Bread That Sustains

He makes [plants] grow . . . bringing forth food from the earth: . . . bread that sustains [people’s] hearts. — Psalm 104:15

 Psalm 104:15
Near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the teachers at my school made a loaf of bread and brought it to our home on a Friday evening. Because of the lockdown, we hadn’t seen many familiar people face-to-face, and her gesture remains one of the most memorable moments of that uncertain time. The loaf of bread was delicious, but it was the act of friendship that sustained us.

Psalm 104 describes a joyful celebration of God, our generous Creator. Things that are vast and incomprehensible and even things that are ordinary are included in this song of wonder: everything good comes from God’s goodness, and all of it points to God’s glory.

Near the center of the psalm is a picture of humans flourishing and radiant in the midst of a lively, colorful creation. People flourish because God causes them to flourish. Their faces shine because God provides oil for them, and their hearts are strengthened because God provides them with bread.

The phrase “bread that sustains their hearts” points not mainly to physical strength but to the inner strength we experience when we are well cared for. Our bodies may be weak and vulnerable, but our spirits within us can be resilient and strong. The confidence here is that God’s character is dependable because God gives bread—the bread of life.

O good and generous Creator, strengthen us in our inner being through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bible References

104 Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.

Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:

Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.

At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

10 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.

11 They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

12 By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;

15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

2 Corinthians 13

13 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:

Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.

For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.

10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.

11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.

13 All the saints salute you.

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

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