Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 9 November 2022:
1 Kings 20:14 – Then he said, “Who shall begin the battle?” He answered, “You.”
What a powerful verse! God’s plan requires a faithful servant to lead the way. Too often, God’s people are all waiting for someone else to step up. Who shall begin the battle? Why not you?
1 Kings 20:22 — Come, strengthen yourself, and consider well what you have to do, for in the spring the king of Syria will come up against you.
The war is not won in a single battle. Don’t grow complacent in your successes; prepare immediately for the next battle.
1 Kings 20:23 — But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.
No strategy can overcome the power of God.
1 Kings 20:28 — I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.
God gives you victories for His glory, not for your glory. Never make the mistake of trying to share glory with God in your successes.
1 Kings 20:35-43 — God expects instant, willing, total obedience.
1 Kings 20:42 — Thus says the LORD, “Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people.”
Once again, partial obedience to God is disobedience to God, not something God takes lightly. Either God is honored by you as God or not. He cannot be a God in your life and not Sovereign in your life. Casual sin is cosmic treason against The Almighty.
John 6:5, 6 — Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
Jesus will put you in impossible situations to test your faith. You may have heard it said, “God will not ask you to do anything you are not capable of doing.” This is not true. God will regularly ask you to do what you can’t do so that you can see what He can do through you, building your faith in Him and revealing Himself to the world around you as others see the power of God in your life. It doesn’t take faith to do what you know you can do. It takes faith to obey God when you know you can’t. This is where you experience God.
John 6:15 – Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
The people thought they needed a political leader; Jesus knew they needed a Savior. The same is true today. Jesus was not seeking political power but to glorify the Father on earth. The people wanted a king who would give them what they wanted on earth. Jesus came as King to call people to seek God’s will rather than their own will, not to build for themselves kingdoms on earth but to serve the Kingdom of God.
John 6:19-20 – When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
Jesus’ presence should bring peace, not fear.
John 6:27 — Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.
For what are you working? Many people are defined by their careers, their personal goals, or their accomplishments. You should be defined by Jesus.
Observe how much Christian conversation to unbelievers is about how to receive the blessings of God on earth (security, prosperity, comfort, success, happiness, etc) rather than how to become one with Jesus Christ.
John 6:35, 36 — I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
It is spiritual nourishment that people need which comes only through Jesus. Obesity is a problem in America, though there is a spiritual famine in the land. We feed the hungry by giving them Jesus, the only Bread that brings life. Are we telling the starving about Jesus Christ, or are we pointing to other ways to get fed – religion, philosophy, self-help, politics, ethics, morals, values, positive mental attitude, personal finances, counseling, etc? Do we think that just because we call ourselves Christians that our “self-help” advice to others is any less offensive to the Father who has offered His Son as the only answer?
Contrary to what some might say, seeing is not believing. Many people say they simply don’t have enough evidence to believe in Jesus, but their problem is not a knowledge problem, it is a heart problem.
“We know how to use physical bread. Whenever we are hungry we simply go and eat. Do we do that spiritually? Jesus said if we believe in Him, we will never be spiritually hungry, or malnourished, for He is the “bread of life.” Every time we face a spiritual need, it is a simple matter of going to Christ and allowing Him to provide us with what we need.
Our problem is that sometimes we interpret Scripture based on our own experience. We say, “Yes, but I remember a time when I was spiritually hungry.” If that is true, then either God did not tell the truth, or we misinterpreted our experience. Could it be that we tried to satisfy our spiritual hunger with human resources? Could it be that we relied so heavily upon friends and the experiences of others that we have never learned how to go to Christ for our own spiritual food? Could it be that we had a great spiritual feast several years ago, and we were so “full” of Christ that we thought we would never have to eat again? We grew lean and hungry because we were still operating on an encounter with God we had years ago. If you are lacking something spiritually, it is not because God does not have an abundance of resources prepared and available for you. It is that you have not come to Him in faith as He invites (John 10:10).
When God gave manna in the wilderness, the children of Israel had to go out each day to receive God’s daily provision. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ Spiritual nourishment is something you must seek daily. Have you found spiritual food from Christ today? (John 6:35)” (Henry T. Blackaby)
John 6:37, 44, 45, 63, 65 — All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out…. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me…. It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all…. This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.
God chose you before you chose Him. God took the initiative in your relationship with Him. Had he not, you would not have a relationship with Him – “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Life comes from the Spirit not from human effort. The fact that you were Chosen by God for eternal life should drive you to true worship, surrender, obedience, and love.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:4, 5 — For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.
John 6:38 — For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
Jesus proclaimed that His life purpose was to do the will of the Father. This is your life purpose too. How are you doing?
John 6:40 — For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
The will of the Father is to reconcile people to Him through Jesus that they would have eternal life with Him. You have been given this message and ministry of reconciliation on earth. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) How are you doing?
John 6:60-61, 66 — When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?” … After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
Jesus knew that many people would not accept Him and His teachings, but He also knew that those drawn to Him by the Father would. So, Jesus boldly proclaimed the truth, let the Spirit work, and did not worry about rejection. Are you withholding the Name of Jesus Christ from your daily conversations in order to avoid some sort of professional or social rejection? Do you think that it is wise to be “subtle” with the Gospel in order to avoid ostracization? Too often, Christians justify cowardice as tactfulness. Better to ere on the side of boldness. God, not us, determines who will accept Jesus. Do not miss your opportunity to say the Name today.
John 6:65 — And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
“Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth, He never seemed intimidated by the crowds. Instead, He looked into the multitudes and focused on those whom His Father was sending to Him. Jesus knew that because of sin, no one naturally seeks after God. Sinful man’s inclination is to hide from God, rather than to come to Him (Gen. 3:8; Ps. 14:1-3). Therefore, whenever Jesus saw that the Father was drawing a person to Himself, Jesus immediately began relating to that person.
Jesus observed the great lengths to which the despised tax collector, Zacchaeus, had gone in order to see Him pass by. In response, Jesus immediately left the crowd and spent time with this man in whom the Father was obviously working (Luke 19:1-10). When Jesus noticed a man following after Him, Jesus spoke to Andrew, “Come!” (John 1:39). Every time the disciples experienced a new insight into the truths of God, Jesus recognized that it was the Father who had been at work in their lives (Matt. 16:17).
As the multitudes gathered around Jesus, He spoke some truths that were difficult for the people to grasp (John 6:60). So challenging were His words that many of His listeners departed, but Jesus did not become discouraged. He saw that the Father was working in the lives of His disciples, and that is where Jesus invested His time. As you desire to spend time alone with Jesus, recognize that this is the Father drawing you to His Son. You do not seek quiet times with God in order to experience Him. The fact that He has brought you to a place of fellowship with Him is evidence that you are already sensing His activity. As you read the Scriptures and pray, trust that God will honor your response to His leading by teaching you more about Himself.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
John 6:70 — Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”
Few people saw more of Jesus than Judas, yet Judas still rejected Jesus. All the Bible study in the world and all the religious activity in the world can’t substitute for genuine faith that surrenders in trust and obedience to Jesus. In the end, Judas’ religion was selfishly motivated, seeking personal gain rather than to truly love and honor Jesus. Search your heart to understand what you really want from Jesus. Do you want blessings and reward or simply Him?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 9 November 2022: Share the Gospel with someone today, and trust God with the response. Today, search your heart and consider why you practice your faith. Are you seeking the blessings of Jesus or Jesus Himself? Do you want comfort and security or unity with God, a truly loving relationship with Him? If you are honest, you will see that you have mixed motives. Pray earnestly for a pure heart and wholehearted desire for Jesus alone. (John 6:70)