Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:3
I recall once hiking all day before going to an all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse that evening. In my ravenous hunger, I ate until I hurt. On stumbling out of the restaurant, I swore I was not going to eat for a week. An hour later, when everyone wanted to go to an ice cream shop, I found room for dessert. I am almost always hungry.
Though I often eat too much, I do require food to live. Without it, my physical life would dwindle and fade. So too, is the fate of my spiritual life, if I do not regularly fill myself with God.
This was Moses’ message in today’s passage. As God provided manna from heaven to teach the Israelites to depend on Him for their physical growth, He taught them to depend on His word for their spiritual growth. Moses said that life was more than filling the physical appetite. If they truly wanted to live, the Israelites must continually fill themselves with God.
We too have a spiritual appetite. We were made to know God and when we do not, we crave Him. We may not recognize our spiritual appetite, but our anxiety, angst, agitation, discontent and need for more is an echoing reminder of our need to be made whole in God. Unfortunately, we try to fill our need for joy and meaning with any number of temporary fixes: food, sex, affirmation, relationships, status, wealth, experiences, or drugs.
We all long for lasting peace and joy but we have unfortunately learned to satisfy our appetite with the immediate gratification found in the appetites of the flesh. Not all of these appetites are destructive – some are – but when we use these things to fill a hole that God was meant to fill, we abuse them, and we miss God.
We are always hungry. We always need God. We may just not realize that is what we are longing for. If we truly want to know life though, we must learn to daily fill ourselves with God.