Abraham Maslow, the famous psychologist and author asked this question: “It is quite true that man lives by bread alone—when there is no bread. But what happens to man’s desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled?”
Maslow is credited with developing a “Hierarchy of Needs” that describes a person’s motivational systems. Why do we want what we want? What do we want when we have what we need? Maslow died in 1970. I wonder what he would have learned about the “hierarchy of needs” from today’s Internet.
How many email offers do you receive? Does it kind of bother you that the Internet pop-ups and ads seem to remember and remind you of what you found interesting a few days ago—things that you have already forgotten about? I looked for a pair of shoes, and now that same pair of shoes keeps popping up, no matter what I might be reading about.
I was looking up a Bible verse, and there came those shoes—floating right next to a passage from John. I don’t even want those shoes anymore, but they keep showing up. How do you tell the Internet gurus they only think I want something? I momentarily thought I wanted a pair of shoes, but God knows what I truly want and need.
When Maslow said, “Man does not live by bread alone” he was quoting Moses, who was later quoted by Jesus. The problem: Maslow didn’t finish the verse. If it has been awhile since you read the book of Deuteronomy, let me highly recommend it—especially the first twelve chapters. God’s directions have been powerful truth to people since the time God spoke them to Moses on Mt. Sinai. God told Moses to write them down and teach them to his people.
The first twelve chapters of Deuteronomy describe Moses reminding the Israelites of all that God had done for them. In Deuteronomy 8:3 Moses said, “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” The people were hungry and God fed them with manna, food they had never eaten before. God wanted them to know that he was their provider, so he fed them and kept them alive with food only God could provide.
Maslow asked the question, “What happens to man’s desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled?” A person’s Internet search history might provide an answer to Maslow’s question for many of us. Many of us are looking for stuff to make us look better or feel better. God told Moses to tell his people that his word would meet those needs. Moses was warning the Israelites that God had humbled them and allowed them to be hungry for a reason. God allowed what was necessary so that he could provide them manna. God wanted his people to know that he would supply what they most needed.
God is unchanging, and I think that, once again, he will allow what is necessary to help us remember that he is our provider. We have plenty of bread, plenty of shoes, and plenty of distraction. But “we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Those Internet pop-ups tempt us with things we think we want. The first twelve chapters of Deuteronomy describe the life that God wants for us, a life filled with what only God can provide. What do God’s people hunger for today? There are times that God will allow us to be hungry and unfulfilled because the void will remind us that his provision is our daily bread.
I wish I could find an Internet server that would cause those verses from Deuteronomy to “pop up” instead of that same pair of red shoes! I have bread, and I have shoes. What I need is found in every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. I recommend those first chapters of Deuteronomy. That Scripture is a feast for those who are hungry.
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