“And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables.”
The disciples were not the 12 leading minds on religious scene of their day. They were not theologians, or master thinkers. They were folks like you and I. A tax collector, some fisherman, even a radical political protestor. These men were not anything special. Jesus’s parables confused them as much as they confused the crowd. What set the disciples apart was their willingness to give everything else up for Jesus. That allowed them to spend the time that they needed with Jesus to understand Him. Are you willing to make that commitment?
“if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth”
Loaning money is a risky business. Life is a constantly changing thing, and what you thought would be easy to collect could suddenly disappear. Solomon advised against loaning money to others. When you loan money to someone, you take a risk. Sometimes that risk pays off, but for the average person, that risk often isn’t worth it. Banks and financial institutions are able to even out the risk so that they can effectively offer loans. Individuals often can’t. Something amazing about salvation is that it isn’t a loan. It isn’t something that God expects to recollect in 30 years. Salvation is a free gift that has no price tag or expected repayment. We don’t need to worry about paying God back. Praise God for His mercy!
“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”
Do you simply feel sorry for your sin? Or do you repent? Repentance is more than simply recognizing that you did something bad. It’s turning away from it as well. Change ultimately comes from God, but there is a giant difference between saying you’re sorry for your sin and then purposely going back to it, and recognizing your sin and attempting to turn away from it. Are you just sorry? Or are you repentant?
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
Did you know that every day in your life was written out in God’s book? Not only what days you would spend on planet earth, but also what you will do. God has known since before time exactly what you would be doing right now. And now. And in 5 minutes. He knows exactly how long it will take you to drive to work tomorrow. He knows exactly how many calories your next meal will have. Those are all easy for us to understand. Those are all simply data. They are no more important than mere trivia. But what about the more significant things in life? Since before even earth existed, God has known what every aspect of your life will look like. Whether you will take a particular job. Whether you will marry someone. Whether you will have kids and what they’ll be like. We make our plans all the time. But are they accurate? Someone I respect a lot recently said “With God, there is only Plan A. Plan B doesn’t exist”. Don’t assume that just because things don’t go how you want that there has been a mistake. Trust God even when you don’t understand or see why.
“The rich and the poor meet together; the LORD is the Maker of them all.”
We are all equal under God. Man has a built a complex society built on a variety of different status metrics. From economic standing to geographical area of residence, humanity ranks everyone based off of who they are. Before sin, none of that existed. It was simply man, and God. At the end of life, things will once again be reduced to that simple relationship. Man, and God. There is only one thing that will set one man apart from another on that day, and it will be where they look for the righteousness that God requires. On that day every man will either look at the things they’ve done, or the Savior they trusted. Where will you be looking?
“And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”
-2 Samuel 11:27
What’s your highest priority? In life, perhaps it is pleasing God. What’s your highest priority as a member of your family? At work? With your friends? David lost sight of what his priorities should be. He forgot that God should be His first priority in all things. David might’ve worked things out so that, to the human eye, things looked fine. But God saw David’s heart and priorities and knew that David was sinning. That displeased God. Evaluate how you live. Is glorifying God the goal? Or is getting what you want the goal?
“He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?’ ”
Having faith is not easy. We look at the disciples and it’s easy to fall into the pattern of thinking “oh, how could they not just trust God even though Jesus was right there with them”. Several of these disciples were fisherman. They were used to a little waves and wind. This was drastic enough for them to be scared. How easy then would it be to trust God? When the wind and waves are tossing the ship around, is it easy to trust God? While it is understandable that faith isn’t easy, we shouldn’t think that it’s ok to not trust God. He is still sovereign and in control no matter what types of wind and waves we encounter. When having faith isn’t easy, we likely need it the most. Don’t focus on the storms. Let Jesus be what everything else revolves around. Trust in His power and provision even when things don’t go how you want or expected.
“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ “
Where are you looking? Are you focused on the wind and the waves? It is very easy to take our eyes off of Jesus. It’s easy to forget that we need to rely on Him. It’s not enough to only turn to God when things are hard either. We must be focused on Him the whole time. No matter what else is going on in your life, if God isn’t the most important thing then your priorities are wrong. The wind and the waves did not suddenly increase after Peter took his eyes off Jesus. That wasn’t why he sank. Peter sank because he allowed those things to become more important that Jesus. Make an effort to align your focus on God continually, no one is perfect, but you’ll find that life isn’t quite so stressful and challenging when your focus is on God.
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”
God is merciful. It may not always seem that way. Sometimes the storms of destruction seem overwhelming. But we can always find our refuge in God. In Him we can always find rest, safety, and peace. When everything else seems to fall apart and crash down, we can trust in God. When you are at a loss we can trust God. The storm will pass. God is the constant. God will never leave and you will always be able to find refuge in Him. When you are at the end of your rope, trust God.