Abundant Supply

“What is man that you are mindful of him? The son of man that you care for him?” So asks the Bible in several places.

Indeed, what is man that God should spare him a second thought? Is man a miniature version of God, with all the qualities and all the abilities of God Himself – just at a reduced level?

After all, the Bible does say that God made man in His image. So, are we all ‘mini-gods?’

Or is humanity so vastly different to God that it is hard to find any point of similarity between the two? For the Bible also says that God is not a man that He should lie, or a son of man that he should change is mind.

The reality is that there is a vast, immeasurable gulf between us and God. If we could picture it, it would be like comparing a grain of sand to Mt Everest.

Except that you could quantify the difference between a grain of sand and Mt Everest. You can’t quantify the infinite difference between God and man.

And yet, God chooses to do His work through us weak, foolish, and flawed human beings.

In John 6, a crowd of maybe 20,000 people has been listening to Jesus teach all day. And they are getting hungry.

The disciples have no idea what to do about the problem. To give a crowd this size even a mouthful would cost $40,000 – assuming you could find a shop in that barren region. So they suggest Jesus send everyone home to eat.

But there is an impoverished young boy there who brought his lunch along – 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish. That will barely feed the boy himself, let alone all those people.

Not a problem for Jesus though. He takes 5 barley loaves offered by the boy and feeds all those hungry people until they are full. And He creates so much that there are 12 baskets full of leftovers.

The God who created the sun, the moon, the stars, the whole universe out of nothing with a mere word doesn’t even need 5 loaves and willing humans to do His miraculous work.

But He chooses to do His work through us. He chooses to take our paltry and petty offerings, and use them to feed the world.

The great 5th century pastor and theologian said, “Without God, we cannot. Without us, He will not.” God – for reasons we find difficult to fathom – prefers to involve us in His work, even though we do it imperfectly and often with wrong motives.

But it is all part of teaching us about who is really the source of our supply. We too quickly look at what we have to offer, or how we can drum up enough money to meet that need or fix that problem.

And sadly, it is only when we realise that we don’t have enough and become desperate that we turn to Him for His solution, His provision.

We should have turned to Him first with our 5 loaves and 2 fish. We should have said, “Lord, I have so little to offer, and the need is so great. I can’t meet this need, Lord, even though I long to. But You can. Would you take this tiny offering and use it to meet this need?”

He doesn’t need much. He can use whatever we have to offer. We only need to trust Him to use it and to multiply it.

And He’s good at that. He’s done it before. He’ll do it again. He doesn’t need your much. In fact, He usually prefers to use your little. But He wants to use you when He does it.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me [2Cor 12:9].

He is indeed powerful. He is indeed mindful of us.

Christ is Superior to Moses

Moses was a great man. No doubt about it. In the Bible story, Moses was one of the greatest.

After a difficult start (read Exo 2:1-10), he grew up surrounded by the enormous wealth and power of Egypt. But it seems he never forgot his Hebrew roots, for he came to the aid of one of his own people by killing an Egyptian who was beating one of his people.

Anyway, Moses flees to the desert for safety, where he gets a job as a shepherd, settles down, gets married and fathers a child. Not the wealth he grew up with, but Moses was content.

One day though, God confronts him in a burning bush and sends him back to Egypt to rescue the Hebrew people from slavery, and to lead them into the Promised Land.

Moses obeys the Lord, returns to Egypt, and was able to lead the people out on their journey towards their true home. Not without struggle, mind you. But they were able to escape their slavery.

Along the way, the Lord begins to speak to Moses “mouth to mouth,” as the Bible puts it. “Face to face,” we would say. For Moses was God’s servant, “faithful in all My house” [Num 12:6-8].

What a great privilege. No one else in the Bible had this sort of relationship with God, at least, not since Adam before he sinned in the Garden of Eden.

God revealed things to Moses that he revealed to no one else. Moses taught the people the 10 Commandments. He taught them the importance of sacrifice for sin, and of God’s intention to dwell with His people.

Moses was the great deliverer who led them out of bondage to the edge of the Promised Land. And he did it faithfully, enduring the complaints, criticism and outright rebellion of the people the whole time.

No wonder the Jews revered Moses.

But, as faithful as Moses was, he was unable to bring them into the Promised Land. It would take another to do that – Joshua – whose name, incidentally, means ‘Saviour.’ Hmm, that too reminds me of Another…

Moses was certainly worthy of great honour. But Moses was a pointer to Someone greater – Someone who is worthy of greater honour than even Moses.

And the book of Hebrews continues this theme of the superiority of this One who is over all others, as Mike showed us on Sunday from Heb 3.

Jesus Christ is the one to whom Moses pointed. Moses was a servant in the house. A faithful servant, to be sure, but a servant none-the-less.

Jesus Christ is faithful too. But He is faithful as a Son in the house. For He not only has the ear of the Father every day, but He is the heir of the house.

All of the Father’s possessions will one day be His. And, according to Heb 3:6, we are the house that He will one day inherit – if we hold fast to Him.

Moses was counted worthy of some glory for he was faithful in God’s house.

But Jesus Christ is worthy of more glory than Moses. For He is supreme over all creation, over all the angels, over Moses – and as Hebrews will go on to show us – over the Law that Moses delivered to the people. Jesus Christ is faithful to deliver into the true Promised Land all who would put their trust in Him. Won’t you do that today?

Finding Jesus is on Every Page of the Bible

Jesus was pretty critical of the Pharisees for their inability to get beyond debates about the Law of Moses to see what the Scriptures were really all about.

He told them over and over again that they were missing the point. “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,” He told them [John 5:39]. And “… For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me” [John 5:46].

We can look down our collective noses at the Pharisees for their stubborn ignorance. But, of course, we have the benefit of the New Testament to help us understand what the Old Testament was all about.

And still we get it wrong so often…

Have you ever heard a message about “How to be a Daniel” or “3 Keys to a happy marriage from the Song of Solomon”? If you have, there is a fair chance that the preacher has missed the point too.

That’s not to say that we can’t learn important principles about life from the Old Testament. But it does suggest that the preacher is using the Old Testament in the same way as the Pharisees did – as a rule book for better living.

Rather, Jesus was insistent that the Scriptures were written about Him first and foremost. And with the benefit of the New Testament and 2,000 years of scholarship, we too should be able to see the primary meaning of Scripture.

And we have a benefit that the Pharisees didn’t have; we have the New Testament to explain the significance of those strange and obscure passages.

The great 5th century pastor and theologian Augustine said, “The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed; the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.” He was exactly right.

A handful of examples:

  • The rock that gave out water in the wilderness (Exo 17; Num 20; 1Cor 10:4; Jn 4:13-14).
  • Jacob’s ladder (Gen 28; Jn 1:51).
  • The serpent on the pole (Num 21; Jn :14-15).
  • The flood and Noah’s Ark (Gen 6; 1Pet 3:18-22).
  • Animal sacrifices (Gen 3; Gen 22; Exo 12; the Tabernacle and the Temple; Lk 22; the book of Hebrews).
  • Adam (Gen 1-3; Rom 5; 1Cor 15).

There are myriads more Old Testament passages that the New Testament sheds light on. Tracing a particular theme through the Old Testament to the New gives us incredible insights into who Jesus Christ is, and why He came.

We would be infinitely poorer without the Old Testament – as difficult as it can be to read. But without it, most of what the New Testament teaches would be meaningless. It would be like trying to understand algebra when you haven’t yet learned to count.

Trying to read the Bible from cover to cover is a challenge that is often defeated when we hit only the 3rd and 4th books of it. Mind-numbingly long lists of genealogies and irrelevant laws are enough to put off most people.

But that’s at least in part because we are looking for the wrong thing there. Jesus said that even all of that was written about Him. So when we read through it, we should instead be looking for what it reveals to us about Jesus Christ.

I won’t pretend that this will make it all easy going. But you will find gems scattered through even the boring books that give you amazing insight into our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and the work He has done on our behalf.

And that should result in praise and adoration of Him, in deep gratitude for His mercy towards us, and humble worship before Him. For that is what the whole Bible is meant to do – open our eyes to Jesus Christ to worship Him.

————

There are many great resources to help you read the Bible and see Jesus Christ on every page. Some of the better ones are:
The Bible Project: https://thebibleproject.com/

Reading plans: https://www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/

https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/prof-horners-reading-system.html

How to study the Bible: https://www.capitolhillbaptist.org/resources/core-seminars/series/how-to-study-the-bible/

Books: https://www.amazon.com.au/Jesus-Every-Page-Simple-Testament/dp/1400205344

Biblical Theology: https://www.crossway.org/articles/10-things-you-should-know-about-biblical-theology/

Free Biblical Theology course: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/course/biblical-theology-hamilton/

Other: https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/series/why-bother-with-the-bible/