As I was reading through the exploits of David in 1 Samuel recently, I came upon a little tidbit in chapter 21 that is often forgotten. It follows right on the heals of the story of David and his true friend Jonathan, which any kiddo raised in the church can tell you about. You all remember it I’m sure. The one in which David’s life is in danger and Jonathan warns him by a secret code phrase, “Look the arrows are beyond you,” Which meant “Run! my dad is after you!”
While we all recall that story, what happens next grabbed my attention as I read through God’s Word this year. David, on the run for his life, comes to Ahimelech, a priest in God’s house, and asks for food. The priest has no bread for common consumption, but he does have the Bread of the Presence that was put out in the temple each Sabbath and replaced with hot fresh loaves when it was removed. David was given the holy bread, not common bread, and he was given stale bread, not fresh-baked bread.
Now I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid my family regularly shopped at the “day old bread store.” I don’t know if you’re familiar with these or not. The idea is this. Fresh bread from bakeries is sold to grocery stores. When the grocery stores remove it from their shelves to bring in fresh bread, it is downgraded to go to the “day old bread store” for people pinching pennies to buy it for a reduced price. We were definitely a penny pinching family.
I didn’t really like the semi-stale breads we purchased, but it was food. I prefer fresh baked bread and the yeasty, rich smell that comes with it fresh out of the oven. As I mulled over this fresh and stale bread, several other scriptures popped into my mind.
Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11
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
I am the bread of life. John 6:48
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Matthew 26:26
And then these thoughts followed:
- Jesus is the Bread of Life. He is the fresh bread that sustains me day to day.
- Do I seek out my daily spiritual bread as eagerly as I do that loaf of bread that satisfies my physical hunger? Do I breakfast as quickly on Him and seek Jesus first thing each day as I do heading to that toaster and coffeemaker each morning?
- If we don’t live on physical bread alone, but God’s Word, are we feasting on that word daily? Would you and I be spiritual anorexics or would we be richly nourished to carry out our missions He has for us each day?
- Are we taking in the bread of life and allowing Jesus to become a part of us and sustain us? Or are we more apt to go through religious ritual that shows on the outside, but depletes the soul instead of nourishing it?
“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Amos 8:11
Are you in a spiritual famine? Is your soul hungry for the words of the Lord?
God will provide manna for your soul just as He provided the physical manna to the children of Israel in the wilderness. They had to go gather it and so do we. We must dig into His Word for the spiritual food that sustains us through the ups and downs of life.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11
And when we consume His Word, there will be good results in our life. God’s Word yields results – bread for today’s needs and seed to plant and harvest at another time in the future for another need. When we take it in, His Word brings about what He desires in our lives. His Word will achieve His purposes as it works in us.
Let us not settle for day old bread. Or is yours the stale bread of not just days, but weeks? Maybe you are even going on moldy old bread from months ago. Has it been quite a while since you have gotten fresh baked bread warm from His Word? Are you settling for “less than” in your spiritual food? Are you starving spiritually?
Let it be said of us as it was of the Christians of the early church in Acts:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42
Devote yourself today to seeking the Bread of Life through His Word.