Summary: Learn how to successfully use life’s problems to your advantage.

Problems. Problems.

Psalms 23:4 - Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Keep that verse in your thinking as we get into the Word this morning.

Problem: - a perplexing situation or question; a question presented for cosideration, solution or discussion.

There are all kinds of problems in life. We talked about Jonah a few weeks ago, and I how he caused his problems in his life. Sometimes we can cause our own problems, sometimes the devil causes us problems; however; we want to be careful when blaming the devil for everything, because we don’t want to give him more credit than he’s worth. alot of times, he had nothing to do with it. Listen, the devil isn’t omnipotent like God is, in other words, he’s not everywhere all the time, like God is.

When we were in college we had math problems. **Example- algebra problem at UNM.

Theses types of problems were given to us to challenge us. And that’s what I want to talk to you about this morning. I want you to be able to tell the difference, between a problem that satan has thrown at you, and a problem God has given you to test you in a certain area.

See, alot of times, God is trying to challenge us, and we just dismiss it as the work of the devil (because it maybe somewhat of a hardship) and as a result, we never pass the test, so to speak.

Turn with me to the Gospel of John 6:1-6

The bible says here, that Jesus was testing Phillip with this problem/challenge. And it was a challenge indeed, in verse 10, we read that there were 5,000 men here which is a pretty large crowd. But when you read this account in Matthew’s Gospel 14:21, is says there were 5,000 men, besides women and children.

Now, Jewish tradition would’ve forbidden the womwn and children to sit down and eat with the men; thus, we can know that the women and children were seated seperatley from the men on the mountainside and were not included in the figure of 5,000.

If we add to that number of 5,000 men all the women and children who accompanied then, we find that this easily could have been a crowd of 30,000 or more. Just as 5,000 husbands, 5,000 wives, and approximately 5 children for each family, and you’ll reach 30,000 people.

Remember the people of Israel believed that children were a blessing from the Lord, and they tried to have as many as possible, so actually, this is probably and undersestimation here. There easily could have been more than 30,000.

But anyway, I said all that to say this: There was an enormous amount of people that has followed Jesus up the hillside that day.

So, this is definately a Problem that Jesus challenges Philip with here. The disciples weren’t prepeared to throw a banquet for 30,000 people. They’re up on a mountain, no stores for miles around.

The bible says Jesus already knew what He was going to do, but He did this to test Philip. The KJV uses the word “prove” which is the greek word Peiradzo which decribes “a test to reveal the quality of a material substance”.

For instance, the word Peiradzo was used to depict the proces of testing the quality of metal, to see if it was superb or inferior. As the metal was put throught multiple degrees of intense fires, impurities which were hidden to the natural eye, would begin to rise to the surface. It was designed to expose any type of deficency.

See, this is the way people are to, you may think you know a person, but the real character and qualities begin to surface under pressure or hardship. ****Listen, some people are just the nicest Christians you’ve ever been around, and the minute some trial comes there way, they lose it.

It’s easy to believe to God and stand in faith when everythinng’s going our way, but when some trial comes our way, can we still stand in faith? Or do we begin to panic and retreat a little bit.

So, this was the kind of test Jesus was presenting to his disciples, a test to exspose the true level and quality of their faith. He didn’t need their help, He already knew what he was going to do; but he knew that there was someting about a new problem that accentuates any weak area in a person’s life.

***Example- when your son gets sick, etc...

Let’s see how the disciples handled this test.

John 6:7-9 - They panic. But for no reason, they’ve already seen him do numerous miracles, besides look how it turned out.

John 6:10-14 - They had more afterwards than what they had when they got into the problem in the 1st place. See, if we let God handle our problems, we’ll be better off when we get through the challenge. Problems are opportunities for advancement, that’s why God tests us sometimes, he wants to advance us.

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