Recently I was enjoying some free time and ended up browsing through a gift shop. In one area of the shop I happened upon an old compass. I felt God highlighted the compass to me and I began to listen to what He might be saying to me about it. The compass, to me, represents God's direction or leading in our lives. I feel that we are in a time where so many people are experiencing a feeling that they have lost their way. In many ways we are being tested, and unexpected situations and chaotic world events have left many feeling that their world has been turned upside down.
In all of this we can be certain that God has not lost His way, and He knows exactly where each of His children are as well. He is our Good Shepherd, and the only sure One that we need to consult for direction in our lives. Now, more than ever, we need to hear the voice of our Shepherd. Jesus taught us some lessons in Matthew 4 about leaning into the voice of God when He experienced a time of testing in the wilderness. I hear Him saying that these lessons are important for us now and in the coming days as we encounter these trials that test our faith.
What does it mean to live "by every word that comes from the mouth of God?" These words were part of the answer that Jesus gave satan when he came to tempt Jesus in the wilderness asking him to turn the stones into bread. Jesus' response is important as he modeled for us how to respond in a powerful way when we encounter the attacks of the enemy.
"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'." Matt. 4:1-4
In the wilderness, satan first attempted to undermine Jesus' identity by saying, "If you are the Son of God..." But, Jesus knew exactly who He was in the very core of His being. This is why He also knew exactly how to respond and live while on mission from His place by His Father in Heaven. Jesus was resolute that he would live "by every word that comes from the mouth of God." If this was Jesus' mode of operation during His time on earth, it is to be our mode of operation as well. His words to us will always be our true north as we navigate our journey here.
The word for "word" in Matt. 4:4 is rhema, which means "that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word" (Blue Letter Bible). We often think of the rhema word as the quickened word of God, or how He chooses to highlight His word to us in such a way to speak to us personally. God can take His logos or written word and quicken it to our spirit, causing it then to become a rhema word to us. These rhema, God-breathed words to us are our very lifeline as we walk out our journey with Him here on earth.
Satan comes to us in our wilderness times, too, as he did with Jesus. He tempts us when we are alone, isolated, tired, or hungry. He stabs at our identity, attempting to cause us to doubt our connection and abiding bond with the Father. He tempts us so that we will try and prove ourselves, creating idols or messes that can take days, months, or years to reverse. Thankfully, we can choose as Jesus chose, and that is to live "by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." No shortcuts. No compromise. No plan B. Abandoned fully to the narrow path of Lordship. When we abandon ourselves fully to the narrow path of Lordship, later we find it grows into the gloriously broad road into sonship.
We know that Jesus left that place of testing fully victorious. He chose well. He listened to the words that came from the mouth of His Father and chose to live by them instead of the shortcuts satan was offering. Angels attended Him and He soon was heralding the message He came to earth to release, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near." (Matt. 4:17) God has victory in store for us, too, as we learn to steward His living and active words that flow from His mouth.
God is shoring up His Bride in this hour allowing the weak places in our lives to be exposed so we can allow Him to do the necessary adjustments to strengthen and fortify us. In many ways we are in a time of testing, too. We are being presented with choices as to how we will respond to the situations and events around us. Will we give in to fear? Will we give in to division and anger? We will do the easy thing? Will we take the shortcut that satan is offering?
Many times there are no easy, obvious answers and we desperately NEED to hear His voice. We need to be a people committed to hearing what He has to say and then obeying it without compromise. We need to be resolute as Jesus was when He said He would live only by the words of His Father.
God is breathing fresh life and fire into His people to once again treasure His words to us. The "self made man or woman" has no place in the Kingdom of God. As His sons and daughters, we are markedly dependent on His words to us even more than bread that sustains us. Orphans have no inheritance in the word and orphans have no words communicated to them from a loving Father. God is not raising up orphans, but He is "bringing many sons to glory". (from Heb. 2:10)
How wonderful and amazing that we have a loving Father who is committed to leading and guiding us. How brilliant that He has given us His precious Holy Spirit to speak and lead us into all truth. How precious and valuable is each and every word He speaks to us!
"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path." Psalm 119:103-104