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A Devotional:

Not Your Average Gold Fish

“However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

– Matthew 17:27

If you spend any considerable amount of time reading Scripture you’re likely to come across a passage that makes you stop and ask, “Wait, what?”  This passage used to have that effect on me.  As it is with all parts of Scripture that may confuse us, if we take some time to truly study what the verses are saying we can learn quite a lot.

We see at the beginning of this passage Peter and Jesus are discussing the temple tax.  Through their conversation, Jesus leads Peter to acknowledge that as the Son of God, Jesus should not have to pay the tax.  To avoid causing a scene though, Jesus tells Peter that they will pay the tax.  What really makes this passage unusual is what follows next.  Instead of telling Peter to ask around to get the money they needed to pay the tax, Jesus tells his disciple to go fishing.  Why should Peter go fishing?  Because in the mouth of the first fish he catches would be the very coins they needed to pay the tax.  So what can we learn from this very strange moment of God’s Word?

The take away I would like for you to see in this passage today is the way that God works.  Jesus could have had Peter talk to a follow disciple about needing the coins, or he could have had Peter sell something to make the payment.  Instead, Jesus set Peter on a task that only God could make happen.  I don’t know a whole lot about fish, but I know drachmas aren’t a part of their regular diet. So to find a fish that would be carrying these coins in its mouth is not something that just happens.  Also, the fact that Jesus knew exactly how the situation would play out adds to just how much of a Divine moment this was.  In this passage, we see the combination of bewildering circumstances and Divine control.  This is how God often works, through instances that don’t make sense apart from Him.  This passage shows that God doesn’t always move in that we can comprehend, but He is still at work none the less.

The same is true in our lives.  We can often find ourselves saying that “God isn’t moving in my life,” but we have to stop and ask ourselves “What are we looking for?”  It seems that when we ask God to move in our lives, we have some preconceived notion of how we expect Him to do so.  But the truth of the matter is that God doesn’t just work in the box we try to place Him in.  God moves in amazing, creative, and mysterious ways that we usually would never expect.  If you feel like God isn’t working in your life, I would challenge you to evaluate your expectations and open your eyes to truly look and see where God could be at work in your life.  It could be in a place or way that you would least expect.

Pray: Ask God to take off the blinders of expectation that we so often put on our lives.  Ask God to help you see what curious ways that He may be moving in your life.  Lastly, thank God for being more powerful than the box we often try to put Him in.

Cody Thomas
Student Associate
First Baptist Broken Arrow

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