the Things

Day 95

Prayer for the day

Our help is in the Name of the Lord; the maker of heaven and earth.

Scripture for the day

1 Samuel 4-6, Luke 9:1-17

I remember the story of the five loaves and two fish from my childhood. I’m sure my parents told it numerous times, as well as my Sunday School teachers and camp devotions experts. It’s a great story, with miracles and wonder and excitement. But one of the things I remember is the five loaves and two fish. I remember the story centring around what was there and what was made out of it.

It was like there was some magical property in the fish and the bread. They multiplied. Sure, Jesus was there, but it was the amount of fish and bread that always fascinated me.

In the story presented to us from the First Testament, we have a similar totemic item that shows up. The Ark of the Covenant is supposed to represent the presence of God to the people of Israel, but instead of representing the presence of God and reminding them of His power, the Ark becomes for the Israelites an item of power in and of itself, as if the Israelites could “aim” the Ark, and God would pull the “trigger” for them.

The Israelites missed the fundamental truth about God: they can’t use the Ark willy-nilly without obeying God. The Ark is not some weapon to be used; the Ark is a representation of the presence of God. The Israelites cannot ignore the presence of God and continue to use the Ark the same way.

In both stories, the Ark and the food, it’s easy to focus on the items God has given and used instead of focussing on the God whose power lies behind the items. The loaves and fishes multiplied because God is powerful enough to do it. The Ark is powerful because God is powerful.

It’s only when we stop looking at those things that represent God AS God that we can see the folly. God is the one worthy of worship, not His creation.

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