And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
- Deuteronomy 8:3
God suffered the Israelites to hunger. Why? He needed to get them to really and truly understand and believe that man does not live by bread alone.
A 'bread alone' belief keeps us shallow. We can't see any further than the next meal, the next day or next week. God wants all people to follow a vision deeper and more profound than that: a vision where we can go hungry with those who hunger and thirsty with those who thirst, casting all our cares upon Him. As Christians, we don't want to believe that God would suffer us to hunger. When we hunger or thirst, we pray to him for the answer; but we also do that when we do not understand his full will in a situation because we are short-sighted. In this scripture, God had a plan. He had to turn the minds and behaviours of a nation around to follow His will. His job was to change beliefs from those of victims to those of ardent mature followers of Himself. This change meant each heart needed to have that belief deep within it; a foundational belief that God's Word is all they need to live on: a belief that He will never leave them or forsake them. One of complete reliance, such as they had for years of the Egyptians. Up until the stage of release from Egypt, they were victims. They had become institutionalised over many years of programming. The Egyptian overlords had reprogrammed the Israelites minds to rely on them only. When you are institutionalised, food becomes a primary focus, as there is not much else for which to live. God had to remove that subliminal mental image they had and retrain them. He gave them a diet of plain food — Manna. A diet similar to Daniel's pulse food, ordinary, to dry them out and show them God’s new way with its unique challenges. We all must have challenges. Think how powerful it would have been had they stopped their criticisms and followed Him the way He wanted? Three million people ardently following the living God who made them. Choruses of thanksgiving rising to heaven, a sweet-smelling savour of worship into the nostrils of their creator. What a marvellous time they would have had. The desert would have blossomed like a rose, right there under the towering Mount Sinai and beyond. Only three families rejected the institutionalising; Moses’, Joshua's and Caleb’s. It can be done! Had they followed God, the institutionalisation would have ceased. It is difficult to throw off the victim mentality, where everything is someone else's fault. They preferred to keep that image and try and get God to change His direction for them, to take the burdens off, to make life easy, to over-protect them as victims prefer. Victims prefer crutches through life. God wanted His people entire. They couldn't see that a few hard times would have reaped excellent results. We can become institutionalised in the same way, wanting God to remove all our burdens, not appreciating that some of them might be from Him to change something wrong in our spirit. Today's Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the burdens you place on me, to change me into the follower you need me to become. I apologise for wanting a more comfortable life. Please continue to reprogramme me to suit your purpose for my life. Thank you!