From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. (John 1:16)
Read: Genesis 30:25-31:55
Relate: I had a professor in college who would have made the perfect spy. He could blend in at a black tie dinner and he could blend in at an auction. He just had a way about him that could put anybody at ease. He knew dozens of languages, had multiple degrees, and spent a large chunk of his life living overseas as a missionary. I would never have known about those degrees if it weren’t told it by others and confirmed it myself. Yes, he was incredibly intelligent, but he didn’t carry himself as such. He was probably one of the most practical, down to earth men I have ever met. Oh yah, and he was a farmer.
When it came to praying for the impossible, Doc Carpenter was also a man of faith. He had a saying that didn’t mean much to me as a city boy but clearly meant a lot to him since I probably heard him use it at some point or another probably once a month. He’d say, “Well, God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, we’re just asking him to slaughter a few cows.”
React: When I first started thinking about this phrase my mind went, “that’s it?” If God’s livestock was limited to a finite supply, a thousand hills, then maybe He would at times chose not have one for me. I would rather He kill a few for those in Ethiopia, or Rwanda, or… wherever the current greatest need is. Isn’t it selfish asking God to bless me when there are so many more who are in such greater need of His blessing. This was the way I thought, and if I don’t check myself it is also the way I still sometimes think. Which is why it was so necessary for me to look a little deeper into the phrase.
When it comes up, it is in the middle of a series of “Everything is mine” statements. All the animals in the forest are mine. Every bird in the mountains are mine. All the animals in the field are mine. In fact, the whole world is mine and everything in it. The city of Jerusalem (a city of seven hills) is actually at the center of three geographical regions. Everything to the south (Bethsure, Hebron, and into Idumea) is mountainous. Everything to the north and east (Jordan valley, Jericho, Samaria) is hilly. To the west (Ekron, Gaza, Emmaus, etc) is plains… lush fields. What God is saying, everything to the north, the south, the west that you think is beyond You… it is mine. The cattle on the thousand hills, Israel, that you think you’ve domesticated and own… it is mine too. Everything is mine. So I don’t need you to sacrifice for me. Instead, I want to be a blessing to you. As He finishes up this section, God says, “Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” This is just as true today as it was a few thousand years ago. It is just as true with little needs as it is with big ones. Because of Jesus, we can receive an abundance of gracious blessings.
God, I am so grateful that I have received all that I need from You. There are times when I might think that my needs are insignificant. There are times when my pride, masking itself as false humility, will keep me from bringing my needs to You. Correct me of that. Give me a greater vision of just how powerful You are and also how deeply You love me. If everything is Yours, my cold, and my neighbor’s cancer, and the tragedies I see a world away that break my heart… You are equally capable of meeting them all. I ask that You do so. Thank you for the gracious blessings that continue to come. I give You all the glory.