Bread Alone

Lately, my quest for wisdom through the study of the book of Proverbs has run into a snag or two – well maybe more than a couple! I’ve been distracted with Deuteronomy and David, both of which have been enlightening, and aren’t all together all that divergent from the study of Proverbs.

In 1 Samuel, when David flees from Saul’s jealous rage, he goes to the priests at Nob, and there God provides for him the bread of the presence. The bread of the presence, a concept that even though I’m sure I’ve heard of it before, landed in my mind with such consequence that I can’t stop thinking about it.


The bread of the Presence:         The bread that was given to David by God

The Bread that was kept at the altar of God

The Bread offered at Wisdom’s table

The Bread of the Eucharist which is the body of Christ

The bread of Life offered by Christ

All of these “breads” are the symbol of God in our lives. We eat the bread that we may be at one with God, and that Christ (the Word, Wisdom) may live in us and we in him.

It’s interesting how in the study of scripture, the voice of Wisdom can be rather ADD, leading you in seemingly unrelated and opposing directions, only to circle back to the original thought. All the pieces are thrown at you in a whirlwind of ideas, like a fine tapestry that at first glance, tells a simple story, transforming into something else, when viewed at a middle distance, and changing again at close inspection, where it becomes evident that each of the individual threads has an entire story of its own, yet the ingenious way in which they are woven together is exactly what created the simple tale.


Proverbs 9:1-6 Wisdom’s Feast

In Matthew 22, Christ tells the parable of the King and the wedding banquet in which the king had prepared the feast (slaughtered his oxen and fat calves and mixed the wine), but those who had been invited refused to come, so he had his servants go out and gather people from the street corners to fill the wedding hall. This parable shares many of the same aspects as does Solomon’s tale of Wisdom’s feast. Wisdom has fashioned her seven pillars (principles) and prepared a place for us, has made everything ready, and stands by the door waiting for us to arrive.  The messengers have been sent forth, and are standing in the midst of our lives, calling out to us to take part in the banquet.

The goal is not to simply get to the table, but to eat from the table; to eat the bread and drink the wine that Wisdom has prepared. Wisdom’s table is not the culmination, but the commencement of the journey. Christ said to his disciples in John 6:26, “you seek me not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” Sitting at Wisdom’s table creates a hunger in us to “eat of the loaves,” to accept the bread of life and to drink of the cup of truth. And, the more we eat, the more we wish to eat, the more we understand, the more we wish to understand.

I just kept thinking of the Eucharist, of Christ blessing the bread, saying a prayer of thanksgiving for the wine, and noting how Holy Communion is connected to these passages Proverbs 9: “Come eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake all thoughtlessness and live; and walk in the way of understanding.”