Isaiah 66 & Matthew 14

Isaiah 66

    Thus says the LORD:
    “Heaven is my throne,
        and the earth is my footstool;
    what is the house that you would build for me,
        and what is the place of my rest?
    All these things my hand has made,
        and so all these things came to be,
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD.
    But this is the one to whom I will look:
        he who is humble and contrite in spirit
        and trembles at my word.
    “He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man;
        he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck;
    he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig's blood;
        he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol.
    These have chosen their own ways,
        and their soul delights in their abominations;
    I also will choose harsh treatment for them
        and bring their fears upon them,
    because when I called, no one answered,
        when I spoke, they did not listen;
    but they did what was evil in my eyes
        and chose that in which I did not delight.”
    Hear the word of the LORD,
        you who tremble at his word:
    “Your brothers who hate you
        and cast you out for my name's sake
    have said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified,
        that we may see your joy’;
        but it is they who shall be put to shame.
    “The sound of an uproar from the city!
        A sound from the temple!
    The sound of the LORD,
        rendering recompense to his enemies!
        “Before she was in labor
        she gave birth;
    before her pain came upon her
        she delivered a son.
    Who has heard such a thing?
        Who has seen such things?
    Shall a land be born in one day?
        Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?
    For as soon as Zion was in labor
        she brought forth her children.
    Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?”
        says the LORD;
    “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?”
        says your God.
    “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
        all you who love her;
    rejoice with her in joy,
        all you who mourn over her;
    that you may nurse and be satisfied
        from her consoling breast;
    that you may drink deeply with delight
        from her glorious abundance.”
    For thus says the LORD:
    “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
        and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
    and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
        and bounced upon her knees.
    As one whom his mother comforts,
        so I will comfort you;
        you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
    You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
        your bones shall flourish like the grass;
    and the hand of the LORD shall be known to his servants,
        and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.
        “For behold, the LORD will come in fire,
        and his chariots like the whirlwind,
    to render his anger in fury,
        and his rebuke with flames of fire.
    For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment,
        and by his sword, with all flesh;
        and those slain by the LORD shall be many.
        “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating pig's flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the LORD.

    “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD. And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the LORD.

    “For as the new heavens and the new earth
        that I make
    shall remain before me, says the LORD,
        so shall your offspring and your name remain.
    From new moon to new moon,
        and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
    all flesh shall come to worship before me,
    declares the LORD.
        “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

(Isaiah 66 ESV)

Matthew 14

    At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.

    Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

    Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

    And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

    And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

(Matthew 14 ESV)

Matthew 14: What must it have been like to see two small fish and some bread miraculously multiply right before your eyes? Because of the faith that has been graciously granted to me, I have no problem believing that this is exactly what took place that day, but I do fall into the temptation of reading this a little too casually. When given to Jesus, one person’s afternoon meal became more than enough food for over 5,000 people! There’s always a message behind the miracle; may we not overlook it.

It’s far too easy in my sinful state to place more focus on what I am lacking rather than what I have been given. However, Jesus confidently takes the small meal that has been provided and immediately offers thanksgiving to our Father in heaven. Thanksgiving precedes the miracle, and that in itself is a lesson worth learning.

May we seek forgiveness for the discontent and lack of gratitude that we demonstrate through believing the lie that sometimes what we have isn’t enough. May we learn to wield the power of thanksgiving. May God help us to understand and see clearly that whatever we possess is more than enough when placed in His hands. May we not miss the miracle because of an ungrateful heart that fails to see the abundance hidden within the seemingly insignificant things in life. A heart of thanksgiving seems to be the secret to satisfaction.