1 Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
2 hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
3 because of what my enemy is saying,
because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
and assail me in their anger.
4 My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
5 Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
7 I would flee far away
and stay in the desert,
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”
Punishments for Sin
1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him. 3 I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people; for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. 4 If the members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one of his children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death, 5 I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek.6 “‘I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people. 7 “‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. 8 Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy.
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.” 39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
Our psalmist shows us that sometimes our prayers reflect an urgency of the moment and we say, “Lord do not ignore my plea.” Have you ever felt that way? Even Jesus, when he is in the garden, prayed and drops of blood/sweat came from his brow. In the crucible of prayer our faith is formed and God acts. Sometimes we want to fly away on the wings of a dove, but in the valley of shadow of death, God is with us to comfort us and lead us beside still waters.
Leviticus shows us the seriousness with which God took human sacrifices to foreign gods. Sacrificing a child made in God’s image to a foreign god was the ultimate breaking of the 1st commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” The purpose of the sacrifice to God was showing their trust in God both for the forgiveness of sin, plus their provision for their lives. As they gave their best animals to the LORD they were showing their trust in His provision for their forgiveness and provision for them physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Finally in our gospel, we see God providing for the disciples when they were tired and even Jesus had suggested a retreat for them. Just when they thought they would get away and get some rest, the people followed them and wanted more. Importantly the crowds came after the disciples had gone out and done and said (word and deed) what Jesus had done. The crowds wanted more of Jesus and the power of the kingdom the disciples had faithfully offered. Now in this moment they are saying to Jesus, “How can we meet this need?” And Jesus says, “You give them something to eat!”
As they trust in God and offer what they have Jesus multiplies it and all eat and are satisfied. Where are you at in your life where you would want to say, “Lord send them away!”? How can you in faith offer what you have, even if they are meager fish and loaves so that God can multiply it and give them all something to eat so that they are satisfied? Notice it is God’s provision that people really need!
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord. Psalm 31:24
Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11
Father, teach us to live with courage, faith, love and gentleness in a world that does not always value these traits. Help us to be patient as we serve others and as we serve you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.