People don’t live on bread alone
- 1 If you want to live and do well in this land that the LORD told your ancestors you could have, you need to obey the law. Follow all the rules that I’m telling you about today.
- 2 It’s important for you to stay devoted to God. Remember that he tested your devotion by ordering you to stay in the desert badlands for 40 years. You suffered through plenty of hard times during that stretch.
- 3 You got hungry. But then he fed you with manna,1 a food no one had ever heard of. Through that experience, he taught you this lesson: It takes more than bread to keep people alive. We devour every word God speaks.2
- 4 God took good care of you. In all those years, your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t swell.
- 5 But remember, too, that God disciplines you just like you discipline your kids.
- 6 So, do what the LORD your God tells you. Follow the law and respect the LORD.
Land rich in water, crops, minerals
- 7 Listen to me. The LORD your God is escorting you to a wonderful land. You’ll see streams of water flowing down the hills and into the valleys. You’ll see fountains there, gushing up out of the underground springs.
- 8 This is a land where crops can flourish: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives. There’s honey, too.
- 9 You won’t run short of food in this land. You’ll have everything you need. You’ll find iron ore in the ground, and copper in the hills.
- 10 When you finish a meal and have eaten all you want, take a moment to thank the LORD your God for this good land he gave you.
Don’t let pride rewrite your memory
- 11 Be careful. Don’t let the LORD your God fade out of your life. Don’t begin forgetting his laws and rules and instructions, which I’m reminding you about today.
- 12 Here’s the warning. Let’s say you come to the place in your life where you have everything you need. You have plenty of food and a fine home.
- 13 Your herds of cattle and your flocks of sheep and goats have grown nicely. You’ve got more silver and gold than ever. And nearly everything you do goes well.
- 14 That’s the time to check your attitude. Don’t let your pride grow bigger than your memory. Don’t forget how you got here. The LORD your God freed you from slavery in Egypt.
- 15 He led you safely through that big and wretched wasteland, with its desert scorpions and poisonous snakes. There was nothing to drink. Even the dirt was thirsty. Yet the LORD gave you water from those flint rocks.
- 16 He fed you with manna, mysterious food that even your ancestors never heard of. All of this was a test of your devotion. It was for your own good.
- 17 So, don’t let your pride talk you into believing that you got rich on your own.
- 18 It’s the LORD your God who gives you what it takes to prosper. Remember that. He’s simply fulfilling his part of the contract agreement he made your ancestors.
Stick with God
- 19 If you ever forget this and start worshiping other gods, I’m here to tell you right now that it won’t end well. Worshiping other gods will destroy you.
- 20 You’ve seen the nations fall before us as the LORD eliminated them. He’ll do the same to you if you refuse to listen to him.
The Hebrew word is man, pronounced “MAWN.” It’s a good journalism word because it can mean: How? Why? Who? What? What is it? (16:15). Some scholars say a fair English translation of the word might be “whatchamacallit.” Or maybe “whatever.” As in, the Israelites had that whatever for breakfast every morning.
Jesus quoted this verse when he got hungry during his 40-day fast in the Judean desert (Matthew 4:4). He knew God would provide for him. The words of God make things happen. He spoke creation into existence (Genesis 1). He promised food for the hungry Israelite refugees, and he gave them manna and quail. God’s words do that. “Every word God speaks” isn’t limited to the “Word of God,” the Bible—unless the writer was a prophet pointing to the future. There was no Bible at the time of Moses. Jews probably didn’t begin compiling their Bible, the Old Testament to many Christians, for several centuries. Many Christians say they believe God still speaks to his people through the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised to send as a “Spiritual Guide who will be with you all the time…to teach you the truth” (John 14:16-17).