The Word of our God is not a book meant to encourage for a time and then sit on display on the book shelf or give us 10 easy steps to success, but it is a book that as Hebrews states, is “living and active.” The Bible is meant to be enjoyed, as it is a communion with God that is not only applicable, but is REAL in the way that it transforms, guides, and speaks into our lives. It is a conversation with the Lord. That being said, we can have great comfort in struggles and our lack of understanding in why things happen the way they do in this world. I want to give an example of God’s provision from Matthew 17:24-27. The story of the coins in the fish’s mouth, is not one that is often read, but is one of the more unusual miracles in scripture. In fact, it only appears in the Gospel of Matthew. Perhaps, Matthew was particularly moved by this story about tax collection, as he was of the same breed, a tax collector himself. A tax collector approaches peter in order to collect the two-drachma temple tax. This was a tax required of the Jews as prescribed by Exodus chapter 30 for upkeep of the temple. It is important to note the collector was only asking for collection from Peter’s master. They were after only Christ. Jesus is quick to point out that he recognizes the depth of perversion in the situation, when He states that He is well aware the tax is not applied to the families of the tax collectors, but instead the burden is placed on others. Christ would grow used to bearing the burden of our own human mess, evidenced ultimately by the cross. Here, Jesus tells Peter to go and cast out his fishing line, and the first fish that he reels in will have not only two, but four drachma in it’s mouth! “Take the first fish you catch, open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give to them for my tax and yours” (v.27). What! Not only a bizzare miracle, but it is easy to miss the math. The tax collectors came only asking for two drachma from Jesus. However, Christ was quick to provide for himself and for Peter with a coin covering both of their debts. How great is our God that He knows what we need and will provide without us even asking or pleading? God takes care of the lillies of the field and the birds of the air (Matthew 6), how much more will he take care of you. Remember these things in financial hardship, illness, a poor housing market, a messy presidential race, or in feast and famine. God will provide. This may not be in our time frame or how we expect, but He will pay “His tax and yours.” He has already provided for us eternally in the cross. Praise be to the One who was and is to come.
As my husband and I sat at dinner, discussing various things we thought the Lord was teaching us in our lives, Hugh brought up a great truth from a story in the Bible I had not read much. I thought, “I should write a blog about that,”, but then I realized he would be a much better candidate for it. Here is Hugh’s take on Matthew 17: