Prison Diet

Ecclesiastes is the third of three books that David’s son Solomon wrote in his life. The first being Song of Solomon, the second, Proverbs. Written late in his life, Ecclesiastes is a book with one major theme: a life without God is a useless, vain existence. In these particular verses Solomon deals with the simple truth that even eating and drinking without God brings emptiness. But he point us forward to what was to come…an eternally satisfying diet called the “prison diet.”

The theology of contentment. That sounds like something from a “new-age” pamphlet. But in reality, it is a powerful truth from the very heart of God. It is a desire of His heart for us. Get that…it is His desire for us.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. (1 Tim.6:6-8)

By definition, contentment is “an internal satisfaction which does not demand changes in external circumstances.” It is a freedom from wanting because of what we already possess. That is what a life in Christ is all about. (See WORD WISDOM for a deeper study of possess)

Solomon reminds us that we can find contentment in the simple pleasures of eating and drinking. But, what could we possibly eat and drink that would give us eternal satisfaction? That quintessential prison diet…bread and water.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus declares Himself to be a special kind of bread.

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (Jn.6:32-35)

Manna had the educational purpose of teaching them to depend of God for all their needs. Later Moses explained that although manna was a physical miracle, its purpose was to teach the spiritual lesson that God is the source of all our life. Moses said,

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Deut.8:3)

This bread is a spiritual food that gives life. It is a bread that lasts for all eternity for those who believe and receive Him. The one who eats this bread will never grow hungry again. It is an everlasting filling of our spirits.  

Also in John’s Gospel, Jesus explains to the woman at the well that He is a very special kind of water.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (Jn.4:13-14)

Jesus was the source of a kind of water that no one else could give. It was no ordinary water. Those who drink His water would never thirst again. In fact, that water “wells up” in a believer and continuously gives life. This water gives one eternal life! So what kind of water is Jesus talking about? He gives us the answer later in John 7:38-39.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (Jn.7:38-39)

Jesus used “water” as a symbol for the Holy Spirit!. He gives us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, seal us and fill us. Notice that Jesus is talking about “rivers of living water”…rivers of living water that are flowing out of believers.

In that we cannot experience enjoyment and contentment absent of God in natural, physical eating and drinking, we could never expect to find eternal joy and satisfaction in our spirit being outside of Jesus. We are not destined to subsist on a prison diet…we are destined for a diet of abundance and freedom.

The great philosopher, Socrates said, “He is richest who is content with the least.” But as believers, we must disagree. We are not content with the least…we are content with the most…Jesus! Amen!

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