our natural bodies to be fueled by food and, therefore, we have a natural hunger for what is able to nourish and sustain us.  Hunger motivates us to seek items to consume that will satiate the appetite inside.  We innately know how to distinguish what is food and what isn't so that we can continue to be nourished and survive.  There is no shame in any of these God-given desires and appetites so long as they are satiated in a God honoring manner.

The most important hunger that God gave man at creation was the desire to know Him, love Him, and reverence Him.  This is also known as having the "Fear of God."  However, once sin entered the world through man's disobedience to God, our appetites and desires became skewed as perversion set in.

In the simplest of terms, sin is separation from God.  God is Holy and cannot look upon sin.  (Habakkuk 1:13)  Our sin broke the perfect fellowship that we once had with God.  The hunger that God gave man to desire Him, love Him, and reverence Him still exists but without His fellowship, we are lost.  As a result of that broken fellowship with God, our appetites and desires for temporal things became our gods.  The hunger to know God is still there but we wrongfully keep trying to satiate the God-sized hole in our soul with temporal things and, as a result, are caught in an ever accelerating downward spiral of sin.  The gap between us and God widens with each failed attempt to find the way to fill the vacuum of our lost fellowship with our Creator God.  It is all  folly, of course, to think that anything other than God Himself can fully satisfy that hunger.

It isn't for a lack of knowledge that we fail.  After God delivered the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, He began to teach His chosen people His statutes and God Himself declared the greatest of all of the commandments to be:
Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
But God didn't stop with a decree.  No.  He then went on to tell His children that this command was so important that it needed to be hidden in their hearts and meditated upon day and night.  (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)  So critical was this command that the Lord decreed that they ought to literally write it down and bind the words of this command to their hands and to their foreheads as well.  (Deuteronomy 6:8)  He even commanded His children to go so far as to post the command upon the door posts of every house and even on their gates.  (Deuteronomy 6:9)  All of these commands were designed to keep the Word of the Lord ever before them as a reminder that the object to satisfy the hungry emptiness in their soul can be found in God alone.  But as the proverb says:
Proverbs 1:7 KJV
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Therein lies the problem with sinful man; knowledge of God's greatest commandment cannot not bring about reconciliation with God nor does it bring eternal life.  Instead, knowledge of God's greatest commandment ought to make us acutely aware of our sinful condition and desperate for reconciliation with Him.  It ought to humble us to know we are sinners and without hope (unless God intervenes) because we are all guilty of breaking this commandment.  We were born into sin and cannot avoid breaking it.  (Psalm 51:5)  It ought to make us ready to receive a Savior from above.  It ought to take us to a place of humility before a Holy God and, therefore, our condition should mirror those people that Jesus describes in the beatitudes.

The Word of the Lord is light.  (Psalm 119:105)  But people who live in the darkness of their sin and don't retain the knowledge of God their Creator cannot see the light because His Word hasn't touched the void of emptiness in their soul.  How great is that darkness!  However, God had a solution in mind from the very beginning of time.  Because of our weakness and failure to look up for Him, God took on the form of humanity and came to us.  (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23)  The Word of God came to us and lived among us. (Isaiah 9:2):
John 1:1-18 KJV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  (2)  The same was in the beginning with God.  (3)  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  (4)  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  (5)  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.  (6)  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  (7)  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.  (8)  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  (9)  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.  (10)  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  (11)  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  (12)  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  (13)  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  (14)  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.  (15)  John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.  (16)  And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.  (17)  For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.  (18)  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Jesus came as the light in the flesh just as God had promised he would in the prophets.  (Isaiah 42:6-7)  He came to seek and save that which was lost.  (Luke 19:10)  Jesus proved He was the Messiah through the working of many miracles throughout His ministry on Earth.  One of the miracles, the one known as "the feeding of the 5000," is documented in all four of the Gospel accounts in the Bible.  (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:5-15)  This miracle was so powerful that the truth of it caused men to consider making Jesus an earthly king right there on the spot.  (John 6:14-15)  What these men failed to see in themselves as a result of being in the presence of Jesus Christ is exactly the same thing that their ancestors failed to see in themselves as a result of having the knowledge of God's greatest commandment and that was their spiritual poverty apart from God.

God is light and His light is meant to expose the darkness within ourselves.  It should humble us and cause us to reach out to Him for mercy.  The witnesses to this miracle did not grasp their true need which is found in God through Jesus Christ.

The day after the miracle, the multitude went seeking for Jesus but did not find Him because He had departed from that place.  When they finally caught up to Jesus on the other side of the Sea of Galilee, they failed to approach Jesus in humility and awe as they ought to have done and, instead, sought to receive more material things from Him.  Jesus rebuked them saying:
John 6:26-27 KJV
...Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.  (27)  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
The rebuke Jesus gives these men is meant to get their eyes off of temporal things (and ways) and to get rightly focused back on God and His Holiness.  Jesus laments that they are wasting their time chasing after bread which cannot sustain everlasting life.  He tells them that they should instead work for that bread which Jesus shall freely give to them.  The gift of life is Jesus (His name means "The Lord Saves") and He is the only thing that can satiate the hunger for God within all of us.

Are you hungering inside to know your Creator God?  Can you feel the sorrow inside of something missing deep within your soul?  He is calling you right now, this very minute.  Call out to Him for mercy and He will give you rest.  Please visit my page "The Great Exchange" to learn more about salvation through Jesus Christ.  God bless you.

No comments:

Post a Comment