Not by bread alone


The Verse of the Day for July 12, 2019 comes from 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.’”

Matthew 4:4 NIV

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 “not by bread alone” brings to mind an experience that occurred in 2010 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. Today, I am meeting with an oncologist to learn more about hormone therapy as a treatment modality for prostate cancer with an increasing PSA score.

As I am preparing for my doctor’s appointment, I am smiling as I recall the familiar biblical reference: “. . . not by bread alone.” The Verse of the Day inspired a blog post that I am revising and re-posting as the entry for today.

The context of the reference 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.”

Here is a revision of this original psalm inspired by the phrase found in the Old Testament as well as the Gospels:

Not 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 new phase as we start hormone therapy,
I am still watching and waiting, looking above,
Ever striving to please the Master, serving in love,
Knowing God’s promise to heal and deliver me.
In yet another instance, I learn what faith reveals:
It is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord, my God, who heals.

We close with this musical reminder of the power of the Word of God revealed in “Ancient Words” with its reference that “Man shall not live by bread alone.”

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