[Luke 12 Part 1] When Doubt and Worry Come: In chapter 12 of Luke, Jesus instructs what our response should be in the midst of difficulty and downturn in our lives. One man chooses in a parable revealed here to amass as much supply as possible; in the event, challenging times may come. Jesus cautions against worrying about tomorrow when our responsibility is to seek first the kingdom now.

[Luk 12:1-33 KJV] 1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. 3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. 4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. 8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: 9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. 10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and [unto] magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. 13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. 14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? 15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, [and] be merry. 20 But God said unto him, [Thou] fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So [is] he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. 22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 23 The life is more than meat, and the body [is more] than raiment. 24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? 25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more [will he clothe] you, O ye of little faith? 29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

In chapter 12 of Luke, Jesus addresses a large crowd beginning with a warning to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. In Christian teaching, leaven represents many things, and in this instance, Jesus is saying beware of the influence, the sinister character of the Pharisees. These men were dedicated to outward appearance and were adept at impressing and leading astray the weak and gullible. The warning for us is that we should put emphasis not upon surface impressions regarding those who put themselves forward as men and women who we should follow in their teachings or be impressed with them as much as they are impressed with themselves. Jesus goes on to say that in being wary of the Pharisees and their outward show, realize (v. 2) that nothing that is covered or hidden that shall not be revealed and made known. The things done in darkness, the backroom deals, the hidden things of a man’s heart and life that are not known among us today will be tomorrow’s headlines. Our determination is to prepare our hearts not to be scandalized or wounded by an alleged leader’s shortcomings or failures because that in reality only exposes our own failure to keep our eyes on Jesus and realize that no matter how much a person may impress us by his spirituality, they are just flesh and prone to failure just as we ourselves are.

In verse 4, Jesus goes on to instruct us not to walk in fear of man. No one likes to face criticism, resistance, or persecution. These things, however, are transitory in the light of the eternal values we are called to serve in our Christian walk. We are not to be preoccupied with whatever temporal resistance men offer to us when we attempt to fulfill our call; instead, we are to fear Him that has the power to cast into hell and not allow our timidity toward men to tempt us to compromise our accountability to the One who determines our eternal disposition either in heaven or hell. Though men may threaten us, even with our lives, remember (v. 6) that the God who watches over the sparrow keeps a vigilant watch over our lives, for we are of more value than many sparrows and even the very hairs of our head are continually numbered. That is just how much God loves us and cares for us.

In verse 9, Jesus warns us that if we deny Him, we will be denied before the angels. What is the meaning of this? There are angels all around us. When we are in need, the involvement of angels to come to our aid is constantly monitored in the context of our standing before God. In other words, when you face a crisis, the angels on hand do not reflexively come to our aid. In the context of this statement in verse nine, we know that they first cross-reference our standing before God to see if we are actually eligible for the intervention they stand ready to afford us. If we are found to be in denial of the Lord Jesus Christ in action, thought or deed that has a determining effect on how much aid is rendered or not rendered on our behalf by the angelic hosts assigned to our life.

In verse 13, a disciple, probably one of the 70, comes to Jesus and asks Him to settle a legal dispute between the man and his brother regarding the division of an inheritance. Here is a balancing word regarding the whole “Courts of Heaven” teaching. Jesus demurs to speak to the man’s controversy, saying, “who has made Me a judge or a divider over you?” In other words, we should refrain from calling God down on either side of an argument or some arbitrary controversy, like whether your favorite sports team wins the Super Bowl or not. These types of situations that we so frequently take to God (v. 15) tells us is merely something that arises from covetousness and a poverty mentality. So, what if man prevails against us in a court case? God can bring us provision from nothing by His creative power. Better off for us to spend our energies pursuing the kingdom rather than pleading with the Father to settle some court case in our favor when He is capable of blessing us with so much more than some pittance that we hope to gain if the matter is settled in our favor.

In verse 16, Jesus tells the story of the man who tears down his barns and builds greater. He is fruitful beyond all his expectations and invests his energy in retaining that which God has blessed him with. Because of his selfishness and lack of humility, God requires the man’s life of him that very night because he laid up treasure on rather than seeking to honor God with his substance. Solomon put it this way:

[Ecc 5:13 KJV] 13 There is a sore evil [which] I have seen under the sun, [namely], riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.

Greed and the tendency to be tight-fisted and self-serving arises from not being mindful of the fowls of the air (v. 24) that God feeds and clothes and cares for who do not have the capacity for human reasoning yet want for nothing. We cannot add one cubit to our stature by worry or pursuing our own ends; therefore, we should consider the lilies, arrayed in glory greater than that of Solomon without any effort of their own to bring that adornment about. If God so clothes the grass, giving attention to the chlorophyll levels and photosynthesis pertaining to every blade in the field, how much more will He take absolute and utter care for us in our need. We are not to seek continually after what we eat, what we drink, or being of a doubtful mind.

Here we see that in Jesus’ thinking, doubtfulness is something we have no control over. We tend to feel sorry for ourselves when we are plagued with doubt, as though lack of faith is an unchangeable defect we wish God would do something about. Jesus, however, in the context of the teaching, ranks those racked with fear and doubt alongside the man who tore down his barns and built greater. We are not to allow ourselves to be overcome with fear and unbelief. Let our sober consideration be this – that Rev. 21:8 tells us that the fearful and unbelieving lead adulterers, murderers, and whoremongers into the pit. What are we to do then?

When we are tempted to be swallowed up with earthly concerns, we are to reject fretfulness and (v. 31) choose to seek first the kingdom. Fear not, little flock, Jesus the Good Shepherd assures us, for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give the kingdom to those who seek not their own wealth but another man’s. When you are worried, when you are fearful, when you are of doubtful mind concerning creature comforts and the needs of life that is the time we are to follow the command of Christ (v. 33) to sell what we have and give, thus providing ourselves with a reserve in the glory that can never be tapped or diminished in any way, a constant and ongoing supply that will meet every need we could ever possibly have.

 

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