Genesis 44:1-45:28; Matthew 14:13-36; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 4:11-13
Divine Strength for Earthly Weakness
Most recall the Feeding of the 5000––the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. But of note is that immediately preceding that high point of Jesus’ ministry is the beheading of John the Baptist. Note how Matthew today begins with a reference to that sad news: “When Jesus heard this, he withdrew in a boat…by himself.” It is obvious that Jesus was greatly troubled at John’s death and felt the need to be alone, away from the crowds.
But when Jesus reached the shore, a great crowd was awaiting Him. Moved to compassion, He spent the rest of the day healing their sick. Feeding those ten thousand (including women and children) came at the end of a tiring and discouraging time for Jesus and His disciples (Matthew 13). After the disciples left in a boat and Jesus spent hours tending to the departing crowds, He again sought solitude to pray, after which we read of Him walking on the water to rejoin His disciples.
How often is our own compassion buried under weakness and discouragement, at those moments when, like Jesus, God desires to use us for showing His love to others? In today’s reading from Psalms, we are reminded that God equips us “with strength for the battle” (18:39). And in the Genesis reading, Joseph reminds us that God sends us through trials to preserve life (45:5). So don’t fear trials or even your own weakness. Instead, seek Him, and He will equip you with divine strength.
The Summit Church
Lake Mary, FL