The God of water, and the God of wine

Christians seem to typically fall into two extremes when it comes to understanding God’s provision in our lives. Blessings, pleasure, and enjoyment are all sometimes difficult to fathom in their relation to God’s plan.

Many earlier Christians and several today seem to believe that God did not want us to enjoy ourselves. That pleasure is carnal and misery is spiritual. Monks that starve themselves, eat boring food, barely speak, and whip themselves come to mind. Self-denial with the purpose of enlightening the soul is a practice that Christians have embraced from time to time.

A few earlier Christians, and many today. Believe that God desires our pleasure almost above all else. That He will consistently provide blessings and pleasure and happiness without regard to the inconsistent obedience we may show in our lives.

Both of these are wrong. God provides for our needs because He knows our needs and He promises to fulfill them. God provides much for our pleasure because He wants to show His love for us in that way.

God provides for our needs. When Israel was in the desert, they needed water. So He provided water. He didn’t give them sparkling soda, or coconut water, or papaya juice. He didn’t give them every variety. Just what they needed. And that was okay. He didn’t have to provide anything else. His promises didn’t require anything else either. He promised a land with milk and honey, for now, they had water.

God gives us blessings and pleasures from His goodness and by his prerogative. At the wedding at Cana, they ran out of wine. Jesus Christ, God on earth, was there and noticed it. By Mary’s faith, she requested that he fulfill the need. Jesus answered by turning water into wine. The thing is, they could have drank water. Honestly. Nobody “needed” wine. God provided it anyway. God who made the beauty in the sky and the flowers of the field and the immense variety of foods to eat, wants us to enjoy ourselves – in the contest of putting Him first. He wants us to be content with water. But I would suggest that when we are, He is just waiting to give us “wine.”

God promised to provide our necessities. He is not obligated to provide our pleasures. He does both out of His loving and generous heart. And when God gives us blessings to enjoy, they are the better than anyone else could offer.

As in the wedding at Cana, not only did God provide wine to enjoy instead of water, He provided the best wine. Wine so good it impressed the ruler of the feast and he complimented the groom on saving the best wine for last.

 

God provides wonderful blessings to us when we obey Him. Let us praise Him for His goodness!

“He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.” – Psalm 104:14-15

God is the God of water. And He is the God of wine.

He is also the God of quail. Check back next time for a more complete understanding of how pleasures and necessities fit into God’s plan.

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If you hunger, you will be filled

I can recollect times in Sunday School when we would recite portions of the Bible in a happy sing-songy voice. Sometimes we paid attention to what we were saying, and sometimes reciting scripture was just a group activity like any other. The Beatitudes (Matthew 5) I can recall specifically. I remember always pronouncing, “Bles-sed” instead of “Blessed” for some odd reason and wondering what it meant to inherit the earth. The teacher usually made  big deal out of being a peacemaker. And usually there was a comment about persecution and how we were actually blessed when persecuted.

These verses hold so much truth. And somehow, knowing them from a young age, I seemed to underestimate their significance. I was reminded of one in particular recently.

Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

God didn’t say, “Blessed are those that go to church every Sunday and try really hard, for they will be righteous.”

God didn’t say, “Blessed are those who were born in a Christian family for they will be righteous.”

God didn’t say, “Blessed are those who have a large portion of Scripture memorized for they will be righteous”

No.

He said,

Blessed are they who hunger to be righteous

Blessed are they who thirst to be righteous

God’s not interested in performance, talent, skill, or even your “Christian heritage” as much as He is interested in the condition of your heart right now. What do you hunger for?

Do you hunger for status? A job promotion? A six figure salary?

Hanging with the cool kids, or having that person like you back? Maybe it’s becoming famous or having your amazing talent recognized. Maybe you just want to sleep most of the day and binge watch tv shows for the rest of it.

What do you hunger for?

I challenge you, hunger to stand righteous before God. Hunger to know His pleasure. Hunger to have his approval.

Hunger to stand before Him and hear Him say, “Well done.”

God doesn’t want your leftovers, or trophies that you gained from meaningless ambitions. He wants all of you. He wants to be first. He wants you to hunger to stand rightly before Him.

And the amazing thing is, if you do desire righteousness, He will bring it to pass in your life. Your desire will be met, you will be filled, and you will know what it means to be righteousness.

I challenge you, Desire God’s pleasure – there’s no higher ambition.

 

Are you wiping your mouth?

We will always be wronged by someone. Our friends are human. They will mess up just like we do. One thing that we do expect from our friends is an apology. I mean, they don’t need to apologize for everything, but sometimes we can’t have a good friendship until they recognize that what they did was wrong. It’s the same thing with God.

God wants us to have fellowship with Him despite how much we mess up. God does want us to recognize when we do wrong. Proverbs 28:13 says, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." If your friend decided he would just avoid the issue and never bring up how he wronged you, you would most likely have a problem with it. However, if he came to you and told you that he was sincerely sorry for what he did and asked you to forgive him, you probably would. Your friendship would most likely be repaired.

We see this truth so plainly in our earthly relationships. But how often do we fail to recognize the guilt we have in our relationship to our heavenly Father? Many times, we sin and try to continue our relationship with God as if nothing happened. God abhors evil. It is His enemy. How could we go on with our lives and expect to have a good relationship with God if we are consistently going back to sin? Do we really know how much God despises sin?

God often refers to us as the bride of Christ. In the old testament especially, God refers to sin and idolatry as adultery. He compares unfaithful Israel to an adulterous wife. Now let us look at Proverbs 30:20. It says, "Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness." If we continue in sin, and try to have a proper relationship with God, we are like that adulterous woman.

However, if we come before God in a broken heart, asking Him to forgive our trespasses, He will forgive us. When we understand how God hates sin, that promise becomes so much more meaningful.

1 John 1:19 says, " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

You can never have perfect fellowship with God until you confess and turn from your sins. Will you confess your sins to God today?

Whose pleasure?

Have you ever read Greek philosophy? In almost every version of philosophy, men were looking for their ultimate purpose. As Christians, we can know our ultimate purpose. We were created to please God.

Is our life and actions pleasing to God? Many times we seek after our own pleasure. We look to satisfy ourselves with what we do and think. If something does not please us, we don’t do it. If something does, we do. Isn’t it natural? After all, our culture seems to scream, "If it feels good, Do it!"

Such was the attitude of the king, Solomon. He decided that He would do all that pleased Him. Let’s examine his words in Ecclesiastes 2:1. "I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity." Solomon enjoyed everything this life had to offer. No, he never had video games or social networking, but he had everything money could buy in his time. And what did he say, "all is vanity." Vanity meaning nothing. Solomon recognized that the pleasures of this earth are worthless. That truth is written plain to see, yet we often overlook it and live our lives in a manner that is worthless.

It would truly be grievous if we spent our lives chasing after the next entertainment or the next diversion only to learn, just like Solomon, that it was all worth nothing. Let us never forget our true purpose. Let us not seek to please men, or ourselves, but God alone.

"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." – Revelation 4:11.

"The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy." – Psalm 147:11