He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
When I was on mission a few years ago, a few of us were very naughty when we were in Minsk, the capital city. We sneaked out of our hotel and headed to McDonald’s. We were witnessing to Belarussian students, and were supposed to be living alongside them. Only the richest people can afford to eat in McDonald’s, though, and so it was off limits to our local friends. We were getting increasingly bored, though, of the national dish – pilmeni, a kind of cross between a mini Cornish pasty, a dumpling, and ravioli. We were served it every night at supper. By the time we visited Minsk, therefore, we were desperate for some western food – even if it was only McDonalds. The reality is, of course, that we are spoilt living in the west having such a wide selection of food to choose from. For many millions of people, this just is not available. For lots of people, food of any kind is a blessing.
There’s a distinct parallel between our current Mark Marathon passage and today’s Daily Reading – a verse which was, of course, quoted by Jesus when he was fasting in the desert. In our Mark Marathon passage, Jesus has been followed by a large crowd who have been so transfixed by his teaching that they had not noticed that it was time to eat. Jesus, though, miraculously provides them with a simple meal, and feeds all five thousand of them. In today’s Daily Reading, we are reminded that God miraculously provided food for the people of Israel when they were in the desert. Additionally, in today’s reading, we are reminded of the importance not just of physical food for our bodies, but also food for our spirits. The Israelites were taught that man cannot live on bread alone, but needs to feed on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. The reason why people need feeding in the Mark passage is, of course, because they have been doing exactly that – they have been feasting on the words of Jesus.
We should be thankful and grateful for the food that God provides us with every day. We must not forget, thought, that our spirits also need feeding. We must ensure that we feed on the word of God every day. We must ensure that we spend time immersed in God’s word.