What a wonderful way to start the year! Expanding our understanding of Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, without Whom we cannot live, can never be thoroughly satisfied without and Whose presence we seek and search for - even though at times we don’t realize it. It is not by chance, that within the human person, is a void that only the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, can fill. This is God's divine design. He has created within our being a desire to know Him. He created man to have fellowship with Him, to enjoy His presence and to be at all times in close relationship with Him.
After the fall, came a separation that occurred between God and man, resulting in disastrous consequences. But the need for man to be close to God was not lost. We read in Genesis 4:26 "At that time people began to call on the Lord.” This is long after Adam and Eve had been banished from the Garden of Eden. Cain killed Abel, Seth was born, who became the father of Enosh, and then men began to call on the name of the Lord. They knew in their hearts that He was there and they began longing for Him. Deep within us, we long for the presence of God. Sometimes this awareness is clear, while at other times, it may lead us down to a path of desperate searching. If we would stop and listen, hear the relentless calling of the Holy Spirit, wooing and drawing us into the presence of God, we would so readily find Him. Seek and you will find. (Mathew:7-8)
Social Media has given us the power to search and discover through its easy accessibility. Although I am no expert, even I can find “stuff” about almost any subject. There are some rabbit holes that will lead you into bizarre, overwhelming territory, best avoided. But you can also discover some of the best preaching and the most excellent teachings to learn about Jesus and His ways. I consistently make full use of the internet, especially when I am ironing. There are some really good and helpful messages available. I believe the Lord is always encouraging us to draw closer to Him and continually seek Him ourselves. Delving into the scriptures and spending time alone with Him, in His presence, personally and face to face. He wants us to learn to draw on the intimate teaching and encouragement of the Holy Spirit that leads us deep into the scriptures giving revelation that penetrates the mind. Truth that is not distorted in any way.
The Apostle John, living at the time of Christ, recognized how the enemy, although defeated, still wants to destroy our lives and steal what is true. So he writes to the disciples in 1 John 2:26-27 “ I have written to warn you about those who are trying to deceive you. But they are no match for what is embedded deeply within you- Christ’s anointing, no less! You don’t need any of their so-called teaching. Christ’s anointing teaches you the truth of everything you need to know about yourself and Him, uncontaminated by a single lie. Live deeply in what you were taught.”
God has given us a teacher, the Holy Spirit, Who knows us so well and is able to explain in a way that each of us can understand. Scripture is the word of God. It is alive, always fresh and forever true. Mathew 4.4 "We do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." These words were spoken by Jesus as He answered satan who was tempting Him. He is quoting from the book of Deuteronomy, yielding the Sword of the Spirit.
So, 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.
As we study the Word, the real thing, we will know the truth and readily recognize the counterfeit. The bread that we ingest is good and of God which nourishes our bodies, our minds and our spirits. As we steadily get our minds around the concept of Jesus; as Man, as God and as the Word. When Jesus made that statement, in John 6:32-33 "I AM the bread of life..." He was saying I am God and I am that bread of God that comes from heaven and gives life to the world. Life in abundance. In Christ the whole world can be made new and that which is corrupted can be made whole and healthy as we believe, trust and obey Him. This is the Gospel that we are sent to preach…. a message that has power.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
The very power of God and His presence is inexplicably interwoven into biblical truth and the Holy Spirit works in the spoken and shared word. The Israelite Nation, the apple of God’s eye was and still is, a people called out by God to reveal His glory… to show the world that He is a good God and a living God. Not a wooden or stone idol but a God who is present with His people. The tabernacle designed by God for the Israelites as they wandered through the desert was to build a house for His presence. Every detail was so carefully transcribed to those who were building it so that it would in every aspect reflect God’s glory and His presence with His people. God made sure that the people knew that He was present with them. For one, they could see the cloud in the daytime and the fire at night. Imagine God’s presence as a great big ball of fire over your home! Amazing and yet not so far from the truth. Jesus kindles a fire within us as the Holy Spirit takes residence in our bodies and fires up our love and hunger for more of God. We are the temple filled with Him, His servants and flames of fire.
In the tabernacle was the showbread, 12 loaves representing the 12 tribes of Israel, a picture of God’s desire to have fellowship with Israel. Beautiful, freshly baked bread replaced every week, displayed on a table of acacia wood covered with gold. This stood before God continuously, known as the Table of His Presence. Each week incense was placed on the table with the fresh bread, and it was to be an offering to the Lord made by fire. (Exodus 25:30, Leviticus 24.5-6) God is laying a foundation here so that when Christ came to earth, the people might understand the truth that Jesus, Immanuel, meaning God with us, is the true Bread of Life that is available to all who believe. The tabernacle is a shadow of what was to come and gives us a deep understanding of God, His presence and His power. Jesus baptizes us today in the Holy Spirit and with fire. We carry His presence and His fragrance as He fills us with Himself, sending us out to reveal to the lost and hurting world that God lives, is real and longs to have face to face fellowship with man. Extraordinary, supernatural, indescribable!!
The more we study God’s word the more we will discover a life force (the Holy Spirit) Who works in us to transform, teach, equip, empower and supply all our needs. He is God, He is faithful and His presence is more vital than the air we breathe. He is the means by which the word of God is made alive in us, transforming us and restoring the very image of God.
My prayer for all of us this year is that He who drew us to Himself, will strengthen the desire within us to know Him. That we will yield to Him and allow Him to bring us into a deeper, more real and more wonderful knowledge of Himself. That we will see Him more clearly and follow Him more closely. May Jesus become everything to us as we walk with Him, fearing no evil and trusting Him implicitly. May the Word of God become more and more alive as we read, mediate and absorb its life-giving truths. May His presence be with us always as He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. Amen.