Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mark 8:1-9 commentary: feeding the 4,000

1 ¶ In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, 2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: 3 And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. 4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? 5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. 6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. 8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. 9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

This is how our flesh is. I can remember how God, one day, delivered me from something that should have happened to me and then a few months later I was fretting about another seemingly impossible situation that I had created and was doubting that God would help me. The Hebrews who came through the Red Sea also forgot His miracle when faced with something else unpleasant.

Psalm 78:17 And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness. 18 And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. 19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?

Here, He publicly has fed people again. This wasn’t secret.

Acts 26:26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.

The five thousand in Mark 6 are representative of God feeding Israel in that 12 baskets of fragments are taken up signifying the 12 tribes. Here, the feeding of four thousand represents His gift to all men as He feeds them with 7 baskets remaining, seven being the number of God’s perfection and completion. God has fed us with His words and we are fools to disregard them and to not feed on them every single day.

God’s words are likened to food throughout the Bible. Notice these examples in Job;

Job 12:11 Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?

Job 34:3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.

And here from Proverbs;

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

And Psalms;

Psalm 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

And in Amos;

Amos 8:11 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:

Why would the words of the Lord be like food? Well we are born again by the word (small w for words) of God;

1Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

So, you see, you are saved, not because of something you feel but because of what the word of God says, whether you feel close to God today or not. You were not saved by your own will.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

God’s words are more important than our food.

Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

For it is by His word that we are sanctified over time, made useful to Him, and set apart for His purpose.

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Any Christian who has been spiritually fed by God’s words knows what I mean. Those Christians who don’t regard God’s words as having any power other than as some sort of inspirational self-improvement or self-help guide don’t know what I mean. Those Christians who regard the Bible as God’s principal manner of speaking to their heart know what I mean. Those Christians who regard the Bible as just another ancient book to be dissected and judged like Plato’s “Republic”, Livy’s “History of Rome”, or a Shakespeare play won’t know what I mean. Those Christians who treasure, use, and believe the Authorized Version of the Bible will know I am talking about. Those Christians who use a Bible version dependent upon Alexandrian manuscripts and modernist scholarly musings won’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about.

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