Crumbs

Read: Exodus 1-3, Matthew 15:21-39

You’ve been invited to a feast. The table groans under the weight of the fare. All of your favourite foods are set before you prepared just the way you like it. The aroma wafts its way to your nostrils. Your mouth waters.

At the head of the table, your host gestures for the meal to commence. The person across from you, the one to your right, and the one to your left all dig in. You watch jealously as they consume the extravagant meal. All too soon, the food has been devoured. Your stomach still growls as the plates are cleared. Yours doesn’t even have a spot of gravy marring the shine. The other guests get up and leave the table. You remain seated. Before you is a single crumb. You don’t even know where it came from. You lick your finger and grasp the single morsel bringing it to your parched lips. You close your eyes and savour the small taste you were fortunate enough to have.

By now, I hope you’re thinking how stupid you would be to savour the crumb when you’d been offered the feast.

Jesus came to offer us the feast. We have an invitation to the table. We are honoured guests. But we often act like the dogs waiting beneath the table for the scraps to fall.

In Matthew 15, a Canaanite woman approached Jesus. Her daughter was tormented by a demon and she had heard of Jesus’ ability to heal. Jesus at first refuses saying that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel (verse 24).

He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

Matthew 15:26 (NIV)

Even after being insulted, the woman persists.

Matthew 15:27

Jesus commends her for her great faith and her daughter was healed at that moment (verse 28). The crumbs Jesus offered her were enough to accomplish all she had asked.

We, having been accepted into the family of God through the blood sacrifice of Jesus, have an open invitation to the table. We are not the dogs, we are the children. If the crumbs are enough for a miracle, what are we settling for that we are content to merely exist? It is long past time that we, the Church, take our seat at the banquet and accept all that has been waiting for us. Healing is for us. Freedom is for us. Prosperity is for us. Provision is for us. Miracles are for us!

Stop settling for crumbs when you can have the whole feast.

The day the manna stopped

No manna appeared on the day they first ate from the crops of the land, and it was never seen again. So from that time on the Israelites ate from the crops of Canaan.

Joshua 5:12 (NLT)

I wonder if Israel was disappointed or excited when they realised they would no longer be feasting on manna every day? Remember, they had whined to Moses back in the wilderness and God sent them birds—so many birds they got sick of them. How strange a thing it would be to be nourished by the same miraculous thing for 39 years 11 months and then have it stop, never to return.

Did this mean that God would no longer provide for Israel? Of course not!

PROVIDE: to procure beforehand; to get, collect or make ready for future use; to prepare.

Remember way back when Moses send scouts into Canaan to check out the land? They came back with a report that it was a prosperous land flowing with milk and honey. It was a good land, well-able to sustain Israel.

When Israel finally crossed the Jordan River, God’s provision didn’t stop, it merely changed. The manna was necessary to keep His people alive while they wandered in the wilderness waiting for the doubters to die. But now, in the Promised Land, there was abundant supply. They ate from the fruit of the land.

Just because provision doesn’t literally fall from the sky doesn’t mean it’s not there. Sometimes provision looks like work. God gave Israel, the land, but they were still going to have to fight for it. They were still going to have to tend to it. They were still going to have to harvest the fruit from it.

Take a look at your life. Have you been believing God for something? Have you seen your answer? Look again. It may look more like work than a miracle, but it doesn’t mean that God’s hand isn’t in it.

Daily Bible reading: Joshua 4-6, Luke 2:1-24

Manna is off the Menu

And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

Joshua 5:12 (ESV)

Early this year, Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina preached a sermon titled He Took Manna of the Menu. One little chunk of scripture that usually gets passed over, got a lot of much needed attention.

We talk a lot about the provision the nation of Israel received on their journey from Egypt to Canaan, but we don’t talk a lot about what happened once they got to the Promised Land.

The manna stopped.

The food that had sustained an entire nation for forty years stopped the day after they arrived in the place God had promised to them.

Did the provision stop? Certainly not. The provision changed. They were now in a land that could (and would) sustain them for many years to come. They didn’t need the manna any longer.

How often do we look at our lives and see where good things have ended and complain about it? Look harder. Maybe there was provision disguised as work.

For Israel, food was no longer harvested from the ground like dew in the morning. Suddenly provision required work. They had fields, flocks and vineyards to tend do. Did God stop taking care of them? No. But the supply changed.

When kids start to grow up, parents give them more and more responsibility. They learn to do things on their own. A parent doesn’t stop doing things for their child out of spite or to take things away, but rather to teach them that they are able to do things on their own.

The next time you’re faced with what looks like lack, look again. Maybe the supply you’ve been given looks like work.

Daily Bible reading: Joshua 4-6, Luke 2:1-24

Receive

So I tell you to believe that you have received the things you ask for in prayer, and God will give them to you.

Mark 11:24 (NCV)

I am guilty of going to God in prayer with a laundry list. I plan out all the things I need and/or want, quickly spout them off, say amen, and be done with it. But did I really believe that God would come through?

In some church circles, this verse has become all about money. It’s not. Read back a few verses. It’s about a fig tree. Jesus was hungry. The tree had no fruit. Jesus cursed the tree. The tree withered. No money involved.

While I firmly believe that God can and will provide for us financially, this verse says so much more than that. It’s not about what you can get from God, but rather about how you go to God. It’s about taking God at His word and knowing that,

With God’s power working, in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.

Ephesians 3:20 (NCV)

If someone tells you they have a gift for you, but you don’t believe they really have it, how easy will it be for you to receive that gift?

Go to God’s Word. Discover His promises. Learn what He has already provided for you. Then you can go to pray knowing that He has already made a way for you and doubt will no longer prevent you from receiving your promises.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 3-4, Mark 11:20-33

See

Sometimes… okay, a lot of the time… most of the time, I have trouble seeing God’s promises and provision through my situation. I’ve even taken a Sharpie to my arm to remind myself that God is greater than my circumstance and He is able to see me through. In my frustration, I ask God to send me His provision. I remind Him of His promise (like He’s forgotten what He said).

My line of questioning should not be whether or not God has sent the answer, but rather, whether or not I have seen His answer.

There is a great Old Testament account that brings this to light. Here is some back story: Elisha has been helping the kings of Israel and they’ve been kicking butt with all the information that God has been providing through Elisha. All of the other kings are getting tired of having their butts kicked and decide to gang up on Elisha once they realise he’s the reason behind it all. Elisha and his servant are camped out in a city and, one morning, the servant heads outside the tent and sees a massive army surrounding the city. He tells Elisha they’re in trouble.

So he [Elisha] answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

II Kings 6:16

At this point, I’m sure that the servant is sure Elisha has gone mad overnight. But Elisha sticks with his observation.

And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

II Kings 6:17 (NKJV)

In this case, it wasn’t that God had not sent the provision, it was that the servant couldn’t see it.

I know that, in my life, I need to focus more on what God has provided for me rather than looking for all that I think He hasn’t. His promise is sure. He hasn’t failed me yet, why would I think that He ever would?