Everyone seems to be on a diet these days. We all know someone counting carbs or calories. Some have jumped on the anti-inflammation or organic bandwagons. Many of us have either a love affair or a love/hate relationship with food. In America, we are just fixated on food. But God did not intend for food to become an idol for us — something that we think about constantly, something that drives our behavior, something that we spend so much of our time and treasure on, the thing that brings us comfort and joy. Aren’t these the kind of things we should be saying about God instead? Relationship with God is meant to be what we think about constantly, what drives our behavior, what we spend much of our time and treasure on, what brings us comfort and joy.
Many people admit to enjoying comfort foods – macaroni and cheese, any pasta!, ice cream, cakes, chips (making myself hungry here). After a rough day, you might treat yourself to a dessert. When families get together, we celebrate with our favorite dishes. The high schooler’s standardized test flop might call for mom’s home cooked meal and freshly made cookies.
As for me, one day I found myself in a terribly stressful state. I had visitors in my house — you know the ones — the ones that make you feel unwelcome in your own home. I say I “found myself” because that’s just what happened. The only place I could escape was the kitchen. And with open floor plans, the kitchen was not really an escape, so I had to literally go into the pantry to find some peace. As I took a moment to catch my breath and hide from hard things, I found myself chomping “fun size” candy bars! Now there is nothing “fun” about the size of those things. They are just too darn small! I ate till I lost count, trying to fill the void, stop the ache. It didn’t work. I did realize, eventually, that I had turned to the wrong thing for comfort.
Jesus says we must fill the emptiness with Him, “I am the Bread of Life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.” John 6:47-50
The Manna that came from heaven had a purpose. Moses explained this to the Israelites as they stood ready to enter the Promised Land. “He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Deut 8:3
Jesus echoed these words when He was tempted in the wilderness. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘˜Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Matt 4:3-4 Jesus is that Word.
The Israelites did struggle through the wilderness on their long journey to inherit the Promise. Paul explains: “In the desert, they hungered and they thirsted. For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:1-4).
In the desert, God provided Manna and water for Israel. Today, as we navigate through our own wilderness, God has given us, also, the Bread of Life and the Living Water in order to sustain us. He is with us in Spirit. He is also available to us in the written Word. And the Word is life. We are to take it in and it will change the way we live. Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (Matt 7:24-25).
Here are some other instances where the written Word of God is compared to food:
- “And He said to me, ‘Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.’ So I opened my mouth, and He gave me this scroll to eat. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.’ Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey” (Ezekiel 3:1-3).
- “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O Lord, God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16)
- “I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food” (Job 23:12).
So, this is really a reminder to me, more than any of you. I must remember I am already filled with the Bread of Life and the Living Water. My best days are the ones where I begin with time in the (written) Word and time with the Word (Jesus), communing with Him. And when I feel in need of protection or comfort, I must call on the One who holds all things together. Jesus is real comfort food.
Just a little food for thought today…