Sunday, June 4, 2017

Advanced Provision

Advanced Provision
June 5, 2017
Matthew 17:27 "'But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.'"

No society is free from paying taxes. Every government finds a way to tax the people. Some taxes come in and out of style, but in the day of Jesus there was an interesting tax.  It was called the temple tax. There are several understandings of this so called temple tax, but the most logical was a tax imposed on the people by the Roman government, not by Jewish custom. The Romans realized how important worshiping at the temple was to the Jewish people, so it was easy money for the Romans, similar to a toll both on a highway. Jesus was said to be from His own kingdom so some questioned whether He did or did not pay a tax to another government. Jesus wanted to be in good standing in society so He was determined to pay the tax. He was not interested in making waves in that specific manner and wanted to teach us to submit to those in authority over us, no matter how trivial or foolish the  temple tax. Jesus still needed to come up with the money, though, to pay the temple tax.

Jesus instructed peter to go catch a fish, and the first fish that he caught he was to look into its mouth for a coin to pay the tax. The temple tax was two drachma, and Jesus said Peter would find a four drachma coin in the mouth of the fish, two for the the temple tax owed by Peter and two for the temple tax owed by Jesus. Interesting to note, though, how the Lord knew the fish would have it in its mouth. Jesus could have just made the coin appear, like magic, but He didn't work that way. Jesus knew the coin was at the bottom of the water, knew it had probably been there for a long time. Some suggest that specific coin wasn't in circulation any more, and hadn't been for maybe 100 years. But Jesus knew it was there, and Jesus knew the fish would have it in its mouth. Chances are, Jesus commanded the fish to retrieve the coin for Him. Peter did as the Lord commanded and so did the fish. The temple tax was paid in full. 

The Lord knows all history and the Lord knows what the future requires. The Lord knew how to come up with a four drachma coin in the heat of the moment. It is quite possible the Lord planned out the exact payment in advance, knowing there would be a tax and knowing it would be two drachma per person. If the earth is the Lord's and everything in it is the Lord's, then the four drachma coin was sitting in a savings account at the bottom of the lake, ready for the Lord to draw upon it when He needed it. 

You have need. The Lord knows your need; He saw it before you were born and He already knows how to meet that need. The Lord has prepared in advance the exact way to meet your need. He will either give you opportunity to earn for what you need or He will reach into His savings account at the bottom of the lake and pull up the exact sum at the right time. Your trust in the Lord, however, needs to be for His provisional timing, in His desired time, and with His desired method. I don't know where it is going to come from, but the Lord will provide when and how He decides to provide. You don't need to tell Him your needs; He already knows. Instead, thank Him for how He is going to provide for your need. Thank Him for the fish who retrieved the coin from the bottom of the lake.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Psalm 24:1, Psalm 50:9-12, Matthew 17:24-27, 1 Cor 10:25-26, Philippians 4:4-7

No comments: