abundance

God always gives more.

God always gives more.

2 Chronicles 9

There’s no doubt about it. The Queen of Sheba was totally smitten with Solomon. Everything about him and his kingdom took her in—the palace, the temple, the banquet, and especially his wisdom. She had been expecting to see great things on her visit to Solomon, but she wasn’t prepared for what she actually found when she got there: "She said to the king, 'The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard.'" (vs 5-6)

God is a treasure.

God is a treasure.

1 Chronicles 26

There are so many things in Scripture that I don’t believe are coincidences. So many things that have layers of meaning—literal to symbolic and everything in between. And I found one of these things in this chapter of Chronicles that further outlined which Levites were in charge: "Shelomith and his relatives were in charge of all the treasuries for the things dedicated by King David... Some of the plunder taken in battle they dedicated for the repair of the temple of the Lord. And everything dedicated by Samuel the seer and by Saul son of Kish... and all the other dedicated things were in the care of Shelomith and his relatives." (vs 26-28)

Mundane Manna {ex16:11-12}

Photo © Unsplash/Evi Radauscher

Photo © Unsplash/Evi Radauscher

In Egypt
God's people ate their fill
of meat and bread.
And in the wilderness
God's people ate their fill
of meat and bread.

For forty years
—14,600 days and nights—
God revealed to the Israelites
not that He could feed them in the desert
but that it was He
who had fed them in Egypt.

For God, the manna wasn't miraculous.

It is no harder for Him
to make bread rain from the sky
than it is to make
wheat stand in the soil or
dough rise in the bowl or
the crust appear in the oven.

God miraculously provided
for His people in the wilderness
no more or less
than He had in Egypt.

We should stop wondering
why God no longer works miracles and
start asking why we still consider
anything in this life
mundane.

 

God gives us all the right things.

God gives us all the right things.

1 Chronicles 4

About 20 years ago, author Bruce Wilkinson made two verses of 1 Chronicles 4 famous with his book, The Prayer of Jabez. Who knew that a genealogical chapter of the Bible could produce something so lucrative? I remember the book well. Though I never actually read it, I remember the firestorm it caused in the Christian church. Many people were excited about it—going to their weekly group study about Jabez to learn how to garner some extra wealth from God. And an equal number of people were extremely opposed to it, shocked that any Christian should ask God for more.

God thinks differently than we do.

God thinks differently than we do.

2 Kings 4

Well, this whole chapter was about how God worked miracles through His prophet Elisha. The one that really stuck out to me, though, was the very first story about the widow, her two sons, and the olive oil. Just before creditors were going to come and take her boys into slavery because of their debts, Elisha told her, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side." (vs 3-4)

God has no problem with wealth.

God has no problem with wealth.

1 Kings 10

Did you notice that as you read through today’s chapter? Whoa! God certainly has no problem with wealth! I was amazed by the fact that Solomon had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. Who needs 12,000 horses?! And this was just in addition to his palace and all the other things he acquired over the years as his fame spread far and wide. In the description of Solomon’s palace, the Bible says "nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom." (vs 20) Solomon was, by far, the richest man in the world—probably in the history of the world!

God is tenderhearted.

God is tenderhearted.

RUTH 2

I really saw a picture of God in this chapter, coming through in the tenderhearted nature of Boaz. From the text, it’s clear that Boaz was a man of the Lord—and at a time when the majority of Israel was heading down the wrong path. When Boaz arrives at his fields, he greets all of the harvesters with a blessing from the Lord. (vs 4) Later, he praises Ruth for her commitment to Naomi and calls upon God to bless her because of it. (vs 12)

God is extravagant.

God is extravagant.

JUDGES 17

What a quirky little chapter. Out of the blue, there is a story about this guy named Micah. He was a thief—having swiped 1100 shekels of silver from his mom. (Who steals from Mom?) After he heard her pronounce a curse on whoever had stolen the money, he fessed up and returned it. In turn, she was so worried that the curse would follow her thieving child that she had some of it melted down and made into a little idol that Micah kept in his house. His "god" would hopefully protect him from the curse.

The Blessed Burden {gn36}

Photo © Unsplash/Jenn Evelyn-Ann

Photo © Unsplash/Jenn Evelyn-Ann

Esau is known as the one
who sold his birthright
and forfeited his blessing—
not the one "favored" by God,
not the one destined to be in that family tree,
not one of the "children of promise."

As between him and his brother Jacob,
Esau was not the "blessed" one,
but have you ever read a more blessed genealogy
in the entire Bible?

No barren women,
no tragedies,
no hardships,
no scandals,
no poverty—in fact, the opposite—
so much wealth the family had to move to a larger land.

By contrast, those "blessed" of God
met frequent hardship and troubles—
their genealogies littered with innumerable obstacles:
barrenness, injustice, illness, death.

It was after, after!  Jacob decided to
fulfill his vow to God
commit his life to the Lord and
return to the sacred place of his Creator
that his family was besieged by
sickness and unexpected death—
burying, in rapid succession,
first Deborah, then Rachel, then Isaac.

Is burden a blessing?
Is blessing a burden?

How is it they stroll together so comfortably
hand in hand
like lovers on a Sunday afternoon
in the park?

God invented the Extra Value Meal.

God invented the Extra Value Meal.

NUMBERS 1

So, in the first chapter of the book of Numbers, God has Moses take a census of the Israelites. And the tally of men over the age of 20 was 603,550. That’s just men over the age of 20 (who are able to be part of an army). So, when you figure in women, children, and elderly men, scholars estimate that the total size of the Israelite community at this time was between 2 and 3 million people.

God takes care of the little things.

God takes care of the little things.

LEVITICUS 7

In this chapter, I was struck with the provisions God made for the priests in the sanctuary system. For each of the offerings and sacrifices mentioned, there was a portion which was specifically reserved for the priests. This means that, as the Israelites brought meat and grain into the sanctuary and offered it to God, the priests would be sustained in their work.

Cruel {gn13:16}

genesis-miracles-cruel-poem.png

It's sort of cruel
to make such an outrageous promise—
innumerable children
for a man who doesn't even have one

for a man who feels the relentless beat
of a childless father's heart in his chest
to promise more daughters than dust is cruel.

It's sort of cruel
to make such an outrageous promise—
dirty diapers and sloppy kisses and giggles
for a woman whose body long ago
stopped reminding her like clockwork
of her power to deliver new life

for a woman who has felt the monthly sting of bitterness
diffuse into the dull ache of perpetual barrenness
to promise more sons than sand is cruel.

Who makes such outrageous promises, anyway?
Who messes with people like that?
And once you're settled so squarely in the realm of the inconceivable,
where does it stop?

You might as well claim the power
to muzzle hurricanes
to disembowel suffering
to dissolve brickish hearts
to bring back the dead
   AS IF
   the grave had a revolving door

What on earth would drive you
to guarantee the one thing that could
answer the lonely echo of a desperate soul?

What in heaven's name would possess you
to make such an outrageous promise?

It's sort of cruel, you know—
   that is . . .
   unless you can deliver.

 

God works unhindered.

God works unhindered.

GENESIS 39

There is something so beautiful and almost funny about the straightforward relating of events in Genesis 39. First, Joseph is taken into Potiphar’s house. And the Bible says that the Lord was with Joseph, so both Joseph and Potiphar prospered while Joseph was in charge of things. Potiphar didn’t have to worry about anything because “the Lord gave [Joseph] success in everything he did.” (vs 3)

God fulfills promises creatively.

God fulfills promises creatively.

GENESIS 36

The land of Canaan had been promised to Jacob and the future Israelites. It was the Promised Land, the land that God planned to give to the descendants of Abraham. However, the rivalry between Jacob and Esau could have put a wrench in things. Instead of trusting God to fulfill His promises in His own time, Jacob devised a way to get what he thought was rightfully his (the birthright and his father’s blessing). Esau was initially jealous and angry and even sought to kill his brother.

God is a peacemonger.

God is a peacemonger.

GENESIS 15

Genesis 15 begins with the word of the Lord coming to Abram, and the first thing God says is, "Do not be afraid."

If there was a way to sum up in one, short sentence the overarching message of God to humankind in the Bible, it would have to be this: Do not be afraid. It appears over and over and over again in the Scriptures. It is often, quite literally, the first thing out of the mouth of God or His heavenly messengers when they encounter human beings.

God thinks big.

God thinks big.

GENESIS 13

Have you ever measured out a cup of sand and tried to count the grains? It might take a while. According to some highly unscientific research I did on the internet, depending on the size of the grain, the number of grains of sand that fit into one cup is anywhere between 2 and 15 million. Wow! Millions of grains of sand in just a single cup. Now imagine how many cups of sand there are in a desert. We can’t even count that high!