“The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor, and they cried out; and their cry for help ascended to God because of the difficult labor. So God heard their groaning, and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the Israelites, and He took notice” (Exodus 2:23-25, HCSB).
Hundreds of years had passed since Joseph was prime minister of Egypt and had urged his father, Jacob, and his brothers to move down to Egypt. From the original seventy migrants, the Israelites had grown into a huge nation probably numbering in the millions.
“So on October 2 the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God”
(Nehemiah 6:15-16, NLT
Nehemiah Chapter 6 recounts the extraordinary political intrigue taking place behind the scenes attempting to prevent Nehemiah and the Jews from rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
“The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many people for Me to hand the Midianites over to you, or else Israel might brag: ‘I did it myself.’” (Judges 7:2, HCSB).
Having proven to Gideon that He was present with him, God next demonstrated that His presence was all Gideon really needed to defeat the Midianites.
“The Lord will indeed vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants when He sees that their strength is gone” (Deuteronomy 32:36, HCSB).
Deuteronomy 32 is called the Song of Moses. It is a song that was intended to warn Israel through the ages of the consequences of apostasy and disobedience to God.
“What sorrow awaits you who say, If only the day of the Lord were here! You have no idea what you are wishing for. That day will bring darkness, not light” (Amos 5:18, NLT).
In these verses Amos confronts the distorted view of the Israelites concerning their status as God’s chosen people.
“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest” (Psalm 126:5-6, NLT).
Do you sometimes seem to be doing everything right and everything goes wrong?
You are faithful to God, planting seed for His Kingdom by serving and obeying Him in every way. Then, in the middle of your faithfulness and obedience, first one problem or tragedy strikes, then another, and then another.
“But Jesus said, You feed them. With what? they asked. We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!” (Mark 6:37, NLT).
Before Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand (or ten or fifteen thousand, actually), He first commanded the disciples to feed them!
Now His command could be interpreted in two ways. Either Jesus was commanding the disciples to let Him empower them to perform the miracle or He was trying to teach them a lesson about God’s miraculous provisioning.
We usually interpret His command to the disciples in terms of the latter, but let’s take the perspective that He was actually commanding them to feed the five or ten or fifteen thousand.