Part 3: Survival of the Carbist
My carb-loving self smiles every time I open up this binder I'm using to compile my study of the 300+ times the word "bread" is used in the Bible. It's a reminder that even when I'm out of Hawaiian rolls, my soul can feast on God's word.
In my beginning of this study I created a list and printed a concordance search results. After looking up all the verses in the Old Testament that include the word "bread," I noticed several patterns. Today I'll share one.
PATTERN 1: We need bread to survive.
This is basic, I know. Any carbist will defend the inclusion of bread in our meals because bread is best. It's a fact. Spiritually speaking, it appears the people of God have always depended on God to provide bread in all their challenging circumstances and bread often represents God's survival provisions. I can hear your "amen" through the computer.
We need bread to survive. And as I mentioned before, God's presence is our daily bread. We need God's presence daily to survive life. Today we only have time to look through some of the uses of "bread" in Genesis but I know the Holy Spirit is going to use these passages to remind you that whatever you are facing now, you will survive with God's presence.
Adam & Eve
I've mentioned this before, but I'm not happy the first mention of bread is a part of God's curse upon humanity. After Adam and Eve sell us out to our fate as rebels, they survive their rebellion toward God by His grace. They do not die. Then God includes bread in the curse as a reminder: God knows we need to survive our rebellion and so he will provide bread. God says to Adam...
Genesis 3:19 "You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground"
Am I the only one thinking bread in God's curse is grace? Am I the only one who reads this verse to have my thoughts diverted to spicy jalapeno cornbread? But the brow sweat is not about the spice of the bread, it's about the "painful labor" we will endure to eat. Unlike the garden where everything we need was provided, we are now subject to the thorns and thistles of cultivating our food. Because we need bread to survive.
Sarah & Abraham
God's promise of a child takes for-ev-er. Or at least it must have felt that way to Sarah & Abraham.
Genesis 18:1-6 "Then the Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting in the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day. He looked up, and he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them and bowed to the ground. Then he said, “My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, please do not go on past your servant. Let a little water be brought, that you may wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. I will bring a bit of bread so that you may strengthen yourselves. This is why you have passed your servant’s way. Later, you can continue on.” “Yes,” they replied, “do as you have said.” So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Knead three measures of fine flour and make bread.”
The NIV says the bread was used to "refresh" those three men. Yaaaas. And Abraham's instruction to Sarah is basically: "Bread, stat!!" Sarah overhears the ridiculous prophecy that in her old age she will have a son and she can't help but laugh to herself. We laugh off the impossible as a defense mechanism because we rarely take God at his word. Bread is a part of this story--of God making good on his promise to do the impossible for Sarah & Abraham. Because we need bread to survive.
Hagar & Ishmael
Abraham and I will have lots of time in the new heaven and new earth to talk about how dumb he was to give into Sarah's suggestion to impregnate someone other than his wife. I've got several choice words prepared, but if the line is too long to hang with Abraham I'm gonna say, "Just no."
After Abraham knocks up Hagar, Sarah gets ANGRY. Shocker. Right before Hagar and Ishmael are sent into the wilderness, our word of study appears again...
Genesis 21: 14-18 "Early in the morning Abraham got up, took bread and a waterskin, put them on Hagar’s shoulders, and sent her and the boy away. She left and wandered in the Wilderness of Beer-sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she left the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she said, “I can’t bear to watch the boy die!” So as she sat nearby, she wept loudly. God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard the voice of the boy from the place where he is. Get up, help the boy up, and support him, for I will make him a great nation.”
Hagar and Ishmael survive the wilderness of Beer-sheba and the wilderness of rejection in part because of the bread Abraham packed for them right before they left. God knows we need to survive rejection and so he will provide bread. Because we need bread to survive.
Unfortunately, bread can also be used as a tool for temptation. But this is a kill-joy so I'm just going to quickly remind you that Jacob served up bread and lentil stew to steal Esau's birthright, and Rebekah baked bread as she masterminded a successful scheme to steal Esau's blessing. What a waste of bread.
Maybe like Adam and Eve you screwed things up and now you face the survival of your rebellion. Or maybe like Sarah and Abraham you are waiting and it feels like you won't survive one more hour. Or maybe like Hagar and Ishmael you are facing rejection and eating the last bite of perseverance you can muster to survive life.
I am so stinkin' sick and tired of my unhealthy and healthy coping mechanisms. Anyone with me? And yet I return to them as if they will satisfy. And then I groan along each day as if survival is a new concept and I'm the only one privy to the reality. It's nonsense. What Genesis reveals to us--what the beginning of God's story alludes to--is that we need bread to survive and He will send bread. Soon enough we will see that Jesus is our Living Bread. But until then, I have good news.
Fellow carbist, God is our survival plan. His presence is our coping mechanism. He will carry us through. God will find a way to invoke grace in a self-inflicted curse, in impossible circumstances, and in the suffering of rejection. Let his presence comfort you now.
Next time you stare down a crusty loaf of carby goodness repeat to yourself: God is my survival plan.
In a season of great spiritual hunger, I started to follow the breadcrumb trail through the sacred scriptures to find the most satisfying bread for our soul: Jesus.
This led to an obsession with the 300+ times “bread” is mentioned in the holy scriptures, and you’re reading the results, a 16 part bible study: I.Love.Carbs.
Let's break bread together. You could start from the beginning here & be sure to sign up to get the latest blog post delivered right to your inbox >>>>>