Summary: God cares about our natural needs as well as our spiritual needs. Using Jesus’ feeding of the 5000, the author examines God’s wisdom in the way He meets our needs.
God’s Provision for You
July 5, 2009
I take as my subject this morning, “God’s Provision for You.” God is not only concerned about your spiritual wellbeing; but He cares about your natural needs as well. We are talking about the God who clothes the lilies of the field. Our God even watches over sparrows. And when Jesus talked about that, he assured his listeners with these words. “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7). Never underestimate God’s interest in your wellbeing. He knows exactly what you’re facing in your life right now. He knows what your needs are. He has every intention of supplying those needs.
Today we will watch Jesus supply needs when he feeds the five thousand. That story is so important that it is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. I want to talk with you about three ways God blesses us as He meets our natural needs in life. Initially you may not think the first blessing is a blessing; but it really is. How God blesses us while providing for our needs.
1st God let’s us feel our need for provision.
That is really the beginning of the miracle. Miracles always begin with problems. God parted the Red Sea for Israel because they had a fairly significant problem. Pharaoh’s army was coming to destroy them. The woman with the issue of blood experienced a miraculous healing, because she desperately needed one. Lazarus would have never been raised from the dead if he hadn’t died. We’ve got to learn to see problems as preludes to miracles. Amen? The problem is not the end of the story; the problem is the beginning of the story.
So the story about Jesus feeding the 5000 begins with a significant shortage of supplies. Most of us are like the disciples; we’re real good at identifying the shortage. Anybody here short on money? Anybody here need job security? Anybody here need some bills paid? Anybody here got more vision that you’ve got resources? That’s OK. The beginning of the miracle is the problem.
Look with me at John 6:5. Here Jesus calls Phillip’s attention to a problem. “Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" How does a person react to question like that when it’s coming from Jesus? Am I supposed to come up with a solution to this problem? My solutions usually have serious flaws. I think my answer would have been something similar to Phillip’s. “Lord, I don’t have a clue how to solve this problem.”
Rather than giving a solution to the problem, Phillip just tells Jesus how serious the situation is. John 6:7 “Philip answered Him, ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.’” How many know, it is much easier to talk about how serious the problem is that to offer a meaningful solution? It’s almost humorous to watch Philip and the other disciples grope for answers. Jesus must have asked this question to Philip in front of the other disciples. The question was to them as well as Philip. Now watch them struggle to find an answer. John 6:8-9 “One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" Now here is the way Andrew is thinking: we’ve got to somehow divide up this tiny resource among us all. Andrew is not thinking multiplication; he’s thinking division. This is a key flaw in his thinking. Jesus is thinking multiplication; “be fruitful and multiply.” Very few pastors will plant churches out of their existing church because they are only thinking division. Their mathematics says, “If I give 15% of my congregation away, I have made an 85/15 split. I only have 85% of what I had.” Faith says, “If I give 15% of my congregation away in obedience to God, He will honor my faith with a multiplication.” Luke 6:38
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” A lot depends upon your system of mathematics.
Mathew’s account gives us a little more of the conversation. They said to Jesus, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the village and buy themselves food” (Matt. 14:15). Their solution is no solution at all. Let’s just send them all away hungry. No, Jesus had asked about feeding them; not sending them away. Have you ever said something to Jesus that sounded a little like this? “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late.” I’m not happy with where I am and it’s high time things get better! So far what the disciples have had to offer Jesus is nothing more than a depressing description of the problem.