Know Your Bible

VOL. 11                                                                                                                             December 2, 2012                                                                                                                       NO. 45



It is about this time every year when the young folks start making their list of things they want, the older folks start making the list of things that have to be done by year’s end, and advertisers try to convince us that we don’t have all we need, that someone has something more than we do, and that we will be happier, healthier, prettier, and thinner if we would only buy what they’re trying to sell us.

It is a sad state of our society when we who have so much think we don’t have enough or that we even need anything else, but it has long been a materialistic world and we should really not be surprised when we see the seasonal display of materialistic greed in department stores and from the words of children who have learned it from their parents. We should not be surprised, but let us not be drawn into this way of thinking, either, as people of God. We should have our minds on higher and better things than the things of this earth (Col. 3:1, 2).

Far too often, we do get drawn into the material world’s thinking and we begin to think we cannot do the things we should because we are not as powerful/educated/rich/lucky as the next guy. We have a low estimation of our own abilities, opportunities, and resources, and we begin to think we really can’t do much or make any difference in the ungodly world in which we live. We begin to think, “This is all I have or am, and it doesn’t make any difference.”

If we are guilty of this, we need to stop thinking that way! That is a very pessimistic view — unfit for the child of God — and does not take into consideration who we are, as children of God, and what God has promised; neither does that mindset take into consideration the examples we have in God’s word that teach us sometimes a little is enough. Consider:

The Widow and Elijah. (1st Kings 17:8-16) During the time of the reign of King Ahab, Elijah had proclaimed a drought in the land, no doubt as punishment for the wickedness Ahab allowed and practiced in the land (cf. Deut. 11:17). During that time, Elijah came to a widow’s house in Sidon by command of the Lord, where God said she would provide for him during that time of lack and drought.

When he came to her house, he asked for a drink, and then asked for a piece of bread (vv. 10, 11). She replied, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die” (v. 12). The sad situation was that she had very little to eat and none, really, to give.

Elijah told her to go ahead and bring some bread as he had asked, and then to make some for herself and her son, telling her, “The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth” (v. 13). She had little for herself, and little to give to others, but with God, it was enough!

David and Goliath. (1st Sam. 17) We all probably remember the story of David and Goliath, and we may remember that when David went out to meet Goliath on the battlefield, he did so without armor and without much in the way of weaponry. He took with him his sling and five smooth stones (v. 40) as the only weapons against this giant of a man who had known battle since his youth, and when Goliath saw him, he scoffed and said, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” and cursed him (v. 43).

While David had only the five stones and his sling, Goliath came with a spear “like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels” (v. 7); right away, it looks like David is at a disadvantage, but David boldly stated, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you” (vv. 45, 46). Of course, David was right. With the little he had — and with God — David achieved certain victory!

Jesus and the Multitude. (John 6:5-14) Once, when Jesus was in the region of Galilee, great crowds followed Him because of the signs He had performed on others in healing them. When He looked out over the crowd, He asked His disciples, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” (v. 5). Philip noted to Him that they had only 200 denarii, and that would not buy enough bread for the crowds (v. 7), while Andrew noted to Jesus that there was a young boy who had with him “five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” (vv. 8, 9). To these men, they did not have enough.

But Jesus told the disciples to tell the people to sit down and He took the bread and fish, gave thanks, and gave it to the disciples, who then gave it to those who were sitting down (vv. 10, 11). There was not only enough, there were 12 baskets of leftovers when all the people had eaten until they were filled (vv. 12, 13)! While it seemed like they did not have enough, with God, it was enough!

Peter and John and the Lame Man. (Acts 3:1-10) At the beginning of the spread of the gospel, the disciples Peter and John were walking to the temple when a man who had been lame since birth and who was sitting at the gate of the temple asked alms of them. The apostles looked intently on the man, Peter told the man to look at them, and then he said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (vv. 4-6). Peter and John didn’t have much of what this man wanted, but they gave him something far more valuable! What this man learned was a ‘little’ with God can mean great things!

For us today, we are sometimes guilty of thinking we have little to offer to the world or to God when we need to remember that if we are with God and He with us, we have all we need. When the world comes looking for material offerings from us — whether at the worship assembly or to us personally — and see that we have little in the ways of helping them out in the way they think will ‘help’ them, take the time to show them we have something far more valuable in God’s word and in the hope of eternal life. Let us not follow after those who now resort to material offerings to draw people into the building on Sundays; those things may draw them in, but they do nothing for their souls. Use the ‘little’ you have and lead them to the eternal riches the world could never offer them.

Instead of thinking we have little or are little, let us remember that when we stand with God and when we take God with us wherever we go, we have enough, and we often have more than what others can comprehend. As Art Williams used to say, “All you can do is all you can do, but all you can do is enough.” While our ‘little’ that we have seems insufficient when compared to the world’s resources and offerings, remember that we can do all through Christ (Phlp. 4:13), so do what you can do.

Remember the widow and Elijah; remember David and Goliath; remember Jesus and the 5,000; and remember Peter and John and the lame man. What we have, let us give it to those who have need. With God, it will be more than enough.            

---Stephen Harper

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More than 40% of all babies born in the U. S. in 2011 were born to unmarried women . . . 1,606,087 babies were born to unmarried women and 2,347,506 were born to married women. Although the percentage of babies born to unmarried women was highest among teens, the percentage of babies delivered by unmarried women of older ages also increased from 2010 to 2011.

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Hebrews 13:4  “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

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