[Come to the trough]
It was one of our former Pastors who liked to use the term “Big Food” in reference to potluck banquets at our Church. We Christians like our “Big Food.” It’s go big or go home. (Okay I might be exaggerating a lil’ bit there, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying our food.) Ecclesiastes talks about enjoying our food, and that God even wants us to do this very thing.
“Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.”
Neither Andrew nor I touch any sort of alcoholic beverage. We have our reasons, but whether or not you believe it’s okay (for you personally) to drink, that’s for you to decide. Scripture states that those who drink shouldn’t get drunk, (Ephesians 5:18; Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:20) and that people in leadership positions shouldn’t be drinking. (Proverbs 31:4) Check out the evidence, and decide for yourself what it is that you believe you should be doing.
God has given us much more to chew on than just what we put into our mouths. He’s also given us the Word of God. (Which is God’s message to us.) This too is “Big Food.” Jesus was referred to as the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and He stated that man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4) Scripture also tells us to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8) meaning that we should examine His Word, and see for ourselves that God is truly good. Jesus fed the masses, and even multiplied the fishes and the loaves (Mark 6:41-42). He knows how to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21) and what He provides, leaves us feeling full and satisfied (Psalm 132:15; Jeremiah 31:25; Psalm 107:9).
“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” –Isaiah 55:2
Though God has given us “Big Food,” we’re not all grazing. If we’re examining the Word at all, were just nibbling here and there. You can’t be gluttonous with God’s Word, but you can however starve yourself, until you’re only skin and bones. Because we’ve stopped listening, we’re so emaciated. (Sorry to be so graphic, but we are collectively starving.) We’ve stopped believing in the power of God. He wants us to open our eyes, and remember the things that we’ve forgotten.
The Israelites forgot. They stubbornly forgot about everything. We have no excuse. (Really, they had no excuse either, God did many miracles and provided everything they needed.) but because the Israelites disobeyed and tested God, they never did get to see the land that God had promised them. God said, “No one who angered me will see that land, but my servant Caleb has a different spirit. He follows me completely. So I will bring him into the land he has already seen. And his children will own that land. (Numbers 14:20-24) This is no different than how a good father disciplines his children. Disobedience has consequences, but obedience is rewarded.
Fortunately, we have something the Israelites didn’t have; we have forgiveness for our sins through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Because Jesus already payed the price for our sins, all we have to do then is seek forgiveness, and we are forgiven. We also have the Holy Spirit to help us and teach us; which means we have the mind of Christ! (1 Corinthians 2:16.) If we would ask, He would help us in our time of need and give us discernment to understand the things were struggling to understand.
We’ve stopped believing, and we’ve stopped dreaming. Marriages aren’t failing because two people weren’t meant to be together. (Mark 10:9) Marriages fail because we stop believing in the power of God. First we fail to seek Him to keep our marriages strong and protected, and when the need is there, we fail to believe that God is able to restore a broken marriage. We aren’t seeking Him. We take things into our own hands and we don’t ask God for His help. We don’t trust in His power. We say that we do, but then we doubt. If we don’t believe, mountains don’t move. We lose hope; and if we give up hope we stop waiting on the Lord for our help in our time of need.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”
When we don’t know Scripture well enough, and we stifle the Holy Spirit, we don’t know God well enough either. We stay in our deserts and wastelands too long because we let our first love die; first and foremost our love for God, then our spouses, and even our love for friends and relatives can wain; all because we lose that love we had in the beginning, for God. (Revelation 2:4) Don’t let your Bible sit there gathering dust (for whatever the reason.) Find a way around this. Whatever the excuse, it’s still an excuse. It’s time to act! Don’t stifle the Holy Spirit! (I can only lead a horse to water, unfortunately I can’t make it drink. God won’t force feed anyone either.) If life has run dry it’s because you won’t allow that living water to flow. You won’t taste, you won’t drink, and you therefore can’t see. Some have even been drawn away to listen to anyone who will tell them what they want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3).
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
–Revelation 3: 15 – 22
God is merciful, thus He disciplines the ones He loves. This is what any good father would do. The last thing He wants to do is spit you out, and this is why He gives us warning after warning (2 Peter 3:9) It’s for our protection. He doesn’t want to spit you out! (Not at all!) To see how forgiving and how patient God truly is you need only read through the Old Testament and take notice of what the Israelites put God through. (They were quite the ungrateful stubborn bunch. We can be just as stubborn.) However, God is forgiving. If you’re willing to repent, He is willing to forgive. If you’re willing to eat, He is willing to abundantly supply for your needs; and If you’re willing to listen and obey, you will receive those rewards.
It’s time to come back to the Lord and eat abundantly. Go ahead, eat well and dream big. I believe in God’s promises for Andrew and I, but the question is do you believe in what God has for you? They say that seeing is believing, but really it’s the other way around: Believing is Seeing. You have a purpose, and God has a plan for you’re life (Jeremiah:29:11).
If you’re willing to listen, please listen to this:
Did you know, that before human beings decided that plates and bowls were a fantastic idea, we ate from troughs? Trough is also another name for a manger; this can refer both to a feed container as well as a water container, and refers to the shape of the container, being low and hollowed out. When Jesus was born He was placed in a trough. We need to humble ourselves then and come to that trough (who is the Son of God), but we also need to become that container (low and hollowed out), ready to be filled with the Bread of Life.