Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Shepastor: “How Hungry Are You?”

Matthew 4: 1-11

1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Matt 4:1-11 (KJV)

Supporting text:

Proverbs 27:7
The full soul loatheth the honey comb, but to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet, KJV

We all have experienced hunger of one kind or another. Extreme hunger, however, can drive you to behave in ways that under normal circumstances would never have been an option.

In our focus passages for today, taken from both Proverbs and Matthew, we find two passages of scripture that talk about hunger. In Proverbs we see a thought provoking saying, one short verse that declares,

The full soul loatheth the honey comb, but to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet, KJV

The New International Version states it like this,
He who is full loathes (or hates) honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet, NIV

In Matthew we find Jesus, having fasted 40 days and now understandably hungry, one might even say famished and most probably somewhat vulnerable. The devil moves in to temp him. Jesus’ response, however, gives us food for thought.

Consider for a moment the question, “How Hungry Are You?”

When I was a teenager, I enjoyed baking. But sometimes, my cakes, and cookies did not turn out quite as I had hoped. My dad, however, always ate whatever I baked. One day, my father picked up one of my cookies and said, “My God Chrissy, you could lick a dog down with this!” I retorted, “Well, you’re eating it aren’t you?” He responded, “Yea, when you are hungry, you’ll eat anything!”

There was some profundity wrapped up in my father’s sarcasm, for truly, when someone is very hungry, they will eat anything. In this life, we encounter many hungry souls. And for some, maybe even reading this blog, the thought of hunger, not for physical food, but for a life that is fulfilled and complete, that thought hits home.

Some go through life wandering from pillar to post, grasping for but never quite reaching what they are aspiring to attain, you’ve seen them, the hungry.

The hungry, that young woman or young man who keeps getting involved in unhealthy relationships, looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for love in too many faces, the hungry, that boy or that girl who allows themselves to be ill treated or does things that they were not raised to do because they want the approval of the crowd, you’ve seen them, the hungry,

The hungry, that person who goes to the store and buys everything that the fashion designers say is “hot” for the season because they feel that if they can at least dress stylish, somebody will respect, love and admire them, not because of who they are, but because of how they appear…

The hungry, that person who remains in a mentally and physically abusive relationship because they feel that some relationship is better than none at all.

We know them, the hungry, or maybe the hungry is not them, maybe the hungry looks back at us when we look in the mirror.

But God has a good word for the hungry today. We can tell the hungry, whether he or she is another person, or the hungry spirit within our own soul, we can stop feeding our hunger with the bitter, and begin to feast on the sweet.

When Jesus faced the devil after fasting forty days, the devil first tempted him by trying to get him to satisfy his hunger. But Jesus gave us a marvelous example of how to gain true satisfaction when He declared, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

God’s Word, God’s ways, God’s love will satisfy and complete us in ways that our own efforts could never satisfy.

God word says, “You who are hungry, LISTEN, you who are searching, LISTEN…, Don’t be afraid, I made you, I know all about you, I have chosen you… LISTEN…. I will pour out my spirit upon you and not only you, but upon your children, upon your household and you will be blessed. LISTEN, I want to pour the cool refreshing water of my spirit upon the dry, parched and thirsty ground of your life…LISTEN… THERE IS NO ROCK BESIDES ME!

Are you listening? God says to you and I, HEAR ME. There is no God besides me. The Psalmist declared, “We are His people and the sheep of His pasture, It is He that has made us and not we ourselves”. The ancient Israelites had a custom of writing God’s word upon their foreheads and in the palms of their hands so that they would constantly be reminded of what God has said and how they were to live.

God says to us today, stop looking to idols, stop relying upon self, stop looking for another human being to fix your troubles, Call unto me and I will show you great and wonderful things which thou knowest not. We need to write God’s Word upon the table of our hearts and in our minds so that we will say like Paul, nothing will separate us from the love of Christ.

God wants to satisfy the hunger of our hearts. Only God can satisfy the hunger and the longing of our hearts. God’s food is love, God’s food is salvation, God’s food is forgiveness, God’s food is peace, God’s food is joy, God’s food is assurance, God’s food is eternal life.

There is a satisfaction that comes from knowing, living for and loving God. It’s not that we don’t ever experience low points, but God develops “hind’s feet” for the believer and He teaches us how to walk through the valleys and then how to climb high mountains and leap upon the high places of life.

God gives us peace that passes all understanding, peace in the midst of the storm because we know that the God we serve is an able God, an all powerful God, an all knowing God and the God who heals us and loves us. God made it possible for all who desire rest from the cares and burdens of this life, all who desire assurance and peace, all who desire salvation and ultimate fulfillment to obtain these things through His Son Jesus Christ.

You don’t have to stay in the mess that you are in. Exchange the bitter for the sweet. Look to Him who is the great I AM. Let God fill your cup until it over flows. Don’t accept the devil’s words of discouragement, defeat and low standards.

Remind yourself and others that Jesus is the living water, that Jesus is the bread of life, that Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Remind yourself and others that they don’t have to walk alone, that they don’t have to accept less that what God has for them. Remind yourself and others that God is waiting to heal, hear and answer the longings of the broken hearted. God can feed and fill the hunger of your heart.

How hungry are you? Are you willing to put pride aside, go before the Lord and acknowledge your brokenness, your woundedness, your bitterness? Exchange your bitter for the Lord’s sweet and experience the satisfaction that only the Lord can give you today.

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In faith, hope and perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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