Psalm 66 • Jeremiah 14:1-9, 17-22 • Galatians 4:21–5:1 • Mark 8:11-21
When I recognize my own proclivities in the way the disciples “discussed the fact that they had no bread,” Mark 8:16, I feel myself chastened by Jesus’ admonition to them. Sometimes I go over and over the facts of some perceived need or lack, holding on to the “facts” with a “hardened heart.” I keep “discussing the facts” of my concerns, usually just with myself, and not in prayer.
I wonder if, at times, Jesus could be just as annoyed with me as He was with the disciples “who had forgotten the bread” and who were “discussing the fact that they had no bread.” He asks why they are discussing the no bread situation after what they have just seen him do in feeding the multitudes; do they not remember the five thousand with five loaves of bread? Pointedly he asks if there were abundance afterwards. Of course, there was an abundance: some twelve baskets of broken bread, they answer.
Jesus admonishes the disciples with “Do you yet not see or understand” and “Do you have a hardened heart?” Mark 8:17.
He could admonish me: “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember when I, the Lord, gave you more than you asked for?” He could be warning me about wickedness in Mark 8:15: “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Perhaps it is a warning against my trusting too much in the material world, an attitude that material goods will fill my perceived need or lack. My attitude results in a hardened heart.
So like the psalmist in Psalm 66, I wish I would remind myself of the myriad times He has “not allowed my feet to slip,” and I wish I would “tell of what He has done for my soul.” Heeding the psalmist’s lament against “wickedness of heart,” I wish to turn away from my heart’s hardness and praise God for bringing me into a “place of abundance.”
— Susan Roberts