“Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”” (Mark 8:14–21)
The disciples missed two important lessons during these verses because of their focus on themselves. Jesus was trying to tell them to watch out for unsound teaching and politics. The Pharisees and Sadducees teachings were warped and against the gospel message that Jesus was trying to teach as was the politics of the Herodians. When the disciples heard Jesus mention of this they immediately focused on their lack of food and their own hunger instead of being receptive to Jesus’ teaching. Jesus even asked them if they recalled the excess of food when He miraculously fed the 5,000 and the 4,000 but after they answered He followed it with a question because apparently the answer was “no” they didn’t understand yet.
How often do we let our own concerns get in the way of spiritual lessons that God want’s to teach us? How often are we worried about what we are owed, how we are going to pay bills, where our groceries are going to come from, or our being alone and lonely instead of focusing on what God is trying to teach us? While I write this I’m going through the same thing, I have unfulfilled desires and deep pain that I long for God to heal. And, yes I’m guilty and convicted by what I’m writing right now. I think this is a lesson for us all to pay heed to.
Maybe instead of pointing a finger at a problem day after day we need to approach God in humility and ask what He is trying to teach us through our affliction and oppression. Maybe we need to ask God to change us in a way that we can receive the blessings that He has for us instead of complaining to Him day after day.
“You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them,” or [by asking], “Where is the God of justice?”“ (Malachi 2:17)
Has He not promised to fulfill all of our needs? “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) Maybe He is asking us to focus on Him so that He can change us in some way before supplying those needs. Let us not forget that He is God and not a vending machine. His ways and timing are perfect and we do need to petition Him with our needs. Maybe before we do though we need to be reminded that the things of this world will pass away and when they do our relationship with Him will be what remains.
Most Holy God, we bow at Your feet humbled by this message. Holy Spirit, I thank you for giving me this devotion and convicting me through it. Thank You for reminding us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) God, teach us and make us into the vessels for Your service that You would have us to be. Carry out Your plans for our lives and open our eyes to You so that we can center ourselves on Your teaching and Your will for us. Help us to keep in perspective that the things of this earth are fleeting and that our relationship with You is what is important. God, I love You and I thank You for promising Your provision to me, please forgive me of wearying You with my words. Help me to learn and to trust in You and Your faithfulness to provide for my needs. Help me to be centered on You so that the desires of my heart will be aligned with Your will and so that I can see Your faithfulness in fulfilling them. God, I pray blessings over every brother and sister who read this devotion, that You would draw them near to Yourself and that You would fulfill their needs and desires according to Your perfect will. I claim the cleansing and saving blood of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior and it is in the authority of His name that I pray. AMEN!!!