— By LOU TISCIONE
“And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
These are the words of God spoken by Moses to the people of God in the wilderness.
The uncertainty and deep anxiety of many as a result of our economic situation, particularly our government shutdown, have led me to think of the most basic element of our need and the only one who provides it. Man’s most basic need is life and the only one who provides it is God.
Jesus, who is the Incarnate Word, quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to Satan during His temptation in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:4) Satan sought to tempt Jesus by drawing His attention to His physical needs. As you may recall, Jesus fasted for 40 days before meeting Satan. Satan challenged the fact of Jesus’ divinity. The challenge “If you are the Son of God …” (Matthew 4:3) was met with Jesus’ reminder to Satan that there is something much more basic than physical needs. Jesus told Satan and reminded all of us that man’s very existence depends upon the word of God.
A few basic observations may help put a right perspective on adversity, especially the current uncertainty of economic distress caused by our government’s recent shutdown.
God’s word in Deuteronomy was designed by Him to comfort and teach His people. God humbled His people so that they would know an important fact. The fact is the universal truth that mankind exists by God’s word. There is no life possible apart from the word of God. The plain truth is that because God is – we are! All life proceeds from Him. The Apostle Paul told the philosophers in Athens that all mankind lives and moves and have being (existence) in Jesus.
Paul wrote to the church in Colossae, “All things were created through him and for him… and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)
Many of us think we are the center of the world. Much of our current civil leadership uses this erroneous thinking to manipulate the public. Even those who profess Christ live as though they are the center of everything and fall prey to this manipulation. Many look to the government to provide their needs. When men fail, and they will, the result is depression, anger and despair.
Unscrupulous leaders design systems purposed in making men dependent upon them. These leaders make promises that they have no intention of keeping. Yet they depend upon those who are already trusting in them to believe the promises and continue to keep them in power.
Our current state of affairs didn’t happen overnight. It took several decades in our nation for our elected leaders to convince many citizens that they are dependent upon government. It will likely take much time to reverse this trend.
In the meantime, God has ordained our current situation to teach all of us that He is the center of the world. He is the one who ordains the steps of men. It is His word by which we live and move and exist. He is the one who provides the needs of His people.
Whether you are directly affected by our government shutdown or simply one of many who don’t know from where your next meal will come, know that the absolute truth is your life is dependent upon God. Jesus told His disciples that their heavenly Father knew what they needed and would provide it.
I would be remiss if I didn’t say that your current situation may not change. Yet, please know that in the midst of your difficulty, God is with you. If you belong to Him, He has promised never to leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
Our nation will weather the current crisis. I’m certain that we’ll face another. I’m likewise certain that some of our leaders will usurp the place of the great provider. I urge you to know the truth.
God has revealed the basic fact of man’s existence so that we might submit ourselves to Him and acknowledge Him as the great provider.
Lou Tiscione is pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA).