“The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.’ And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.” Mark 8:11-13
The Pharisees were driven by doubt and argument. They were so easily distracted by the trappings of religion, blinded by their legalism to the love and true message Jesus carried. Had their eyes been opened, they would have seen the power behind the healings, the promise of true healing and soul restoration and life everlasting. They would have understood the spiritual nourishment and fruitful ministry illustrated in the multiplied loaves and fishes. But the signs and miracles Jesus had already performed they dismissed in a wrangle of rules broken and traditions not upheld. They did not really want to believe.
This leaves us to ponder, how about me? How often do I give in to shallow trusting for easy fixes, to worldly thinking about heavenly realities, to quick soundbites of trite religious pledges, and miss the deep lessons God intends? What triggers, personal rights, and self-interest, set off my arguing against His patterns and ordered ways? Where has my pride opened the door for manipulation and deceit?
Where does Jesus sigh deeply in His spirit over my meanderings of demands and belief?￼￼￼ Have I distanced Him ‘to the other side’ by my constant challenge to His designs on my life, His demands on my heart, or His clearly communicated truth? Are there areas where I insist on my way, my time table, my plans, to the impairment of listening and learning from the Almighty? Have I so stubbornly determined to see things my way that I’m blinded to His?
Lord, help me see that whenever I make demands of You, or argue with Your unfolding of things, I am on shaky spiritual ground, in danger of an avalanche of disappointment, destruction, and loss. Instead of signs and trinkets, feel-good favors and special messages, may I seek You, my Savior. May I set aside self to surrender to You, who alone are worthy of my affection and praise.