40 years…….F-O-R-T-Y! That’s a long freaking time to walk. And for what or why?
Moses and the children of Israel wandered aimlessly through the dessert. Well, that’s not entirely true. They had a target. They had somewhere to be. An appointment with the Promised Land, but they chickened out.
Twelve guys went in to check it out and only two came back ready to obey God and take the land. Ten naysayers got loud and got their way.
Pessimism talks. And people listen.
But as people of faith, when God speaks we should let his clear directive ring in true in our hearts long after the doubting crowd has shuffled off to the next fad cause.
Listen. Believe. Obey.
I don’t always make the mark. Sometimes I just straight up fail. But we can’t afford to fail like those guys Moses sent out did. They delayed destiny, robbed a generation of their inheritance, and had to walk it off for forty years. YIKES!
You can read the story for yourself in Exodus through Deuteronomy in the Old Testament of the Bible.
I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. (John 17:4 ESV)
Knowing you have accomplished a great task is incredibly fulfilling. There is not quite anything like it. When I was growing up on the farm it was great getting that sense of accomplishment from finishing something that my dad had for me to do. Jesus’ Dad had set a task before him as well.
Jesus’ task was to bring about the salvation of mankind. He said himself that he came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” A task that he accomplished. Restoration was made ready. It is possible.
Jesus brought glory to His Father when he accomplished the task. When God sets a task before you accomplishing it brings glory to Him as well. And even sometimes when we fail, the simple act of pursuit and obedience is a way in which we bring Him glory. Because God gets glory when we long to be restored to relationship with Him. And if there is anything worth having been accomplished, it is bringing glory to God.
And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. (Mark 14:16 ESV)
Jesus told his disciples that if they went to a certain house and asked for it to be made available to them the owners would accommodate them. It worked out exactly like he had said. Interestingly, the Scriptures record that the disciples then prepared the Passover meal.
I don’t know how familiar you are with Passover but it is a long meal. It can last upwards of four hours and is quite the experience. Passover was a big deal for the Jews. Jesus took the opportunity at his final such meal with his disciples to reinforce some ideas. It was their final hours together as a group before his arrest. And the disciples prepared the Passover.
You see sometimes before God can do the work He wants to do, we have to prepare for it. Not that He needs us, or couldn’t work without us, but He chooses to accomplish things through us. Sometimes that season of preparation, no matter how long or short, is exactly what we need to experience us to position us for the great work God is about to do.
And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. (Mark 11:4 ESV)
As he was preparing to enter Jerusalem Jesus told some of his disciples to go and retrieve a colt for him to enter the city on. They obediently went ahead and discovered the colt just as he had said. They shared with the owners what Christ had said about the colt, promising to return it.
It may seem like a small detail, the guys finding the colt as Jesus had instructed, but it was actually a big deal. Hundreds of years prior the Old Testament prophet Zechariah predicted that Jesus would do just that. Jesus knew the scriptures. He knew his time was drawing near. So he commanded his followers and in their obedience discovered everything to be just as he said it would.
You and I may not always realize it, but I believe that Jesus is still regularly pointing out things that he would have us do. Not because he is testing us, or because he likes to keep us busy with some kind of religious fluff, but because he wants to bring us in on what he is up to.
Sometimes in order to be a part of that we have to step out in faith and obedience. We have to follow the Word of God. We have listen for the voice of God. And when the time comes that He speaks, and instructs, we have to go ahead to where He has sent us. We have to find the colt.
Matthew 15: 21-39
And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” (Matthew 15:34 ESV)
My son has just started trying to count things. He does it in the cutest little tone. It is just what you would expect from a toddler. The whimsical . . . One . . . the rising action of . . . Two . . . and the excited high pitch of the climactic . . . Threeeeeee!
When Jesus was teaching near the Sea of Galilee and a large crowd had followed him for several days he wanted to feed them. Knowing that they were under provisioned for the trip back to their homes and villages Jesus brought the disciples an opportunity to assist in a miracle that would provide for the people. He asked them how much food they had. They gathered their meager supply, turned it over to Jesus, and he performed the miraculous. All of the people present were fed, and then leftover food was gathered.
I am utterly convinced that God is on the lookout for an occasion to break into our lives and the lives of the people around us in a big way. I believe that he longs to partner with us to see it happen. Not so we can get any of the glory, but so that we can understand and celebrate the results of the miraculous.
However, if we are to be a part of what God is doing it means we will need to take inventory of our lives. We will need to see what is there, what do we love too much, what are we willing to part ways with, and what are willing to offer up for His service. As we identify that which God would use for His glorious purpose we will understand that same kind of whimsical joy-filled elation as a toddler learning to count for the first time.
And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. (Mark 10:50 ESV)
Blind Bartemeus sat by the road begging until the day he heard that Jesus was to pass by. It was an important day. He called for The Lord and despite the attempted interference of the mob he was able to connect with him. Jesus called to him.
It is when Jesus called to him that Blind Bart did something that made all the difference. Forgetting his disabling circumstances, the blind man threw aside his trappings, jumped up, and went to Jesus. Then Jesus healed him, and he immediately began to follow Christ.
I am convinced that often when we are in life’s difficult times that Jesus is calling to us. He is calling, and all we must do is throw off some of life’s trappings and run to him. Sometimes the faith of a motion made toward God is all it takes to change a circumstance.
Read: Matthew 14:15-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14
But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” (Luke 9:13 ESV)
Jesus was withdrawing to a secluded area to speak with his disciples following their return from being sent out to preach. But the crowds always learned where Jesus was, they always followed him, he always welcomed them, he always taught them, and he always healed them.
Jesus taught the people all day long. But the disciples were not as compassionate toward the crowds as Christ was. They wanted Jesus to send the people away. Jesus replied by commanding his followers to feed the crowds. Why did Jesus tell the apostles to feed the gathering? I think it was to force them to acknowledge their own inability, which they did.
When we position ourselves to acknowledge our inability, God will position us to be a conduit or agent for His immeasurable ability. When they recognized their weakness Jesus showed his power. When the apostles decided to obey is when the miraculous happened. Jesus satisfies those who realize their need for him. Jesus is always more than enough.