“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
These were the words I spoke to the multitudes when I sat on a hillside in Northern Galilee. It was a beautiful day, as we sat under the blue heavens, gazing down at the blue waters of the Kinneret — that lake was the “well” of Israel. It was also the supplier of fish for My people. The fame of it had gone throughout the world. I helped My Father create that lake; and I loved it from its creation. I knew then, that some day I would spend much of my life, as the Son of Man, in the region of that lake. The prophets had prophesied that I would be born in Bethlehem; and I was. I knew I had to be born in Bethlehem, for the Holy Spirit had prophesied through the prophet Micah, in Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
And I knew I must grow up in Nazareth; but when I could choose My “homestead,” I chose Galilee, for the Scripture that foretold My life had even prophesied this also, when it was written in Isaiah 9:1-2, “Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”
The truths I taught the people were higher truths than the ones they heard from their “unlearned” rabbis in their synagogues, for many of them had no true knowledge of the Scriptures, because it was costly and rare. All Scripture had to be written out by hand on scrolls of precious parchment, and took a great deal of time. So they often taught the people stories from Oral Tradition, and added things they had heard when they went to the Temple in Jerusalem. My teaching was different. And the people noticed it. When I finished My “Sermon on the Mount,” Matthew records these words, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29). To them it was a refreshing Word from Heaven. That is why you must concentrate more on the Words which I spoke, than the words of man. My message came directly from My Father; and I only spoke what He told Me to speak (John 17:8).
When I spoke the text of today’s devotion, I was trying to comfort My people. They were living in hard times; not only did they have to obey the strict laws and traditions of the Pharisees, they were living under the Iron Rule of the Roman Empire, who at any moment was capable of passing an edict that all people must worship the Emperor — punishable by death for disobedience. They were poor; were sickly. There were no hospitals, and few true physicians. No one knew what trouble the day would bring.
If you will take time to read carefully, study, and meditate on chapters five to seven of Matthew, you will have a “bird’s eye view” of the conditions of the people in those days. They had many things to worry about. That is what they talked about all the time. Susanna would say to Miriam, “I don’t know what we are going to do. Jochanan is not able to find a job; no one will hire him. The children are not well. Michael is ten years old, and we have no money to send him to a school; he doesn’t even know how to write his name.” On, and on it went. The men complained that there wasn’t enough fish in the lake to feed their family, let alone buy clothes, pay the rent, and the taxes. Life was hard.
That is why I told them, “Walk into the fields, and look at the wild flowers — most of which are never even seen — don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God, and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provision. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matthew 6:30-34 MSG).
If you will put Me first in your life, then it is My responsibility to take care of you. I am your Husband, and the Father of your natural and spiritual children. I always pay My bills. I owe no man anything. When you have “sold out” to Me, I will supply your every need, and add to it, by giving you the desires of your heart. But you must make an unconditional surrender of yourself to Me.
He Sent Me Back to Tell You by Gwen Shaw
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