Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before[besides] me.”
Current events have once again challenged my perspective and driven me back to these words from God’s own mouth, His #1 commandment. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” This is God’s #1…forever!
God’s “Egypt,” then, didn’t specifically mention the little “g” gods that occupy our “land of slavery” now. Today our “land of slavery” is defined by vital issues like mass shootings, racism, political affiliation, sexual orientation and individual rights. Too often we’ve let those issues lead us to justify any means to an end as long as it’s the end we’ve decided is best. That’s a sure sign we’ve replaced the real #1 with the god we know best, ourselves. Over time we’ve let God’s Word go in one ear and out the other.
God’s #1 purpose is still to remind us the “land of slavery” is real. It’s filled with vital issues we can’t solve alone. Only when we’re willing to recognize that fact will He bring us out of the “Egypt” of our own making and make His own #1 commandment our #1 priority too. “You shall have no other gods before [besides] me.”
31b “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
37b “You give them something to eat.”
38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
Mark sandwiches the grim story of the beheading of John the Baptist right in the middle of this chapter. The same story in Matthew 14 indicates the events of this chapter are recorded in chronological order and the timeline appears to be the same year as the feeding of the five thousand. I wonder why there are no red letter quotes from Jesus? That’s a mystery.
It makes sense that Jesus would recognize their need for rest and maybe even a time to grieve for John. That may have been his goal but neither of those things happened because of the pressing needs of the crowd. I love these disciples because they are just ordinary people. Their heart’s goal was to secure the future of the people around them with the truth that Jesus has taught them but…wait for it…the needs were so big and they had so little. Jesus is teaching THEM about the priority of need over goals.
It sounds like life today. In our goal-oriented society it still sounds impossible that the smallest effort might be enough to make a big difference. Goals are important but needs are the immediate pathway that gets you one step nearer to them. Jesus is trying to teach US about the priority of need over goals today and his solution is still the same…”Go and see.”