There’s something almost magical about a picnic.
A pretty day + a blanket + a basketful of goodies = a picnic to remember.
With visions of picnics dancing in your head, enter the scene. It’s the Bible’s second largest picnic.
The word is out. Jesus has been spotted. The news spreads through the area like water colors on slick paper – impossible to contain or control. It branches off and branches out and colors everything it touches.
“This is your chance to see Jesus for yourself. Do whatever it takes to get there.”
And 4,000 people do.
Four thousand souls, having done what it takes to get there, arrive at a remote location, eager to see what all the fuss is about.
What does a crowd of 4,000 look like? It looks like about 70 large charter buses full of humanity AND their baggage: 4,000 expectations and 4,000 needs.
Why would 4,000 travel from near and far to stay for three days in the middle of nowhere?
Why would 4,000 choose to spend two nights sleeping on hard ground?
How could 4,000 lose track of time and meals?
It can only be that they are seeing and hearing incredible things and feeling the very presence of God Himself in Jesus.
I picture Jesus spending unhurried time with each individual who comes to Him, as if the 3,999 others do not exist. I see Him listening and loving, touching and teaching, warming hearts and opening understanding. Three days fly by. Who would want this to end?
By the third day there is no indication that anyone has made the slightest move to leave. There is no record of disgruntlement, no talk of conflict, and no mention of a weary, cranky crowd ready to wrap things up.
By the third day it is not the 4,000 who notice their physical hunger. It is Jesus.
He knows their need before they know it.
He feels their need before they feel it.
“I have compassion on these 4,000 who have camped with Me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home without feeding them, they will faint along the way”
These 4,000 have experienced Jesus’ power and presence for three glorious days. Now He prepares them to receive His provision.
“Spread your picnic blankets and be seated. Get settled. Be still. It is My delight to serve you dinner. In this desolate place, open your hands to receive in abundance.”
When everyone is settled, Jesus thanks His Father for the seven loaves and the few fish and feeds the crowd until they are satisfied.
I wish we could have been there to share in that supernatural dinner, but maybe we aren’t so far away. Maybe those glorious three days aren’t so different from today. God’s heart for His children is changeless.
Hear His message of refreshment for you today:
Camp out with Me. Spread out your blanket and be still. It is My delight to help you shift your focus from your desolate place to the abundance of My provision. I know your need. I feel your need. Settle onto your picnic blanket and believe this: Like the 4,000 on that day so long ago, I am providing for you even before you realize your own need. Open your hands to receive.
See you next week.