Tag Archives: Kingdom

A Bag with Holes

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“Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” (Haggai 1:6)

This biting description of a frustrating lifestyle, penned by one of the Jewish post-exilic prophets, is both preceded and followed by this appropriate admonition:

“Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways” (Haggai 1:5-7).

When a professing believer somehow never seems to have enough and his money bag seems filled with holes, it is time for him to consider carefully his ways before the Lord. After all, our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and is well able to supply all our needs.

In context, Haggai is rebuking the people of Judah for tending to their own welfare and neglecting the work of God. “Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled [paneled] houses, and this house [that is, the unfinished temple in Jerusalem] lie waste?” (Haggai 1:4).

Herein is an eternal principle. Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things [that is, food and drink and clothing]. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:32-33).

If these necessities of life are not being provided, we urgently need to consider our ways. Are God’s kingdom and His righteousness really our first concerns?

We often quote the wonderful promise “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). But we must remember that this promise was given to a group of Christians whose “deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality,” because they “first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:2, 5). HMM

Speaking in Parables

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“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow.” (Matthew 13:3)

The Lord Jesus Christ, of course, often taught His disciples through parables, and this verse both contains the first reference to parables in the New Testament and also introduces the first and most important of all His parables—the parable of the sower.

Jesus Himself indicated that an understanding of this parable was a prerequisite to an understanding of all His other parables: “Know ye not this parable? and how then will you know all parables?” (Mark 4:13).

Many people have the mistaken idea that Jesus spoke in parables in order to help unbelievers better understand spiritual truth, but Christ told His disciples, “It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” (Matthew 13:11).

The parables were given for the instruction of His disciples, not to convert unbelievers. In fact, these parabolic teachings were symbolic so that unbelievers would not understand them!

But as far as His disciples are concerned—those who believe and seek to obey His Word—the parables are vitally important, especially this foundational parable of the seed sower.

The seed to be sown is the Word of God (Luke 8:11), and the field is the world (Matthew 13:38). Much of the ground will not receive the seed at all, and much is too full of stones or weeds to allow fruit to grow, but some will be productive ground.

Now, since the sower is Christ (Matthew 13:37) and the seed is His Word, the disciple’s function is simply to allow the indwelling Spirit of Christ to apply the appropriate passages from the Word to the hearts of those who read or hear. He also should, in so far as possible, prepare the “ground” to receive the Word, removing stones and thorns and digging it up to make it fertile and receptive soil when the seeds are sown. HMM

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