Bread in the Wilderness
From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness.
“Bread in the wilderness” sounds as incongruous as “streams in the desert.” Remember the Old Testament complaint, “Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?” (Ps. 78:19). Indeed, no man could meet such an emergency, but our Lord did. With the five thousand, the miracle moved in three stages. There was a lack of bread. Jesus asked Philip, “Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?” but He knew what He would do, as he always knew. Philip surmised that two hundred pennyworth of bread would not be enough. We are always “making an estimate,” like Philip, but we lave out the supernatural.
There was a little bread. Five loaves and two fishes amount to little, either in quantity or quality but “little is much if God is in it.” So a little bread became a lot of bread. There was a surplus of twelve basketfuls. God never deals niggardly. If each disciple gathered a basketful he had more than he started with!
And all because “there is a lad here.” His little in Jesus’ hands became a lot. No man can furnish a table in the wilderness, but Jesus and a boy can do it.
Carnalities and Spiritualities
Ye are yet carnal.
I Corinthians 3:3
Now concerning spiritual gifts…
I Corinthians 12:1
Dr. G. Campbell Morgan has pointed out that Paul in First Corinthians begins with the carnalities and then moves in the latter part of the book to the spiritualities. In doing so he runs counter to the modern policy of “accentuating the positive” and not dealing with sins in the church on the premise that if we emphasize love the problems in the church will vanish. If the modern approach is correct, then Paul should have begun with the thirteenth chapter of this epistle. Instead, he dealt with definite sins, following pet preachers, schisms, immorality, disorders at the Lord’s table. Then he was ready to consider spiritual gifts, preach on love and the resurrection – and even take a collection!
In Christian experience, we cannot move on to deeper things until sin has been faced in our lives. Nor can we in the church. Joshua on his face was no substitute for cleansing the camp from Achan, and prayer meetings cannot compensate for not getting rid of golden wedges and all accursed things.
We must deal with our carnalities if we desire the spiritualities.