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Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel

This the Lord opened to me this morning in worship. We have famine when we fear He will not provide for us. If we had faith; if we trusted what our Lord says, no one would know famine or want of any kind. Yet Jesus said the poor will always be with us.

If our faith is weak we wander in the wilderness like the Israelites (Num 14: 20-25), not trusting God will provide, yet all the while accessing all that he provides for us.

Perhaps in restlessness and unbelief, we take matters into our own hands, i.e. rebel, and we die out of the cover and protection of our rescuer, as Korah and his followers did (Num 16).

Or we want more, as Peter wanted more when Jesus washed his feet (Jn 13-10). For someone to do for us makes us dependent on him. But we want to be in control of ourselves, to do for ourselves. To be indepentent makes us strong we are told.

The Lord opened these things to me because I had worried about not having enough of a particular product for the month. He reminded me I was looking at myself as being poor, though He had shown me before that that perception of myself was Satan's deception. 

But much else was on my mind and the Lord beckoned me to worship first this morning rather than after my preparatory reading. During that worship, with all manner of imagages flying in and out of my mind, I finally settled to wait upon Him. So came to me was the deception of famine and want and how stories of the Old Testament repeatedly showed the Israelites' lack of faith in God despite all the miracals He performed for their benefit.

I thought, too, of the Sermon on the Mount wherein Jesus said "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." That verse has always confounded me until this morning when I saw the Israelites wandering in the wilderness unable to access the promised land because they doubted the Lord, their God.

I had provided an excuse for myself many years ago. I didn't recognize it as such until this morning when the Lord opened it to me. I made up and repeated to others this statement: Lord, teach me again and again, for I am slow to learn and quick to forget. Yet, it's not true. I learn whether quickly or slowly; forgetting is a want of faith. I think if I were to live by that statement I would wander in the wilderness of heaven with the Israelites.

The Lord also envisioned to me that we receive no more, no less than we need. The Israelites in the wilderness found that out when some of them ignored Moses' admonition not to keep any of their manna for the next day (Num 16:19-20). What do we need more than that which the Lord provides for us?

My brother has been expounding for a couple of weeks is this idea about wanting more. The Lord opened it to him as he read through Acts 4: 32-37 that people want to do more; we want to determine what's needed instead of being told what is needed by the person or the Lord. We see what is given as not sufficient and so do more, as in rituals and ceremonies. It's like picking more manna than needed and hoarding it for the morrow or giving people more than they're capable of receiving.

It's easy to say trust in the Lord to do what he says he will do. God never demands from us what we can't do. We can have unwavering trust in Jesus Christ. He brings us to it in all his capacities. It's a matter of surrender, as Peter had to surrender to our Lord and Teacher.

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Comment by Ellis Hein on 6thMo. 7, 2016 at 11:57

Rhonda, I do not know what the paraphrase editions of the Bible would say, but it is very interesting to look through the King James edition to see what it has to say regarding "the poor." I found it to be very worthwhile. A lot of what I was finding had to do with the social system God set up among the Jews with the forgiving of debts every seven years, the years of jubilee every 49 years. By these means, the poor, the needy, the widows, orphans were to be taken care of and given means to provide for themselves. "The poor you have with you always" is an indictment for wickedness rather than a statement of predestination. I also found the following quote which speaks of famine with a very interesting twist:

Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit. And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the LORD unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more. And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord GOD: there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence.

Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?

The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works. Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day: And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. (Amos 8:1-12)

Comment by Rhonda Fuller on 6thMo. 9, 2016 at 16:49

Hello, Ellis. Thanks for your comment. The last part of Amos that you cited is akin to what the Lord opened to me. He was telling me that when I (or we) feared "not having" I was creating famine for myself, not necessarily in a food sense though that's not excluded. That was news to me, but the Lord amazes me often now. So much he has helped me to see when just a few short years, even months, ago I couldn't conceive it.

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