The Chosen – Book Three – Day 34

Day 34

LOAVES AND FISH

Part 3

“Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.” (Mark 6:39-44)

The people were satisfied-which isn’t something we hear very often because we humans rarely are. Not only did Jesus turn five loaves and two fish into a meal for thousands, but there were also twelve baskets of leftovers-one for every disciple to fill up, stare at, and wonder why he never doubted Jesus in the first place. By this point they’d experienced so many miracles, they should’ve considered the problem an opportunity for Jesus to do another awesome thing. Unfortunately, the disciples were too much like us: often full of confusion, fear, and doubt.

Alas, we’re so slow to learn. In spite of the disciples’ cluelessness, the people were fed and the baskets were full-and we all get to benefit from the story, because the truth is, our lives would radically change if our perspective on God’s generous provision would change.

If only we believed the Bible when it says He pours out blessings on His children.

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” (Malachi 3;10)

If only we understood that, for those who follow Jesus, God’s provision is continual and bountiful and soul-satisfying.

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

If only we truly comprehended His grace and what it has accomplished on our behalf.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:7-10)

Bless the disciples’ hearts. It would take a few more years and about fourteen more chapters in the Gospel of Mark for the early followers of Jesus to really get it. To understand that no matter the circumstances, God’s faithfulness to provide would prevail. Thankfully, in the end they got it, and it enabled them to go into all the world proclaiming the truth about Jesus, even unto death (Mark 16:14-20). They’d seen and experienced too much to do anything other than lean in, offer their loaves and fish, and trust that the same One who fed the masses would generously provide all things.

And He did.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

PRAYER FOCUS

Acknowledge that God has the power to do all things. Thank Him that He promises to satisfy the needs of His children and ask for help to believe Him. Pray for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with those who are lost, trusting that God will provide the words, time, and resources required. Thank Him for allowing you to be part of His great work.

MOVING FORWARD

  • Do you believe that God generously provides for those who follow Jesus? Why or why not?
  • What’s the difference between having everything you want and being satisfied?
  • Read 2 Corinthians 9:8. What is the natural result of God’s abundant provision?

 

 

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Daily Scripture Series – Feb. 3rd

“You know me, Lord.” (Jeremiah 22:3)

Only God knows the deepest realities of the human heart. Whatever we see of one another, no matter how attentive or insightful it might be, is only a shadow of the truth. But God sees deeper than the shadows. “You know me, Lord,” the prophet Jeremiah said; “you see me”. God’s knowledge of us isn’t theoretical or cerebral. He doesn’t observe us from a distance. Rather, He peers into the hidden realities of who we are. God knows the depths of our interior lives, even those things we struggle to understand ourselves.

No matter our struggles or what’s going on in our hearts, God sees us and truly knows us.

Daily Questions

  1. What makes you feel alone, isolated, or unseen?
  2. How does it change things to realize that God knows you?

Daily Thoughts

Dear God, this world can be a lonely place, but we’re astounded at how truly You know us. It fills us with wonder and joy.

Jeremiah 12:1-3

You are always righteous, Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts. Yet you know me, Lord; you see me and test my thoughts about you. Drag them off like sheep to be butchered! Set them apart for the day of slaughter!

Bonus Information

Jeremiah 1:1 reads, “The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.” This opening for the book gives us a surprising amount of information about this prophet-information we don’t receive about some other prophets in the Old Testament. He’s of the Levitical priestly line and starts his journey as a resident of Anathoth, a village a few miles northeast of Jerusalem-a city given to Aaron’s descendants (Joshua 21:15-19). His father, Hilkiah, was himself a priest who no doubt would’ve expected his son to follow in his footsteps. Jeremiah, however, pursued his calling as a prophet rather than following his father as a priest. The name Jeremiah can mean “Jehovah establishes or exalts” or “Jehovah hurls down.” That last option may in fact speak into the prophet’s message, which has to do with God’s judgment of Jerusalem and the Southern kingdom of Judah.

 

The Chosen – Book Three – Day 33

Day 33

LOAVES AND FISH

Part 2

“And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ And they said to him, ‘Shall we go and buy two hundred denaril worth of bread and give it to them to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘How many loaves do you have? Go and see.’ And when they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.'” (Mark 6:35-38)

“You give them something to eat. You. These people that I love are not someone else’s problem. I have, in fact, made them your problem.” Ok, that’s not a direct quote, but you get the idea because Jesus had actually created the circumstances the disciples now found themselves in. After all, He was the one who talked for a really long time in a desolate place-too long, actually, because now the crowd was hungry, and the hour was late.

Of course, it wasn’t in the disciples’ power or pocketbook to feed so many. For goodness’ sake, they’d just come back from the mission field where all their needs had to be met by God because they had nothing. And He often used other people to provide. “Jesus charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff-no bread, no bag, no money in their belts-but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, ‘Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there.'” (Mark 6:8-10).

So, different scenario, same God. The One now telling the disciples to feed the people was the same One who told them to take nothing on their journey because He was going to provide in their moments of need, be it food and shelter through the hospitality of others or through straight-up miracles. And big things happened as a result. “So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them” (Mark 6:12-13).

Here they were in need again, only this time they were the hosts, and they were flummoxed. How could that be? These guys had just been empowered by Jesus to heal in His name when He wasn’t even with them. Yet not one of them considered that He was the solution to the food crisis. Listen closely and you just might hear faint knocking on hollow heads because, honestly, they should’ve known better.

Perhaps being exhausted made them forget. Or perhaps every new situation requires a refresher course in faith. Either way, Jesus was patient with their sarcastic question (Shall we go and buy two hundred denarri worth of bread and give it to them to eat?) and posed one of His own: “How many loaves do you have?” In other words, “The people in front of you are in need, and you have access to the One who (1) loves them, and (2) has power to do all things. So, bring Me what you have: your small-but-growing faith and a little boy’s lunch (John 6:9), because provision originates and abounds from My hands.”

Spoiler alert. Everyone got fed that day and it was the disciples who handed it out. Jesus didn’t make food appear in people’s laps (although He easily could have). Instead, He enlisted His followers to help. What a gift that was, not only for the hungry crowd, but also for the men who got to lean in and see a whole new kind of miracle, as well as people dearly loved by God being satisfied and forever changed.

But more on that in a minute.

PRAYER FOCUS

Thank God for being the great provider. Thank Him for the specific ways He’s caring for you now. Bring Him any need that has caused you to feel overwhelmed or afraid. Ask Him to take your little offering of faith and to use you to care for others in need.

MOVING FORWARD

  • What is your greatest need right now?
  • What are some needs around you that God wants you to lean into? If you don’t know, ask Him to show you.
  • What are some things God has already provided you with (money, time, talent, influence, etc.) that you could offer up to be used by Him?

 

Daily Scripture Series – Feb. 2nd

“Josiah would not listen to what Necho had said at God’s command.” (2 Chronicles 35:22)

Refusing to listen can have unfortunate consequences. One tragic example of this is from the life of Josiah, a good and faithful king. When Necho, the king of Egypt, marched through Judah’s territory to help Assyria in battle against Babylon, Josiah went out to counter him. Necho sent messengers telling Josiah, “God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me” (2 Chronicles 35:21). God really did send Necho, but Josiah “would not listen to what Necho had said at God’s command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo”. Josiah was fatally injured in the battle, “and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him.”

Josiah, who loved God, discovered that insisting on his own way without taking the time to listen to Him or His wisdom through others never ends well. May God give us the humility we need to always check ourselves and take His wisdom to heart.

Daily Questions

  1. What do you need God’s wisdom for in your life?
  2. What will you do to listen to Him today?

Daily Thoughts

Ever wise and loving God, help us to be humble and to listen for Your wisdom today. Thank You that when we ask for wisdom, You give generously…without finding fault.

2 Chronicles 35:20-27

After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order. Necho king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah marched out to meet him in battle. But Necho sesnt messengers to him, saying, “What quarrel is there, king of Judah, between you and me? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry, so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.”

Josiah, however, would not turn away from him, but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Necho had said at God’s command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo.

Archers shot King Josiah, and he told his officers, “Take me away; I am badly wounded.” So they took him out of his chariot, put him in his other chariot and brought him to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried in the tombs of his ancestors, and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him.

Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments.

The other events of Josiah’s reign and his acts of devotion in accordance with what is written in the Law of the Lord-all the events, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.

Bonus Information

The arrangement of the Old Testament books in our modern-day Bibles differs from the Hebrew Scriptures of the first century AD; the content, however, is the same. The book divisions in our Bibles are based on the type of literature (history, poetry, and prophecy). The Hebrew Scriptures in Jesus’ day were a compilation of twenty-four books (scrolls) that were divided into three major sections: the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings. The arrangement was essentially chronological. Second Chronicles was in the “Writings” section. It was the last book of the Hebrew Bible.