Independent And Needy

“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.”

Deuteronomy 8:3

I know it has been a long time since feeding baby food to our youngest son, but I still remember trying to figure out a way to get him to eat strained peas. Gerber Strained Peas—just the thought of it is bothersome. Anything you put in your mouth you should be able to chew. It’s not that I am against soft foods. I like soft ice cream, pudding, tomato soup, Jell-O. You get the idea. But I like to bite into things that have substance. A big T-bone steak, cooked over an open fire, smothered with mushrooms and onions, let the chewing begin! But strained peas? I’ll pass. But remembering back 38 years ago, our son Lucas wasn’t a big fan of them. So, I would take a little bit of strained fruit and give him a little bit of both in order to get him to eat what he didn’t really like. And unless he had an upset stomach, Lucas always ate like it was his last meal.

FAST FORWARD Our sons were always dependent on their mother’s cooking. I believe they were very thankful for her cooking, especially in light of what they experienced in my cooking. In a way, all our sons were at the mercy of what we fed them. They all were dependent on our daily menu of choice. They were encouraged to give input, but for the most part their mother came up with a variety of meals for the weekly menu. The only consistent, non-negotiable was pizza and wings on Friday night.

As our sons got older, each learned how to cook for themselves. As married men with families, each one contributes to the menu not only as a hungry participant but as a culinarian. And I must say, I have been the recipient of their cuisine and would have no problem eating at their table any night of the week.

My mother used to say that the secret to her cooking was to make sure her family was really hungry before she fed them, that way the food always tasted good. Whether or not it tasted good didn’t matter to me, I was always hungry. And for the most part, like my sons, I was extremely dependent on my parents cooking for my survival.

In a way, we too are extremely dependent on what God is cooking up for us by way of doing life. Yet like Israel, we can flex our independent muscle and forget just how needy we are. God tells Israel in Deuteronomy 8 that they needed to be careful to observe every commandment which He has given them. He reminds them that it was He who led them for forty years in the wilderness, it was He who humbled and tested them, so that they would know exactly what was in their heart. But in chapter 8:3 God reminds them that it was He who humbled them by allowing them to go hungry in order that they may, “know that man shall not live by bread alone…”

So, what is the take away lesson for us here? For the sake of being brief, let me give you one lesson from this passage.

GOD DOESN’T WANT YOU TO LEARN TO BE DEPENDENT ON HIM, BUT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE DEPENDENT ON HIM. I believe most humans believe they have a choice to live either dependently or independently of their Creator. Nothing could be further from the truth. But those who do so, only demonstrate how really needy they are. Why? Because man does not live real life independent of God—Something Israel learned all too often. It wasn’t that God was trying to teach Israel to be dependent on Him for all things, but that they were dependent on Him for all things.

Jesus was conveying this thought in His Sermon On The Mount. You remember that Jesus told the crowd to love their enemies. This didn’t fly well in the face of those who were being told to love your neighbor and hate your enemies. But then He says, “That you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (5:45) We don’t learn to be dependent on Him, we are dependent on Him! It should be, at the very least, repugnant to the believer in Christ, that somehow, we are only dependent on God so far as our power and ability will not take us. It is as if we are saying to God, “Don’t worry God, I’ve got this, I will let You know if I need your help. After all, look at all I have accomplished by myself!”

Today more than ever, we need not only see the need for living life in dependence on God but also to proclaim that there is no other way we can do life. My personal take away is this; All that I am, all that I possess, is manna from God. I didn’t earn it, because He is the one that gave it to me. From birth to second birth, from talents to giftedness, from place of birth to my wanderings, from youth to old age, safety to harm’s way, storms to calm seas—All come from God—I am dependent on Him.

How about you? Are you independent? If you are, you are needful more than all.

This is Pastor Pat FROM BEHIND THE PEN wishing you Joy In Jesus!