Reading the account in John 6 of the feeding of the five thousand led me to ponder upon the challenge that the Lord gives to His disciples. He says to them:
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming towards him, he said to Philip,‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do (John 6:5-6).
In saying this he is looking to see how they will respond. They are facing a difficulty; there are a lot of people and no food. Andrew suggests a solution: ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’(John 6:9). But five loaves and two fishes is nothing in the context of such a multitude.
The key to understanding the passage is to see that the Lord spoke that He might test them as to how they would respond (see v6). Where would they look for the solution to their problem? Would they look to their resources or look to the Lord?
It is an ongoing challenge to before us in our own situations. When we face difficulties do we look? Do we look to the Lord or to our resources? This is a significant battle for us who exist in western cultures. We are relentlessly told to trust in our own self-sufficiency and capacity to handle situations ourselves. However, we fall into a trap when we accept this propaganda. Our abilities and resources are never sufficient to achieve that which is for the glory of God. Let us always look to God to supply all the we need to overcome our difficulties His way.
Let us conclude by considering this beautiful encouragement of Paul to the Philippians. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19). And thereby we praise Him as we bathe in that promise!