Thursday, August 31, 2006

GOD SATISFIES OUR NEEDS

"Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it" - Psalm 81:10ff
Throughout history, men have been controlled by their want for bread. During the Russell Crowe film, The Gladiator, there was an interesting glimpse of Roman history where bread was thrown to the excited citizens who assembled to watch the games. The movie depicted reality. Emperor Hadrian said,
"I consider it good policy that the prince did not neglect the theatre or the circus and arena, as he well knew that there are two things which the Roman applaud especially—the distribution of grain, and games. The neglect of the important thing [grains] causes great harm, of the frivolous thing [entertainment] greater hatred—the crowd hungering more for games than for bread, because by the gift to the people [congiarium] only those who are authorized to receive the grain will be gratified, while by the games the whole population is pacified."1
The movie depicted the very real policy of Rome to control the citizens by providing "games" and loaves of bread.

Man will sell his soul and give up his freedom for a loaf of bread. Israel cried and moaned in the wilderness as they complained to Moses how they were better off in Egypt (Ex. 16:3). God was disappointed with His people for their lack of faith. Hundreds of years later, Jeremiah addressed the same tendency in God's people.
"We have given the hand to the Egyptians, and to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread." (Lam. 5:6).
With the natural need to eat, the devil has been known to exploit it for his own devices. He tempted Jesus with bread, who responded that "man shall live on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Mt. 4:4). This slavery to the flesh means a loss of freedom and a neglect of things more important. Paul spoke of choosing between two different mindsets; we must set our minds on the things of the Spirit and not on things of the flesh which will bring death (Romans 8:6). The carnally-minded will make the same choice as Israel to have their bellies filled at the expense of freedom to serve God. In the quest for security and other creature comforts, our relationship with God may be jeapordized. It's important to test all things so that we are not wanting what will take us from God. And if we seek the will of God, He will satisfy our needs; He will satisfy our deepest wants.
"I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels." (Psalm 81:10-12)
Can we learn from the mistakes of others? If we trust in the Lord, He will satisfy our deep and personal needs. Listen to these words:
"1Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. Isa 55:2 "Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.

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1. Ferdinand Gregorovius. The Emperor Hadrian. Macmillan. 1898. ISBN 0-7905-5228-0. p 214. Referenced by Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congiarium#_note-2

4 comments:

  1. Interesting that you would reference Gladiator (2000) because this was the first film of this genre (think Spartacus and Ben Hur) to have no Christian references.

    Grumbling against God and Moses, you write "God was disappointed with His people for their lack of faith." Certainly God was also disappointed when many walked away from Him because of His teaching on the Holy Eucharist (John 6:66) that He Himself would fulfill man's deepest desire by giving Himself totally under the appearance of ordinary bread. Just as in Moses' time and when Jesus walked the earth and today Faith is needed to trust in His Word.

    "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh." -John 6:51

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  2. Dear P,
    Why does it seem you have an agenda? Why is it "interesting" that I would reference Gladiator? I don't know that the two moves of this genre actually show bread being tossed into the stands. So I am at a loss as to what your point is.

    Also, your agenda to push the strange doctrine of transubstantiation has nothing that I can tell to do with the subject I speak of. Do you think that I am like faithless Israel because I believe the unleavened bread is a memorial that doesn't literally become Jesus' body? That's a stretch of the greatest magnitude.

    And yes, Jesus is the living bread, and we must partake of the living bread, but the unleavened bread isn't the living or the dead Jesus. Once again, I have to disagree with you.

    But we do as a congregation partake of the Lord's Supper each Lord's Day and we remember the His body and blood in it.

    Have a good day.

    Discipler

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  3. Discipler,

    I did not mean to offend. Perhaps, I used a poor choice of words. I just wanted to draw your attention to the fact that Gladiator which you referenced "erased" Christians from history. I was not certain if you were aware of this.

    I certainly sense that you have a love for Our Lord and seek to do His Will.

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  4. Hi Pazdzeirnik,
    No problem. I just didn't understand your point.
    Thanks for clarifying.
    I haven't seen the other two movies that you mentioned, but have heard of them. Wasn't Spartacus about slave rebellion? The question is after freedom, what? Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage only to turn against God and grumble for the loaf of bread. This is idolatry. In the Corinthian letter, when Paul said the lessons from Israel are written as an example for Christians not to turn to idolatry as they did. And this is how the Holy Spirit describes their idolatry: "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." (1 Cor. 10:7)

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