In Exodus 16, the Israelites were in the desert on the way to the Promised Land. They were tired and hungry, so they began to complain. In verse 4, the Lord said, “Now I am going to cause food to rain down from the sky for all of you. The people must go out every day and gather enough for that day. In this way I can test them to find out if they will follow my instructions” (GNT). For the rest of their time in the wilderness, the people went out every day to get manna from Heaven, taking only what they needed. God did not fail to give them their daily bread, but it was up to them to go get it.
In John 6, Jesus fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and two fish. Everyone had more than enough to eat. Because it was late, many stayed the night there. That night, the disciples went across the Sea of Galilee, and were hit with a storm. Jesus went to them walking on water. The next morning, the people who had been fed were looking for Jesus. When they found him, they asked for another miracle. Jesus wanted them to trust in Him for the Bread of Life. They were stubborn and brought up that Moses fed the people every day in the wilderness. Then Jesus reminded them it was God who provided the bread, not Moses. He went on to say, “I am the Bread of Life. Come every day to me and you will never be hungry. Believe in me and you will never be thirsty” (TPT).
God cares more for your spiritual condition than your physical one. Yes, He cares and provides for our physical needs, but it’s the eternal needs that matter most. Just like our physical body needs sustenance, so does our spirit. Jesus is inviting you and I to meet with Him daily for the manna He provides for our spirit. We can’t be like the people in the Old and New Testaments who are only looking for the temporary things from God that meet our immediate needs. He wants to give you so much more, but it requires you to set aside time to go get it every day. You wouldn’t neglect your physical hunger, so don’t neglect your spiritual hunger. Jesus is waiting for you with your daily bread right now. Ask Him to feed your spiritual hunger and thirst today, then listen for His voice. Taste and see that the Lord is good today. He is the Bread of Life.
A couple of years ago I read a Mark Twain quote that really got me thinking. He said, “The person who does not read has no advantage over the person who cannot read.” In our world, the average person only reads one book in their entire adult life after leaving their highest form of education. It’s like we learned enough to get a job and that’s it. We either don’t have time, don’t like reading or don’t care enough to increase our knowledge in certain areas. No matter what it is, when we fail to continue learning through reading, we fail to even learn new things about God.
Several years ago I read “Primal” by Mark Batterson. In it, he breaks down the greatest commandment found in Luke 10:27. “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind” (NLT). Loving God with all your mind is to never lose your sense of wonder with Him. Romans 11:33 says, “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge!” We could try to learn about Him more each day and never even scratch the surface of knowing God fully. Does that mean we shouldn’t try? No! We must learn to love God with all our mind, to search Him out and to be hungry for more knowledge of Him.
Proverbs 18:15 says, “The spiritually hungry are always ready to learn more, for their hearts are eager to discover new truths” (TPT). Are you spiritually hungry to know more of God or have you lost your desire? Our spiritual growth is dependent on knowing Him more and searching out the Scriptures. When we’re no longer spiritually hungry to know Him more, we fail to love Him with all our mind. We fail to meet the potential He built us with. We must stir up our hungry to know Him more by recognizing we don’t know everything about Him or enough about Him. God wants us to search Him out, to know Him more and to grow closer to Him, but we must do our part and recognize that we have a part to play in this. We must search Him out, find ways to increase our knowledge of Him and discover new truths for ourselves. You may never know Him fully while living here, but we shouldn’t let that stop us.
When I was in my early twenties, I lived in Cairo, Egypt. After being there a few months, I began to get hungry for some home cooking. I reached out to my mom and she sent me some recipes so I could have a taste of what I was missing. On other occasions, a few of us would sit around and talk about what we were hungry for. Then there were rumors that a Taco Bell was opening up in a certain part of the city. I would ask around to see if it was true. I even went down there a few times to look for it. I was hungry for more than what the country offered. In the process, I found some really great places to eat, but that hunger in me grew so much that I began to plan my first meal back in the States.
Being spiritually hungry is pretty similar. It’s a desire that’s inside of you that needs to be fostered. It starts with a thought, “I wish I could experience God like that person.” It could even be the desire to know God like you once did or to feel His presence when you’re missing it. That stirring should push you to move and do something different in order to experience it. Those thoughts should challenge you to seek others who are experiencing God in a way that you never have to find out what they’re doing, how they’re studying and what they’re reading. Spiritual hunger should motivate you to fill it much like hunger in your belly does. You don’t just sit around thinking, “I’m hungry.” Chances are, you get up, go to the pantry and start digging around for something to meet that need. God wants us to dig through His Word looking for sustenance.
Proverbs 18:15 says, “The spiritually hungry are always ready to learn more, for their hearts are eager to discover new truths” (TPT). There are depths of God that you and I have yet to experience and discover. The amount we will learn and know about God is in direct proportion to how much we hunger for Him. Are you satisfied with only a snack? Are you content to stay where you are? Do you feel like you know Him enough? Challenge yourself in these areas. Stir up that hunger within you to know and experience more of Him. That’s how you grow and mature in your faith. You feed the desire to know Him more and by praying for Him to reveal more of Himself to you. It requires effort on your part to get up earlier, to stay up later, to block out distractions, to read more, to listen more and to seek more than you have. God is willing and able to satisfy your spiritual hunger, but you must be ready to learn and discover more.
Almost every woman who has a child can tell you what she craved while she was pregnant. It’s interesting to me to hear some of the things that their bodies were asking for. When my wife was pregnant, I remember the doctor telling us that she may experience cravings for some crazy things including dirt. She said that the body will crave and create intense hunger for the things it needs. There are plenty of husbands who will tell you what time of the night they had to run to the store, and what crazy food they had to get to satisfy their wife’s hunger craving.
I believe our spirit is very similar. It hungers to find God. Inside each of us is the desire to know and understand why we are here and what our purpose is. It creates a holy curiosity that is truly a hunger to know God. The problem many of us experience is that after we find Him, we often dismiss those hunger pains to know Him more. We give into the cravings of the flesh rather than the spirit within us. God’s desire for each of us is to continue to hunger to know Him more. Our spirit’s cravings are not to be ignored. Just like a pregnant woman’s body craves what it’s lacking, so does our spirit.
Here are some Bible verses on hungering for the things of God.
1. You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
Matthew 5:6 MSG
2. Those who hunger for him will always be filled, but the smug and self-satisfied he will send away empty.
Luke 1:53 TPT
3. “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “When I will send hunger over the land, Not hunger for bread or a thirst for water, But rather [a hunger] for hearing the words of the LORD.”
AMOS 8:11 AMP
4. Lovers of God hunger after truth, but those without understanding feast on foolishness and don’t even realize it.
Proverbs 15:14 TPT
5. God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts.