"God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands, we are fed. Thank You Lord for our daily bread."
This little prayer (or a variation of it) has been recited by a countless number of children for many years. It was, in fact, a prayer my brothers, sisters and I recited many times before meals in our home when we were young.
Today, daily bread is something for which we take little concern. Although there are many around the world who are acutely aware of how truly precious this blessing is. For many of us, generally, we try avoiding bread (carbohydrates) in our daily diet where we place so much concern. We can hardly even imagine the thought of having only a piece of bread as the fullness of our day’s food. Yet, in ancient times, as well as in some regions of the world today, that is all some would hope to have.
Having fasted for 40 days, Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13), He boldly proclaimed that “Man shall not live by bread alone,” quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3. Yet, in teaching His disciples how to pray, He said, “Give us this day our daily bread,” (Matt. 6:11). He was not contradicting Himself nor was he trying to be confusing.
We need “bread” in order to nourish our bodies and live healthily in this life. The food we eat is a blessing from God. However, the food that perishes (as it often does in my cabinets and refrigerator) is not all we need for life. Jesus instructs us that we don’t live by “bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” He reminds us of the need for spiritual nourishment above physical.
Hunger is a strong desire. Physical hunger prompts one to seek out a means for satisfaction resulting in health for the body. Of more importance, however, satisfying our spiritual hunger results in a greater benefit: spiritual growth and health. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied,” (Matt. 5:6).
It is imperative that we come to understand the importance of the difference between physical bread and spiritual bread. Amazingly, our blessed God provides both...in abundance for each of us. How much do we hunger for the spiritual bread of the Word of God?
The day after Jesus fed the 5,000, as the crowds continued following Him, Jesus rebuked them because they were seeking Him, “not because you saw the signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him, God the Father has set His seal,” (John 6:26-27).
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst,” (John 6:35).