1 Little Is Sometimes Better
"A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked." Psalm 37:16
"Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith." Proverbs 15:16
"Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right." Proverbs 16:8
When we start packing to go on vacation, we always take too much. It begins with our suitcases barely closing and ends with the trunk of the car barely closing. Then as we start back home, we always seem to have more to bring home than we carried with us in the beginning. We have a hard time learning that sometimes "little" is better. These three verses tell us that having a little and being righteous, is better than having great riches. Don't measure your worth by your possessions. Paul told Timothy, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." (I Timothy 6:6-8) Let's look at some of the "little" things in the Bible and remember that bigger is not always better.
2 Travel Size Faith
"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Hebrews 11:8-10
When we start packing to go on vacation, we start looking for "Travel Size" items. The smaller bottles of shampoo and detergents take up less space, giving us more room for food and other neccesities. These verses in Hebrews tell us of the faith of Abraham as he travelled and "looked for a city... whose builder and maker is God." How big is your faith? Jesus said, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." (Matthew 17:20 & 21) God told Abraham to go, and he went. You may feel like your faith is small. But exercise your faith and follow God, and He can use your small faith to move mountains.
3 Five Barley Loaves And Two Small Fishes
"When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would." John 6:5-11
Sometimes God allows things to happen in our lives to prove our faith. Here we have a little child, with a little lunch of five barley loaves and two little fishes. Jesus used this small lunch to feed 5,000. He asked Philip where they should buy bread, but he said this "to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do." Many times in our lives our resources seem too small to be of any help, but God knows what to do. We need to be like this little boy and give what we have to God. Would you have offered your lunch to the Lord? Or, would you have thought, "What good will my small lunch do?" and kept it for yourself? We learn from this story that God can take even the smallest thing we have and use it for His glory, as long as we are willing to give it to Him. Give God your time, your talents, and your tithe. Even though you may feel like each of these things are so small, give them to God and watch them grow. He can multiply the smallest things we give in faith so that we can have basketfuls left over.
4 God Called To Little Samuel
"And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I." I Samuel 3:1-4
When my sons were very small we would tell the story of Samuel and they would take turns acting out the parts of Samuel and Eli. One would lie down and pretend to be Eli, sleeping, and the other would be Samuel. We would tell the story, and our little Samuel would jump up and run to Eli saying, "Eli, Eli, was that you calling me?" Eli would say, "I didn't call you Samuel, go back to sleep." After the fourth time, our little Samuel would say, "Here I is Lord." The boys were very young, but they could understand this story and they enjoyed taking turns being Samuel and Eli. They learned that God can use little children and speak to them just as He speaks to older people. Sometimes we may think that we are too small or too young to be used by God. Samuel was only a small child when the Lord called to him. Hannah prayed for a son, and promised to give him back to the Lord. God gave her a son, named Samuel, and she kept her promise to God and took him to the temple to serve the Lord. Samuel was very small, but God still used him. Samuel was very young, but God still called to him. Don't think that you are too little or too young to be used by God. Paul told Timothy, "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (I Timothy 4:12) When God calls to you, be ready to say, "Here I am, Lord."
5 Little In Your Own Sight
"And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed... to obey is better than sacrifice... Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king." I Samuel 15:13-18 & 22-23
Do you remember what Saul did when he was chosen to be the first King over the twelve tribes of Israel? He hid! Look at I Samuel 10:21-23. "When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king." Saul was head and shoulders taller than all the people, but he was small in his own sight. When he was an humble man, God lifted him up. But when he lifted up himself and decided he did not have to obey God, he was brought low. James 4:10 tells us, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." God can use us when we are small in our own eyes.
6 David, The Youngest Son
"And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD'S anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart... Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are these all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither." I Samuel 16:6-7, 10-11
It is sometimes hard for the youngest child to follow in the footsteps of his/her older siblings. Parents may compare and say, "Why can't you be like ......?" David was the youngest of eight sons. Samuel called Jesse and his sons to come to the sacrifice and Jesse did not even call for David. He completely overlooked David. But God chose David, the little shepherd boy, to be the next king over Israel. God does not overlook our potential. He sees our heart. We are all important in His eyes. In the next chapter God uses David to fight against Goliath. David's older brother wrongly accused David, "Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle." (I Samuel 17:28) God knew David's heart, but Eliab did not. Saul looked on the outward appearance of David. "And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth." (vs. 33) Last of all, the giant laughed at David. But God gave David the victory over the giant. You may be the youngest in your family. People may overlook you and make you feel like you are not important. You may be wrongly accused or even laughed at even though you try to do what's right. Keep on following God and doing what He tells you to do. Don't forget that God sees your heart and He understands when no one else will even listen.
7 Five Smooth Stones
"And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine." I Samu3l 17:38-40
We know the story of David and the giant. I Samuel 17:4-7 describes the giant. "And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him." King Saul wanted David to wear his armor, but he was taller than all the Israelites, and David was a young boy, so the armor was much too big. So what did David do? He took five small stones from the brook and used his sling. He used what he had in his hand. Many times we face giant-sized problems. We may feel like our resources are so small. The armor and resources that our friends use, may not work for us. But just as David trusted in the Lord, and used what God placed in his hands, we need to trust God and use what God gives us. You may feel like you don't have enough money to give a tithe or gift to missions. But God can take the little you give and use it for His glory. You may be teaching a small Sunday school class and feel like your efforts go unnoticed. But God can use your faithfulness to encourage others. Most of us feel like we have so little time... so we should make that time count for God. Can you sing... a little? Then sing for the glory of God. Don't think that you must use the same resources as your friends to make a difference and win your battles. Remember these small stones and use what God has placed in your hands.
8 A Small Church
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20
I live in the Bible belt in the South. There are many Bible believing, Christian churches in my area. There are old-fashioned country churches and up-town city churches. There are churches with thousands of members and small churches with just a few members. God has blessed our country and we can worship God in freedom and comfort. We sit on padded pews and have heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. We should not neglect the house of God. Missionaries tell how men and women of other countries travel great distances to hear the Word of God preached. Today is the Lord's Day. Can you say with David? "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." (Psalm 122:1) If you are travelling in an area where you don't know of a good Bible-believing church to attend, take time to worship and pray. Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Invite the Lord to go with you on vacation. Keep Him first in your life, everywhere you go.
9 Zacchaeus, A Little Man
"And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully." Luke 19:1-6
When Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming to town, he knew he wanted to see Him. Great multitudes followed Jesus, and Zacchaeus could not see over the crowd because he was short. He did not let his height keep him from seeing Jesus. He put forth the effort, and climbed up a sycomore tree so that he could see. He not only got to see who Jesus was, he met Him and let Him be a guest in His house. "And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house... For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:9 & 10) You may be short, or tall. You may be heavy, or thin. You may be a lost sinner, just as Zacchaeus was. Jesus loves you, just as you are. Don't let your appearance or your lost condition keep you from seeking the Lord. Zacchaeus put forth the effort to see Jesus and he was saved. Look to Jesus for your salvation.
10 A Very Small Thing
"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord." I Corinthians 4:1-4
What do people think of you? Paul begins this chapter, "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ..." Do people see you as a minister of Christ? Can they tell that you are a Christian by the way you live? Are you a faithful steward, pointing others to Christ? Paul also said we are foolish spectacles, in verses 9 & 10. "For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake..." Lost people in the world think we are foolish to live a Christian life. They don't understand why we go to church and listen to preaching, or why we tithe. They see our prayer life as a sign of weakness. But look again at verse 3, "But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self." We are judged by the way we look, the way we live, and the things we own. Instead of living our lives to gain the approval of our friends and peers, we should consider their judgment a "very small thing" and realize that the Lord is our righteous Judge. We can't even judge ourselves because we can lift ourselves up with pride, or sink low in despair. Try to live your life in a way that is pleasing to God, and don't let the world tell you how to dress or how to act.
11 Little Gratitude
"And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?" John 6:5-11
One out of ten stopped to give thanks to the Lord. I wonder if the ratio has changed any over the years. Many of us enjoy a day off work and plan picnics or watch fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July. How many of us will take time to give God thanks for our freedom? Freedom does not come cheap. Down through the years many have died for the cause of freedom. Christ gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice to give us freedom from a life of sin. I don't think the nine lepers were deliberately ungrateful for what Jesus did for them. Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priest, and they were doing what He said. Maybe some of them were in too much of a hurry to take time to thank Him. How about us? Do we get so wrapped up in our plans that we don't have time for the Lord? Maybe one of the lepers doubted that he would be cleansed and he thought he would come back and thank Jesus later, after he was sure. I Thessalonians 5:18 admonishes us, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." There could be several reasons why the nine lepers did not return to thank Jesus. I think one of the biggest reasons we have such little gratitude is that we just forget. We forget where Jesus brought us from, and where we would be without Him. We forget that He pours out showers of blessings to us every day. We forget that He loves us. If you can't think of any other reason to give Him thanks today, thank Him for His love. Happy 4th!!!
12 A Little Brook
"And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee." I Kings 17:1-9
God sent Elijah to the wicked King Ahab with a message that it would not rain for years. Then God told him to go hide by the brook Cherith. There was to be no rain, and God sent Elijah to a little brook and told him the ravens would feed him there. Elijah had faith in God and obeyed. He did not question God saying, "Wouldn't it be better to hide by a great river?" Sometimes we think that the characters in the Bible were super-humans, but James 5:17-18 tells us, "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." God took care of Elijah as he was hidden away at the little brook, and when the brook dried up, God sent him to Zeraphath and still provided his food and water. Sometimes we go through dry spells and times of trials. We may want God to lift us up above our troubles, but we need to have faith and trust Him in the midst of our trials. I like the lines from Finding Nemo, "What do you do when life gets you down? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." Just keep on keeping on where God puts you. Keep your trust in Him. Then when your little brook dries up, keep on trusting that He will lead you where to go.
13 Seven Skinny Cows
"And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river: And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fat-fleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow: And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness: And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke" Genesis 41:14-21
I went to bed last night during the storm and I awoke many times during the night with strange dreams. When it was time to get up this morning I could not remember what the dreams were about, but I knew that they had troubled my sleep. In this chapter of Genesis Pharaoh remembered his dream about cows and another about ears of corn. Verse 8 tells us that he was troubled by the dreams. Joseph explained, "The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous." (Genesis 41:26-31) God led me to read this chapter this morning and I thought about how God has blessed America with many years of plenty. Most of us don't know what it is like to go to bed hungry. We have comfortable homes and fancy cars to drive. We have nice clothes and plenty to eat. God has truly blessed our nation. But if our country continues to turn away from God, we may experience times of famine. After the seven years of famine in Egypt, the years of plenty were forgotten. The seven skinny cows in Pharaoh's dream ate the seven fat cows and were still skinny. We need to pray that the people of America will turn back to God. Years of drought and famine can erase the bounty of years of plenty. Too much rain can be just as devastating as too little rain. Pray for your homeland. Be a witness for the Lord so that people will turn to God. Don't wait for famine or disasters to happen to turn to God.
14 Exercise Profits A Little
"For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." I Timothy 4:8
Like most Americans, I am trying to lose weight. I am trying to cut back on how much I eat and choose healthier foods. I also started exercising more. After working from 8:30 to 5:00 every day I don't feel like doing much, but I am trying to get a little exercise daily, and so far it doesn't seem to have profited me very much. Some people make bodily exercise a priority in their lives. They look fit and healthy, but Paul told Timothy, "...bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things..." Yes, exercise helps our physical body, but we need to put our focus on Spiritual things. Jesus said, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:35-37) God does not judge us by our outward appearance. God does not accept us for our possessions. We must confess our sin and trust in Jesus to save us and cleanse us. Don't put your trust in things that have little profit. Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
15 A Little Salt
"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Matthew 5:13
One of the great things about summer is being able to eat fresh vegetables. We ate corn on the cob tonight and it tasted great with a little butter and salt. Most of the time I cook with a little salt and we don't keep the salt shaker on the table, but with fresh corn, we keep the shaker close by. The particles of salt are very small, but they add so much flavor. Did you know that the sacrifices of the Old Testament were offered with salt? "And every oblation of thy meat-offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt." (Leviticus 2:13) We are also told to season our speech with salt in Colossians 4:6. "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Salt not only seasons, but is also used as a preservative. My grandparents used to rub down hams in salt to preserve them. In our verse above, Jesus called us the salt of the earth. And in Mark 9:50 He said, "Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another." It only takes a little salt to make a difference. Season the world around you. Take a stand in your Christian life. Don't lose your saltiness.
16 A Little Ark
"And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother." Exodus 2:2-8
When God destroyed the earth with the flood He gave Noah detailed and precise instructions to build a great ark. The ark provided safety and shelter to Noah and his family and two or seven of all the animals. Noah had a big job and worked hard to build the ark. In our verses above we see that another person prepared a little ark. These verses don't even give us her name, though we read in Exodus 6:20 her name was Jochebed. She wasn't called to build a great big ark. She only needed a small ark to hold a three month old baby. The ark provided safety and shelter to baby Moses, just as the big ark did for Noah and the animals. Moses was safe and God used him to lead His people out of the land of Egypt. What work has God called you to? It may be a great, big work like the ark of Noah. Or, it may be a small, little work as the ark for Moses. Don't get discouraged in the work. Do the work God has called you to do and don't compare it to what others are doing. I don't know if Jochebed ever saw the deliverance of the children of Israel, but she did what God required of her. You may not see all the benefits of your labors. You may feel like your work is too small to be of value. But don't quit. Do all you can for God and your works will follow.
17 Big Problems In Little Packages
"And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me. And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading-troughs: And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants. And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt." Exodus 8:1-5
I liked to play with frogs when I was little. While my parents worked in the garden I would make little houses for them surrounded by a little rock wall. I always hoped they would be there when I came back, but they always hopped away. I can't imagine frogs in my bed, and in my food. The frogs died and were piled up in huge piles and they stank. Still Pharaoh did not let the people go. God did not send large bears or wild beasts to destroy Egypt, but He used small things in the plagues. The dust turned to lice on man and beast. (verse 17) Then nasty little flies swarmed the land. I get aggravated by a single fly buzzing in my house. Verse 24 tells us, "...the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies." The dust became boils on the people and animals (Exodus 9:9) and hail stones destroyed the crops. (9:25) This was followed by locusts which ate everything that was left. (10:15) These were all little things which God used to bring judgment on Pharaoh and the land of Egypt. God later used hornets to drive the giants out of the land of Canaan. (Exodus 23:28) God can use the smallest things to bring about big judgments.
"And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, this is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents." Exodus 16:14-16
Pharoah finally let the children of Israel go, and Exodus 12:37 tells us that there were "about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children." The people murmured against Moses and Aaron, and said, "Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger." "Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no." (Exodus 16:3-4) Psalms 78: 25 calls the manna, "angels' food". God rained down manna from heaven for 40 years. God provided the perfect food for them, and they still complained. "We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes." (Numbers 11:5-6) How many times in our lives has God provided our needs and we complained about it? Do we complain about what we have to eat? Do we complain about our clothes, or our car? We serve a loving and patient God. He provides our needs and blesses us with many comforts our parents and grandparents didn't have. Look around your room and see all the things your parents didn't have growing up. Look in your refrigerator and cabinets at all the food God has provided for you. Let's not murmur and complain like the children of Israel did. We should be thankful for all the blessings God has rained down in our lives.
19 Little "g" gods
"And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me... And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving took, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Exodus 32:1-4
When my pastor is preaching and reading from the Bible about gods that are not the Lord God, he always calls them "little 'g' gods". God called Moses to the top of Mount Sinai and gave him commandments for the children of Israel to follow. The very first one is, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God..." (Exodus 20:3-5) The people broke this commandment and God told Moses, "Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation." (Exodus 32:10) God was ready to destroy the whole nation of Israel. God is a jealous God. We may make fun of people who worship idols or images of little "g" gods. But anything in our life that we put before God can become a god to us. What do you put before God? You can have little "g" gods without making idols and images of them. Do you spend your weekends on the lake, on a boat instead of worshipping the Lord God? Has recreation become your little "g" god? Is money your god? How about your job, your home, or social status? Many people lift themselves up as gods. They spend great amounts of time and money on the flesh, and ignore their spiritual condition. We need to make sure that we don't put people or things in our lives above God.
20 A Little Glimpse Of The Glory Of God
"And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen." Exodus 33:17-23
Moses got just a glimpse of God's glory. "And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him...And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face." (Exodus 34:29, 30 & 33) The children of Israel could tell that Moses had been with God. His face shone so brightly that he had to wear a veil. Can people tell that we have been with the Lord? Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world, A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16) Does your light shine and glorify God? When we get a little glimpse of God in all His glory those around us will be able to see it in our lives.
21 Men As Grasshoppers
"And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight." Numbers 13:30-33
The children of Israel were ready to go in and possess the land God had given them. They sent spies into the land and they told them it was a good land, but there were giants in the land. Joshua and Caleb said, "The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land;... the LORD is with us: fear them not." (Numbers 14:7-9) The people wanted to stone them! They saw the giants of the land and felt like small grasshoppers. Because they did not trust God they wandered in the wilderness 40 years, a year for every day they searched the land. We may not face giants in the flesh, but we often have giant-sized problems. Our troubles and trials can leave us feeling like small, little grasshoppers. Do you remember the words of David when he faced the giant? "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand;... that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel." Don't try to fight your battles on your own strength. Trust in God and win the victory.
22 Are There Little Sins?
"And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty; Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering,... for his sin which he hath sinned." Leviticus 4:27-28
We think of "little sins" and "big sins". God gave Moses the law and commandments. We often put sin into categories. We read "Thou shalt not kill" and make that a major sin, while "Honour thy father and thy mother..." doesn't seem to be as important. But in the verses above we see that even when we sin "through ignorance" we are still guilty. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) Jesus became our sin offering and our sacrifice. He died on the cross to pay the price we could not pay. You may not be a thief, or murdurer, but you were still born into a life of sin. Look back to Adam and Eve in the garden. God told them not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but they did not obey God and were driven from the garden of Eden and brought a curse on the earth. This could compare to a child with his hand in a cookie jar after Mom said not to eat one before lunch. It may not seem like such a "big" sin to us, but it is disobedience. James 2:8-10 tells us, "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:8-9)
23 Four Little Things
"There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in king's palaces." Proverbs 30:24-28
The book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom. Here we see that even the smallest things can teach us to apply wisdom to our daily living. Picnics in the summer bring trails of ants, taking food back to their homes for the winter. We too, should prepare for the hard winter times of our lives. We need to provide a safe home for our families like the rabbits. We have learned that there is strength in numbers, and the value of working with our hands. I believe God gives us many things as examples to teach us wisdom. As we looked at some of the small things in the stories of Moses and the children of Israel we saw ways to apply those scriptures to our lives. Paul used these examples in his letter to the Corinthian church. "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolators, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." (I Corinthians 10:1-11) All of the children of Israel came out of Egypt but only Joshua and Caleb entered into the Promised Land. Don't fall by the wayside through unbelief or temptation. Read God's Word and pray for wisdom. Look for the little things God is trying to show you each day.
24 A Little Leaven
"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." Galatians 5:9
When God brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt He told them to keep a feast for a memorial each year. "And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever... Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread." (Exodus 12:17 & 20) It only takes a little leaven to make the bread rise. Paul told the Corinthian believers, "Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (I Corinthians 5:6-8) You may give everything in your life to the Lord except for one little thing... and that may be holding back the blessings of God in your life. It only takes a little leaven to leaven the whole lump. Maybe God has shown you something in your life that you need to give up, to serve Him better. No matter how small it may seem to you, it may be big in the eyes of God. Don't try to hide sin in your life. Confess your sin to God and live for Him in sincerity and truth.
25 Jonah And A Little Worm
"So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose that next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live." Jonah 4:5-8
You probably know the story of Jonah. God told him to preach to the wicked city of Nineveh, but because they were enemies he got on a ship to go to Tarshish. Let's look at the things God used to turn Jonah in the right direction. Jonah 1:4 tells us, "But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken." All the sailors on the ship thought they were going to perish in the storm, but Jonah slept in the sides of the ship. Jonah knew that God sent the storm "And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you." (Jonah 1:12) Sometimes our disobedience brings storms that also affect those around us. They threw Jonah into the sea and the storm stopped. "Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights." (Jonah 1:16-17) After the great storm, God sent a great fish. Jonah stayed in the belly of the whale three days and three nights before he called on God. Why do we wait until our situation gets desperate before we pray to God for deliverance? Jonah finally obeyed God and preached to the city of Nineveh. The people repented and instead of rejoicing that the men and women turned to God, Jonah got mad. He didn't want God to forgive his enemies. He wanted God to destroy this wicked city. As Jonah sat at the edge of the city to see what God would do, God sent a gourd to grow over his head and give him shade. Here is another big thing God has used to get Jonah's attention. God is not limited to big things. God sent a little worm to eat the gourd and it died, and Jonah lost his shade. God used a small little worm to teach Jonah a lesson. When things happen in your life, look around and see if God is trying to lead you closer to Him. It may be large storms in your life, or large situations that hold you captive, or it may be a small little worm eating away at your gourd. Listen and learn, and turn back to God.
26 Handfuls On Purpose
"And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech... And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not. So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley." Ruth 2:2-3 & 15-16
I like the story of Ruth. She left her country and her people to go with Naomi, her mother-in-law, back to Bethlehem. Naomi said, "I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty..." (Ruth 1:21) Naomi's husband and two sons died in the land of Moab and only Ruth stayed with her. But she had a rich kinsman who could redeem her land according to their law. His name was Boaz and Ruth's "hap" was to go to the field of Boaz to glean, or pick up the leftovers from the reapers. God often puts us in the right place at the right time. Don't think that things that happen in your life are just chance. God is in control of everything that goes on around you. We may make wrong choices and go in the wrong directions, but when we turn back to God, He can lead us just where He wants us to be. Boaz saw Ruth and he liked her and told his workers to let her glean among the sheaves, close to them. And the part that blesses me is that he also told them to drop "handfuls of purpose for her". As they carried the barley and noticed that she was near them, they dropped some in her pathway. All those little handfuls beat out to over a bushel of barley. There have been many times in my life when I felt empty, but God dropped handfuls of blessings in my pathway. He sent money just when I needed it most. His compassionate love and mercy filled my heart and soul when I felt the lowest. We have been looking at little things, and our hands are small, but Isaiah 45:12 tells us that God's hands stretched out the heavens. Put your hope and trust in the hands of the Lord and say with Job, "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:" (Job 19:25)
27 Yet A Little While
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also." John 14:18-19
Jesus tried to prepare the disciples for His death and resurrection. This chapter begins, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3) He also said, "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father." (John 16:16) The disciples did not understand what Jesus meant, but we know that Jesus died on the cross and rose again the third day. Just as sure as we are of His death and resurrection, we can be that sure that He is coming back again. We will see Jesus! He has gone to heaven to prepare a place for us. Sometimes if you start reading a really good book you may want to skip to the last chapter to see how it will end. Well, God has given us the last chapter... "Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book." "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." (Revelation 22:7 & 12) Again in verse 20 He said, "Surely I come quickly." Christ is coming back in a little while. Are you ready to meet the Lord?
28 Our Little Tongue
"For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" James 3:2-5
Our tongue is a little part of our body, but it can sure cause us a lot of trouble. James goes on to say that every kind of beasts can be tamed, "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." (James 3:8) There are many ways we can sin with our tongue. Proverbs 6:17&19 tell us that God hates "a lying tongue,... a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." In the Ten Commandments we are told not to take the name of the Lord in vain. (Exodus 20:7) The Bible also warns us against flattery, backbiting, cursing, deceit, and fraud. We should watch our tongue, as we read in Proverbs 21:23, "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles." Watch what you say. Ask God to help you control your tongue. Use your voice to sing praises unto God. Speak kind words to others that lift them up, words that show how much you love them in the Lord, and help bear their burdens. Laugh and rejoice with those that rejoice and cry with those that cry. Pray that God will help you keep your tongue from evil and use it to glorify Him.
29 A Drop Of Water
"There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence." Luke 16:19-26
Lazarus died and went to heaven. The rich man died, and because he had never trusted in the Lord to save him, he went to hell. He is forever tormented in the flame. He asked for just a drop of water to cool his tongue. We have had some hot days lately and when I am out for just a short time I get really thirsty. I go in and get a tall glass of ice water. The rich man cried out from hell, "...have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." But it was too late. He rejected the Lord while he was living on earth and now he can't even have one drop of water. Don't reject the Son of God and His free gift of salvation. Confess that you are a sinner on your way to hell and pray for forgiveness. Jesus loves you and will save you and give you eternal life. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)