Deuteronomy 8 Commentary

Deuteronomy 8 Commentary

The chapter is famous for the LORD Jesus directly quoted from it.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
Matthew 4 verse 4. NIV.

Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8 verse 3. NIV.

We know this is important. Israel was in the wilderness for 40 years. It was a deliberate decision by the LORD Jesus to choose the wilderness for His fasting. A synagogue or even the Temple itself in Jerusalem was always a good option for prayer and fasting. The 40 days of fasting in the wilderness for Jesus parallels the 40 years of wilderness that Moses refers to here.

Jesus is hungry just like Israel. But unlike Israel the LORD Jesus submits and honors the LORD. Israel on the other hand fails the test. The LORD who performed mighty acts in Egypt could have easily provided abundance in the wilderness. It was a deliberate decision to subject Israel to starvation. Will they trust the LORD under these circumstances?

The LORD Jesus had it within Himself to perform a miracle to feed himself. The comparisons are sharply visible. In Jesus is the seed of Genesis that stands tall and defeats the enemy by submitting to the one and only true God. The saint does well to reflect on this victory and domesticate it in daily walk with the LORD.

The immediate context however is that Israel failed to trust the LORD and instead longed for the ‘meat’ and the supposed good times of Egypt. Fast-forward to our time we need to ask if we are coming out good on this test. It is very much a deliberate decision by the LORD that you have a life that you have. Will you trust the LORD God in these times or is there fear that you are longing for the ‘good times’ of the unbelieving world? The human mind can be stupid. You may have to re-educate it by challenging its statement on ‘good times’. Which good times? There are no good times out there.

This chapter digs deeper into our own lives. The more we reflect on it the more inadequate we feel. And you always feel there is more to it!

The chapter opened with a call to remain faithful – a requirement for long life and increase. It is a call that the LORD Jesus appears to be making in telling off the devil by quoting from this chapter. The closing lines are yet another call to choose life and not death.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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