Have you ever asked why God has not answered a prayer? Does he care? Could it be that it’s too early for him to answer? Could it be that he plans on answering at noon, but it’s not twelve o’clock yet?
I want us to understand the power of the one who answers prayer.
We will discuss how God provides even sexually, the abundant life, who is the Jesus here, not missing the real deal and the timing of God’s providence.
God Provides even Sexually
One of the readings for today covers David’s mistake with Bathsheba. Do we trust God to provide even sexually? In this week’s Gospel lesson is an example of how God provides (Mark 6:1-21). Of course we usually think that applies to food, but it also applies to other aspects of our lives. David did not trust God to provide for him sexually and so took a woman who was not his right to have (2 Samuel 11:1-15). Throughout life we will all be tempted just like David was, but the consequences of giving in to that temptation, of not trusting God to provide, are destruction of our own lives. That is why it is so important to be reminded by the Lord’s Prayer to pray constantly not to be led into temptation. God will provide, even what we need in our hearts (Ephesians 3:14-21) “to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine”.
What is the Abundant Life
Do we trust God’s way as leading to the abundant life? Jesus promised the abundant life (John 10:10). As our Great Shepherd he promised to lead us to a spiritual pasture that provides real food to fulfill our most important needs and our deepest longings. In the beatitudes, Jesus promised real happiness in his kingdom, real comfort in a world of joy, a permanent inheritance in the land. He promised we would be filled, receive mercy, that we would see God and be called the children of God (Matthew 5). Mark 6:1-21 reveals a theology of abundance as God provides food when the cupboard is bare and we need to feed a small army. He provides buoyancy when sinking seems inevitable. Though our physical resources are small, God can multiply them. Though our physical abilities would not normally allow us to walk on water, with God’s help we can.
Who is the Jesus here
In one church where we attended, some of the people wanted to organize a 500 mile trip to hear a certain evangelist. I was not interested and told them I prefer Jesus and him I find a lot closer to home. We often look to mere human beings to save us. Sometimes we even rely on our own strength to save us. Yet, who is the Jesus here? As we examine the story of Jesus feeding the great crowd of people with just five loaves and a couple of fish and Jesus walking on the rough and windblown waters during the night (Mark 6:1-21), perhaps it is good to ask, who is the Jesus here? When we need miraculous provision of urgent needs or to walk on water, let's remember who is the Jesus here. It is not us.
Let’s not miss the real meal
As we read of Jesus’ miraculous provision of physical food (Mark 6:1-21), let’s not miss the real meal. Physical provision lasts a day. Spiritual provision lasts forever. After Jesus’ had miraculously provided for the nourishment of a large crowd, he withdrew to a mountain alone. They wanted to make him a king. They looked to the material world for answers, a physical meal and a worldly king. Yet Jesus was the king of kings, the bread from heaven. Digesting Jesus is hard even for Christians. A materialistic health-wealth gospel is more readily popular than the gospel of Jesus. The outwardly visible icing on a church’s cake is often more popular than the message of the kingdom within. It is easy to get caught up in the music, liturgy, politics, fellowship and pot-luck meals and miss the bread of heaven.
It’s not twelve o’clock yet
Through prayer alone George Müller trusted God to provide. For 64 years he “cared for and educated over 18,000 children; educated over 100,000 more in other schools at the Orphanage's expense; distributed hundreds of thousands of Bibles and tens of millions of religious tracts; supported about 150 missionaries; travelled over 200,000 miles as a missionary himself; and shared the Gospel with over 3 million people around the world.” He prayed and God provided. By the time he died at age 93 God had supplied the equivalent of $150 million in today’s money. Once close to lunchtime there was no food to feed the orphans and a worried assistant came to Müller who replied, “It’s not twelve o’clock yet.” Then a truck filled with needed food arrived unsolicited. God provides in impossible circumstances (Mark 6:1-21).
God provides. He does care. He wants us to experience the abundant life. Sometimes we have to wait until his time. It’s not twelve o’clock yet.