Do You Not Yet Understand?
A daily devotion for January 13th
31Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man.
33After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spit and touched the man's tongue. 34He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, "Ephphatha!" (which means, "Be opened!" ). 35At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
36Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He has done everything well," they said. "He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."
1During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 2"I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance."
4His disciples answered, "But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?"
5"How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked.
"Seven," they replied.
6He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. 7They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9About four thousand men were present. And having sent them away, 10he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.
11The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12He sighed deeply and said, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it." 13Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.
14The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15"Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod."
16They discussed this with one another and said, "It is because we have no bread."
17Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? 19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"
"Twelve," they replied.
20"And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"
They answered, "Seven."
21He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"
Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? (Mark 8:17b-18)
In this series of questions, our Lord is suggesting for them, and for us, what to do when we get the spiritual
blahs. One young man came to me and said,
I'm a graduate of a Bible college. I've been a Christian for a number of years. But I must tell you that I feel so blah, so empty. I've lost all interest in what God is doing, and I just don't have any desire even to get involved in a Bible study anymore. What should I do? I had just been studying this passage, so I did what our Lord suggests in this passage without telling this young man what I was doing.
The first thing the Lord suggests is to use your mind.
Do you not see or understand? Stop and think about where you are, about what is happening to you, and why it happened.
Analyze it. Read what the Bible has to say about it. That is what the mind is for. Study the revelations of God to you. Use your mind.
Second, He asks,
Are your hearts hardened? That is, analyze the state of your heart. Are you dull, or do you respond? Have you forgotten truth? Because if the heart does not respond to what the mind has understood, then it is because you have not really believed it. You may have recognized mentally that it is true, but you have not acted upon it. You do not really believe God is going to do what He has said He will do. This is always revealed by a dull, unresponsive heart. Truth always moves us—when we believe it. It always grips us and excites us. And if we are not excited, it is because the mind has grasped it but the heart has not.
Jesus moves on:
Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? Jesus said these words again and again to the people He taught, and each time He means the same thing. Do not just look at the events you are seeing and think that is all there is to it. It is a parallel to something deeper and more important concerning your spirit. As these men were being fed by the loaves and the fishes, He was saying to them,
Don't think of this merely as a way of getting a good, quick, free meal. Remember that I am telling you that you have a deeper need, a far more demanding need, which needs daily replenishment as well.
Don't you remember? Hasn't God taught you things in the past through your circumstances? Hasn't He led you through events that have made you understand something about your life? Do you not remember the times He said things like that in the past? Remember them now, and recognize that you are in the hands of a loving Father who has put you right where you are to teach you a very needed truth.
Forgive me, Father, for the dullness of my heart. Help me to give myself every day to this One who is the bread sent down from heaven.
Life Application: We may experience times of spiritual lethargy, but we do not need to settle for that state of mind & heart. There are 4 helpful ways to combat it & be spiritually restored.
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.