The chapter opens with a large crowd following Jesus out away from town. Jesus is concerned about their wellbeing (that gives you some insight into His character) and asks Philip, who is from the area, where to buy bread to feed the crowd. You know the rest of the story - Philip says we don't have enough money, Andrew brings a boy with some bread and fish, Jesus multiplies it and feeds the 5,000, 12 baskets are collected from the leftovers and great teaching comes out of this story.
But there's a little verse tucked away in the middle of this narrative that gives us a great insight into God's heart:
"This He was saying to test him [Philip], for He Himself knew what He was intending to do." (John 6:6 NASB)When Jesus asked Philip where to buy bread, He already knew what He was going to do. But He was testing Philip. How many times in my life has the Lord allowed me to ponder a decision while all along He knows what He's planning to do? He did this to Abraham when He told him to sacrifice his son Isaac - ultimately God stopped Abraham because the motive of his heart was pure. He passed the test.
I think the point of the test is not so much for God to see what's in our heart, but for US to see what's in our heart. At the end of the day we see where our heart lined up with the Father's purpose and where it missed the mark. So these tests are good things.
As for God, He definitely knows what He's doing! And His plans are ALWAYS for good! To get a feel for that, listen to His words to Jeremiah the prophet:
"'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'"Sounds like God's plans are good plans! And we can trust in that. God knows what He's doing. And He's always doing something good. Another verse that drives that point home is found in Romans:
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28 NASB)So I can trust Him. The point of the test is to see if I'm trustworthy. And with every test He makes me grow more and more like Him. So whatever I'm facing today, whatever quandary, whatever question, whatever impossibility before me, God knows what He's doing. And I can rest in that!
I hope that blesses you. I want to mention another resource you might enjoy. Our friends up at Life Church West Monroe are also taking part in the Awakening (21 Days of Consecration). Their pastor, and my great friend, Joel Dyke is writing daily comments on his blog from his devotional reading and I've been so blessed by them. Yesterday's entry was especially poignant for me. I hope you'll check out his blog at http://www.JoelDyke.com/ - you'll be blessed.
Wow! We're on Day 6 and it's hard to believe we're already more than a quarter way through our 21 Days of Consecration! God is speaking to us and drawing us to Himself and I'm so in awe of what He is doing! Keep on telling me what God is doing in your life - I have GREAT expectancy for what He will do in us collectively. And remember...
I love serving Jesus with you,