By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God
Published 3:33 pm Thursday, February 8, 2024
In Matthew 4:4 KJV Jesus said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Jesus makes this most profound statement while being tempted of Satan. In His response to Satan’s attack, Jesus refers him to the Word of God, reminding him that God’s Word (Spiritual Bread) is more preferable to any physical bread. When we think of the importance of this statement what comes to my mind is the fact that all men must eat bread or physical food to survive. Then Jesus places more importance on the Word of God than on the food that sustains physical life. While life is important and precious, Jesus helps us to see that spiritual living and eternal life with God is more important. But what is it about God’s Word that makes it more important and more sufficient than the physical bread that sustains us physically?
The importance of God’s Word is seen in the fact that His Word is Truth. While praying for his disciples Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The fact that His Word is truth should cause us to reflect on just who we rely upon for information concerning our Christian living and our own salvation. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29). God’s word is indeed like a fire. Fire of course can destroy, but it also holds the quality of purification. This is the idea that God wants us to remember. His Word if studied can help eliminate the sin in our lives while giving us strength to endure future trials in life.
God’s Word is one that also comforts mankind. Jesus reminded his disciples, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). It was the intent of Jesus to encourage and strengthen His disciples after His ascension in Heaven. Later in that same letter he reminded his followers, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13). If the Word of God had the ability to comfort those men and women of the first century surely it contains the same power of comfort today. It has that ability, reminding us that if we are faithful to him there is a crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
God’s word is important because it can set us free from the burden of sin. We read in John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” This freedom is important because it releases us from the price of the sin in our lives. But to gain that freedom one must honestly and truly study the Word of God and become obedient to its commands. In its essence God’s Word of truth brings salvation to all men. Paul wrote, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). Sadly, too many people refuse the freedom offered by God in lieu of worldly pleasures and the doctrines of men.
God’s Word of truth also purifies the soul. We learn in 1 Peter 1:22 “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” This cleansing or purification is essential. No man can receive heaven without purification which comes from God and His Word. Paul made it plain in 2 Timothy 3:16 when he said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” If anyone wants to be claimed by God, if they want to be God’s people they must without regard, receive the totality of His Word.
Turning stones into physical bread would have been no great deal for the Lord. But Jesus knew that in doing so He would have been rejecting the Word of God. In doing so at that moment he would have been accepting the word of Satan. May we ever strive to live by “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” while remembering that bread on the table may satisfy for a short period of time, but that the bread of heaven, God’s Word of truth, satisfies forever.
(Tony Hoss is minister of the Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton)