Tag Archives: the bread of life

Eat My Flesh

The written word of God is here to test us, just like the manna from Heaven tested Israel to see if they would walk in obedience. God sees how much we love and respect His written word and how important His thoughts and desires are to us. Our relationship and perspective on the written word reveal how much we love and believe in Him. They are the same. Our love for God will never rise above our love for the Bible and all its precious content. It is the only book that is alive!

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JC

The Manna Principle

          One of the most fundamental truths taught in the Bible can be found in the way God provided manna for Israel during their forty-year journey through the wilderness.

Exodus 16:4-5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”

          The Purpose of the manna was not just to provide food for God’s people, but primarily to test them in their faith and obedience.

          For forty years God fed Israel supernaturally in the wilderness by daily raining down a fine bread-like substance from Heaven. It fell to the Earth every night for six days during the week. It fell in the form of tiny white specs and tasted like wafers with honey.

          The Israelites were commanded to collect about a half gallon of manna per person, per day. On the sixth day, they were to collect a double portion because no manna fell on the sabbath day. Any leftover manna would stink and breed worms, so they could not live off the manna from yesterday. It must be gathered daily according to God’s specific instructions and a double portion for the sabbath.

          What is this strange story telling us about our Christian life today? Every story, every interaction, and every encounter with God we see in the Old Testament is for our instruction in the New. Everything from Genesis to Revelation points to Christ and Christian living.

Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 

          The word “manna,” means; “What is it?” That is what the Israelites said when they first saw it laying on the ground. Manna is a type of the Word of God.

Israel didn’t understand the purpose of manna much like the modern Church does not understand the purpose and significance of the Word of God. Israel did not just disobey God’s instructions concerning the manna, they complained about it continually. They did not appreciate the fact that God was demonstrating His love, care, and commitment to them daily through this breadlike substance that fell from Heaven.

Had Israel obeyed God concerning His instructions about the manna they would not have wandered in the wilderness for forty years and died there without ever reaching the promised land.

Christians behold God’s written word today and say the same thing in their hearts, “what is it? I don’t understand it. It’s boring. I have heard that before. Give me something else to eat. I’m tired of eating the same old manna every day.” Not understanding that this is the very thing that gives spiritual life and health to the believer.

Despising the written Word hinders us from hearing the spoken Word when the Holy Spirit speaks to us in the “still small voice.” It also hinders us from having an intimate relationship with Christ, the living Word.

Not properly appreciating the written Word leads us to seek the leavened bread of entertaining teachers and preachers that make us feel good instead of transforming us unto His image. It causes us to have itchy ears and perpetuates a self-deception that disqualifies us from the blessings of the kingdom of God.

Some would say, “I don’t despise God’s word!” Thinking that despising means to hate. Yet despising in biblical terms means to lightly esteem, to treat contemptible, or to not honor properly. God takes this personally.

When we do not properly honor the Lord’s Word, we are treating Him with contempt. We are despising the Lord. It is a heinous act of unbelief and brings serious consequences.

If we desire our old lifestyle as the Israelites did, or we just mingle bits of the old lifestyle into our Christian walk to make it more comfortable and less challenging, we are in the same boat as they were. We must lay down our old life to embrace the new life promised us in Christ Jesus.

John 12:24-26 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

God was not pleased with the generation of Israel that was delivered from Egypt. They continued to complain and desire to turn back to their old lives despite the supernatural demonstration of God’s love that they experienced daily. This brought about judgment so severe that God would not allow them to enter into the Promise Land. God was forced to let that unbelieving generation die first before He led His people into the promised land.

Despising the Word of God still hinders us from receiving His promises in our lives today. He will not reward unbelief. Those that honor Him will be honored, and those that despise Him will be lightly esteemed. It doesn’t mean we are not loved, and it doesn’t mean we won’t be provided for, it just means our heart is not right and we are filled with unbelief. It also means that we are at risk of disqualifying ourselves from the fullness of God’s blessing in our lives.

Just because we have a promise from God and can quote the scriptures and make good confessions does not mean we will receive any of the promises of God if our heart is not right before Him.

What does Israel’s story of manna tell us about the living Word of God we have in the New Testament?

Eat my Flesh – the New Testament manna

          One of the most controversial messages that Jesus preached was at the synagogue at Capernaum, recorded in John chapter 6. In His message, Jesus declared Himself to be “the bread of life which came down from Heaven.” He told those listening that unless they ate His flesh and drank His blood they had no life in them. This caused many of His disciples to stop following Him. He even asked His ministry team, (the chosen 12 disciples) if they wanted to leave as well.

John 6:48-58 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”

53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

          All those listening took Jesus’ words literally, but He was speaking by the Spirit and referring to spiritual things. So, what does it mean to “eat His flesh?”

          We must go back to the first chapter of John to understand exactly what Jesus is talking about. In the first few verses of the gospel of John, we see that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God. If we jump down to verse 14, we see that the Word became flesh.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Fatherfull of grace and truth.

          Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. The written Word is here to test us, try us, purify our hearts and renew our minds. The main purpose of God’s word is to test us, to see if we will eat His flesh and drink His blood so that we too can become the Word, made flesh.

A “word” is a written or verbal expression of an idea that creates images in the minds of those that hear it. We use words to communicate with each other and share our ideas, feelings, thoughts, and intentions. Jesus is called the living Word because He is the expression of God, His thoughts, His feelings, and His intentions. A perfect representation of the Father. It is only through eating the bread from heaven, The Word of life,  that the image of God is restored to mankind.

          We are blessed in this generation to have the written Word of God recorded and put into many easily accessible formats. The Greek word translated as “Word” in this text is “logos.” Logos is not merely the written word, as many of us have been taught, but it is the divine expression of God Himself, the communication of His nature and will. It is the absolute truth that supersedes all other things expressed by words and has the creative power to change the very nature of things exposed to it.

Everything in creation is subject to the truth of God’s Word and everything in creation must eventually align itself to that Word or bow to it. We have yet to grasp the reality of just how powerful, and significant the written word is.

          The Word (logos) was first spoken (Rhema) so it could be recorded. It was recorded so it could be continually heard and spoken, so it could be eaten and digested.

          If we abide in the Word, the Word will become flesh in our lives. As we read and listen to the Word of God it is ingested by the heart. Once it is ingested, it will then be digested by our understanding as we are renewed in the spirit of our mind.

The Word is still becoming Flesh

God’s Word still becomes flesh as we abide in it. It is important to understand this because it is referring to our divine purpose and the revealing of God’s divine mystery.

Notice that after the Word became flesh, we then beheld His glory. Glory, in this sense, means any made seen expression or made know attributes of God. It means that the Word becoming flesh results in God’s glory being seen and known to all.

Colossians 1:26-27 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

          Christ in us is the Father’s hope of making Himself seen and known to the world through His chosen people. We are the hope of His glory being revealed. This is one of the gospel’s great mysteries.

Christ in us, the hope of making God seen and known.

          Israel remained bound by a slave’s mentality. They were not able to embrace their identity as chosen sons, partly because they despised the manna. Instead of being thankful for daily provision, they complained about it, not realizing that God was meeting them every day, trying to penetrate their hardened hearts by revealing His goodness and faithfulness. They refused to believe and obey.

If we despise God’s written Word today, we will not have the knowledge, understanding, or strength to believe and obey Him either. It is only by abiding in the truth of His Word that we will be freed from the bondage of sin consciousness.

John 8:31-32Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

          The Christian life must be marked by abiding in the truth of the Word of God. Only then can we truly say we are His disciples. Only then will the glory of our freedom in Christ be revealed to the world.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

          Do we truly understand the power of the living Word? Where is God’s Word on our priority list? Are we abiding in the Word or just incorporating portions of it into our lives where we think we need it?

          What are the three most important things in your life right now? The spouse and kids? The career? Hobbies? Financial security? All these things are important, but if the Word of God is not above all of them on the priority list, you cannot love and steward those things to your highest potential.

          God has designed us in a way that requires dependence upon Him to reach our full potential and highest expression in this life. He has called us to partner with Him in this glorious journey. Our participation must be founded on what He has said and believe it to be true. The life of God that we experience on this journey is directly related to how much we abide in His Word.

John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

Jesus said when tempted by the devil, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

          The life of God comes from the Word of God. Not listening to preachers and teachers, those are for our equipping. Not reading books from our favorite Christian authors, watching Christian TV, or listening to Christian radio. Those are all leavened bread and should be viewed as supplements to the spiritual food of God’s Word. We can survive off those things, but we cannot thrive. The life of God comes from the unleavened bread of His pure Word. It can be acquired no other way.

Just like a newborn baby will cry for the life-giving milk every few hours, we should hunger for God’s Holy Word.

 1 Peter 2:2-3  as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

          The Word of God should be the joy and rejoicing of our hearts. It is the bread from Heaven that gives life and strength to fight the spiritual warfare we are in. If we are not fully engaged with God’s Word we are incapable of fully engaging the enemy in spiritual warfare.

Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.

How to Know God’s Will

daly mna        

          The Old Testament is full of amazing stories that are types and shadows of our Christian life and the problems we encounter in that life. Understanding the significance of these events and what they point to in our lives today will give us the tools we need to navigate our life of faith in Christ.

          Let me throw a few thoughts out there that will help you understand some of the basics of interpreting the Bible.

  1. Many of the writings of the New Testament assume a pre-existing knowledge of the Old Testament.
  2. The Old Testament was written to spiritually dead people who had no revelation of the devil. Therefore, anything that happened, good, or bad, they thought God did it.
  3. The Old Testament Law was never meant to be kept. It was given to man to be broken so that man could see the futility of His own righteousness and expose his need for a Savior. This is why no man, except Jesus, was ever able to keep the Law. It is referred to in the New testament as “the Law of Sin and Death” (Romans 8:2) 

          Understanding these three facts will help you better understand the writings of the New Testament and give some protection from wrong theology.

          For this teaching we will focus on Israel’s deliverance from the bondage of Egypt and their journey to the Promised Land. This entire story is a type of our deliverance from the bondage of slavery to sin, and the Christian life of pursuing the New Testament promises of the Kingdom of God and our eternal reward. We are going to focus on one small part of their story which, I believe was a huge contributing factor as to why they didn’t enter the promised land. It is the story of the manna that fell from heaven.

          The children of Israel walking around in the desert for 40 years is a type of the modern day Church. It is a picture of us walking around in this broken, corrupt, and fallen world.

          While in the wilderness, God rained down manna from heaven to sustain them every day, for FOURTY years. They were required to go out daily and gather this manna that fell in the form of little pieces the size of coriander seeds. Through all the drama, through all the amazing events that happened on their journey, this was the one constant that they had to do to survive. How they dealt with this supernatural provision gives us a clue into our own spiritual lives and the importance of daily spiritual food to sustain us in our Christian walk.

Exodus 16:35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

          God gave Israel specific instructions on how to handle this manna. This was a way for God to test His peoples faith. You could only gather as much as you could eat in one day. Any more and it would rot and produce worms. It was useless.

Exodus 16:4  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.

          God provided food to sustain their physical needs and to test them. This is a type of what He has designed for us spiritually. For us to live a successful Christian life, we need daily exposure to, and intake of The Word! Jesus Christ is the Word of Life, The Bread of Life!

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

          We need this spiritual sustenance to develop and fulfill what God has purposed for us. We need it to grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ. If we do not pursue relationship with Him daily through His word, fellowship through prayer, worship, etc. we become spiritually starved and try to satisfy our starving spirits with the inferior substitutes that this fallen world has to offer. Without this daily manna, we become dry clumps of clay, difficult for the potter to mold and shape into His likeness. We hinder the work of grace and quench the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.

We don’t forget to give our bodies three square meals a day, so why are we feeding our spirits only one or two small snacks a week? Our spiritual health depends on a daily  diet of spiritual sustenance.

          It takes natural food to fuel your physical body. If you maintain a diet of healthy food in the right proportions, you will be physically strong, and able to move around, working and accomplishing what is needed in the life. If you only eat once or twice a week, or only eat junk food with not much nutritional value, you will begin to decline physically, become weak and be susceptible to sickness and disease.

          It also takes spiritual food to fuel your spiritual body. You need DAILY spiritual manna to insure you are strong spiritually. If neglect to feed your spirit you will become weak and susceptible to deception, confused about what God’s will is for you. discouraged and a prime target for the enemies attacks. Another mistake is to always read books about the Bible or listen to sermons about the Bible instead of reading the Bible for yourself. This can be like eating fast food in the natural. it is not healthy to live on that alone. Understand that these are just supplements to the real thing and they lack the pure spiritual nutrients to make you develop properly. You need to allow the Holy Spirit to teach you personally. There is NOTHING that can take the place of you own personal revelation of God’s word.

          If you are struggling to find God’s will, the best place to start is to fill your spirit with His written will, the Bible. I remember a certain minister telling me a story about asking God to speak to Him. He saw other Christians having these great experiences of God speaking to them personally and giving them direction concerning His will for their life. He was seeking God’s will about some big life decisions and just couldn’t get clear on what God’s will was. So set apart some time to pray about by himself. He said he fell across his bed and wailed and cried for about 45  minutes for God to speak to him about these things he was confused about. He finally ran out of steam and became quiet and the Lord DID speak to him! The lord said, “You don’t know what I have already said to you. I have said many things to you already in MY WORD. Find out what I have already said and if I need to say something else, I will.”

          That should be a revelation to a lot of folks. Open the Bible and find out What God has already said to you. God has a lot to say and he has written it down for us so we can read it and re-read it at our convenience. There is no excuse for us being ignorant of His will for us.

          Many places in the Bible we are shown the importance of daily keeping His Word before us. Here are just a few.

Joshua 1:8  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

2 Timothy3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Proverbs 4:20-23 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. 23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

John 15:7  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 

          We must understand that the Bible is God talking to us. We can’t take that for granted! If we really believe in God, the creator of the universe, the one who actually made us, and He has some things to say, shouldn’t we put forth the effort to find out what He said?

          His words are Spirit and they are Life. They are needed daily for our spiritual health and development. The Lord feeding the children of Israel with manna is a type of what we should be walking in today. We must put forth DAILY effort to ensure our spiritual health and growth. 

          I have encountered many people over the years asking the same question, “why doesn’t God speak to me?” The answer is obvious to those who are a student of the Bible. God has already said many things in His word. Find out what He has already said and He will surely begin to speak to you further. God wants relationship with you. He is serious about it. When you begin to take it serious a whole new world of light and revelation begins.

           God’s word is His will. If you are not sure what the will of God is for your life, you will find it by a daily pursuit of Him through reading and studying the Bible, worshipping from your heart when no one is looking, and giving yourself to having a hearing and receptive heart. This is what being a true disciple looks like. God’s word prepares your heart to receive His life and nature. It gives you direction and illuminates His will and plan for your life.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feetAnd a light to my path.

          God’s word is a treasure of riches just waiting to be discovered. I love how Job says it:

Job 23:12  I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

          Look at the language, “… treasured the words of His mouth…”  Every day should be a new treasure hunt. The value that you place on God’s Word is evident by the time you are willing to spend on it. The value that you place on your relationship with Him is evident by how much you invest yourself in the relationship. The greatest investments you can make in this life are the attention that you give to His Word and your relationship with Him.

          When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, a part of that prayer was “give us this day our daily bread.” Have you asked for your bread today? Have you found your treasure today? …Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find. (Matthew7:7-8)

          A great way to read the Bible, get daily devotionals, and study the word of God is BibleGateway.com  This online resource makes it convenient and fun to explore God’s word in any translation you prefer. All Bible links to this site are from BibleGateway and I use it on virtually every blog post on this site. There is a wealth of study tools dictionaries, and commentary that will feed you spiritually and encourage you in your walk with God. BibleGateway also has a convenient phone app and a Scripture Engagement section that is a fun, interactive approach to learning the Bible.

JC