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34…moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.
35 When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, "This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late.
36 "Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat." 37 But He answered and said to them, "You give them something to eat." And they said to Him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?" 38 But He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they found out they said, "Five, and two fish." 39 Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. 41 And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. 42 So they all ate and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. 44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men. 45 Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. 46 And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray…52 For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.
I. God sometimes answers our requests by deepening our sense or experience of need
A. God sometimes deepens our dependence by undermining our strengths/competence (disciples- fishing/sea)
B. God reveals our need so we can actively and faithfully trust Him to meet it
C. Especially when tired, we default to our experience rather than looking to God’s expertise (specializes in the supernatural)
1. Class A miracles – Superceding of natural events: Elisha fed, manna, Peter and the Coin, resurrection
2. Class B miracles – Superintending of natural events: Answers to prayer or insight in a theological context
II. Nothing is too difficult for God
A. If He doesn’t have it, He can create it Jer 32:27 "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
B. God frequently meets our need by multiplying what we have yielded to Him (seed of faith, watered through prayerful dependence)
1. Time Eph 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
2. Strength/Effort Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
3. Finances/Material needs Pr 3:9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.
4. Knowledge/Talent/Skill Isa 58:10 If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday.11 The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
C. God multiplies what we have as we dedicate it to Him and wisely distribute it to others according to His purposes
III. In order to experience God’s blessing, we need to faithfully obey the Revelation of God
A. God has a philosophy and plan for all the significant areas of our lives (and any area can become significant) (Isa 55:8-9)
B. We complicate our lives by refusing to accept things as they REALLY are (God sovereign, good, loyal lover, just) (Nahum 1:7)
C. When focused on our needs and aspirations we fail to understand and benefit from following God’s plan (Pr 3:5-6)
D. When focused on obedience, looking at things from God’s perspective, we put ourselves in a place of exponential blessing
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. How is it that God can do “miracles” in a person’s life, yet they fail to fully follow, worship and obey Him? (Ungrateful lepers union)
2. What are the dangers of denying or trivializing miracles? How does expectancy differ from presumption?
3. Should we expect God to “do a miracle” in our lives every day, week, month, year, decade?
4. Why does God involve us in the miracle process? Is He hampered if we don’t place all we are and have at His disposal?
5. What do you have that God can use to glorify Himself and benefit others? What do you have to do to see it multiplied? (See TOYL Faithfulness)