By bread alone: poetic inspiration

Luke-4-4

The Verse of the Day for July 12, 2014 is found in Matthew 4:4 in the New International Version:

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

The King James Version renders the verse in this way:

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

The verse is also rendered in a similar way in Luke 4:4

And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

The phrase “by bread alone” brings to mind an experience that occurred five years ago when I participated in a clinical trial involving men with prostate cancer and two types of special bread: Soy and Almond. This particular study involved men diagnosed with prostate cancer with a slightly rising PSA. I learned about the program from my urologist Dr. Stephen Clinton, but at the time of my interest my PSA score had gone down, and I was not eligible. At that time, however, a recent doctor’s visit indicated a slight increase in my PSA, and I met with Beth Grainger, nutritionist and OSU faculty member, who explained the program in more detailed, and I decided to enroll.

As I was returning from my first visit with Beth, I smiled as a particular phrase came to mind: “. . . by bread alone.” This, of course, is part of Jesus Christ’s response to the first prong of the temptation in the wilderness, whereby the Devil attempts to get the Savior to turn stones into bread. With each temptation Jesus responds with “It is written,” as Christ counters with Scripture, in this first instance, from a passage from the Pentateuch, specifically from Deuteronomy 8:2-3:

 2And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether would keep his commandments, or no.

3And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you did not know, neither did thy 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.

Here God reminds Israel of their 40-year sojourn in the wilderness where He proved them and taught them a valuable lesson, the essence of which Jesus repeats after having been in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights without food when he responds, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

Later I composed this poem inspired by the phrase “by bread alone” which is found in the Old Testament as well as the Gospels:

By Bread Alone

And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger,     

and fed you with manna, which you did 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.

Deuteronomy 8:3

 

But he answered and 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

 

We find that the Word of the Lord so plainly reveals

This profound truth: that “man shall not live by bread alone.”

When tempted Jesus responded, and thus he made known

How we can triumph in life’s most arduous ordeal,

As we come to know that God alone is good.

Each day we are sustained not only with daily bread

But by every word that proceeds from God’s mouth instead,

For we esteem His Word more than necessary food.

During this time of the soy-almond bread clinical trial,

I am still watching and waiting, looking above,

Ever striving to please the Master, serving in love,

Knowing that all my efforts will someday be worthwhile.

In yet another instance, I learn what faith reveals:

It is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord, my God, who heals.

 

The Bill Gaither Trio offer “Man Can’t Live by Bread Alone”

The closing couplet of the poem “By Bread Alone” brings to mind a song that has come to mean so much to me in the years following my diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2000: “I am the Lord that Healeth Thee.”

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One Response to “By bread alone: poetic inspiration”

  1. By bread alone | Dr. J's Apothecary Shoppe Says:

    […] special bread: Soy and Almond. In the blog entry posted a year ago, I talked about this experience. Click here to read about the Verse of the Day and its application in my life at that time. Matthew 4:4 […]

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