Fifth Wednesday of Lent

Psalm 78:1–43, 2 Kings 4:42–44, Luke 9:10–17

In the land they had left (Egypt), there was plenty, but it was not theirs. In the wilderness, there was not plenty. In the wilderness, however, Israel had God who provided both sustenance, and beyond that. God provided for the Israelites in ways neither you nor I, or even the Israelites (it seems) could really understand. Perhaps that is much of the struggle the Israelites had. They had to blindly trust God to provide. Their sweat and labor was not required. It must have been frightening. Put yourselves in their place. Remove yourself from your security. There is literally nothing you can do to provide for yourself. Would you really feel so secure, as you think you do now?

Sometimes food security isn’t about the food itself, but satisfying the needs of others. Elisha’s attendant is charged with feeding a small amount of bread to 100 people. The feeling is along the lines of, “you want me to put this paltry amount of food before these men, and tell them that they will be satisfied?” Elisha is “the man of God,” but the attendant doesn’t believe this carries over to him. God is greater than Elisha (obviously), but there is still insecurity.

Now, instead of feeding 100 men, you now have to feed 5000. It seems doubtful that the disciples had more loaves than in the story of Elisha. At least they had some fish, and 50 times the number of people to feed. Again, not enough food to provide for others. Only God can do this.

When we come to the Lord’s Table (communion) we can be secure that God has prepared the table for us. God is our table host. God is our salvation. In a country where 30-50% of food is thrown away, most of us don’t know long term food insecurity. In a culture where food insecurity was the norm, being a guest of a ruler’s feast was not only not normal, it was a once-in-a-lifetime (if ever) invitation. Yet, we are free to come to the table, secure in more than food, but secure in knowing the one who saves us.

1) Providing for ourselves is an expectation. American culture takes it to a higher level. Why is this a problem when we come to the Lord’s Table?

2) In Scripture, so many miracles exist around food. Why do you think that is?

3) When you’re invited to eat with God, amazing things can (and do) happen. Why do we expect so little, then?