Day One – Math that Defies Logic

Today’s Scripture: 2 Kings 4:42-44; Matthew 15:29-38, 14:13-21

When our daughter was in middle school, the teacher decided to introduce “new math,” and she sent home a sample so parents and children could work out a problem together. That evening, as my highly-educated husband struggled with an elementary-level challenge, he declared in frustration, “There is absolutely no way this mathematical progression makes sense. New math? What’s wrong with the old math?” Later that week the teacher met with parents to explain her reason for changing the curriculum. My husband and I were very relieved when one of the parents spoke up, “Would you please give us the answer to the problem you sent home? We couldn’t figure it out.” “Oh, that,” the teacher responded. “There is no correct answer. It’s whatever your children want it to be.” No wonder it defied logic.

God’s math also defies logic—but not to the conclusion we want. Instead, He defies logic to give us what we need. This week we are going focus on Jesus’ question to the disciples—“How many loaves do you have?” We may be surprised as we see God’s math at work in the Old and New Testament miracles of multiplied bread.

 Elisha was the leader of a school of the prophets. One of the men brought him “. . . barley bread, baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain . . .”, possibly as an offering of first fruits to the Lord (see Lev. 2:14). The man had no intention of sharing the bread with anyone else, expecting Elisha to receive the gift as unto the Lord.

Imagine the prophet sitting in front of his students, who were no doubt hungry. Then a well-intentioned individual brings him twenty loaves of freshly-baked bread. He had every right to keep the bread for himself, but instead he instructed the man to share it the others. When the man reneged, Elisha gave a word from the Lord, “This is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’” And they did. Twenty loaves fed one hundred people with “some” left over.

Let the illogical math begin.

20 loaves fed 100, “some” left over

  • What lesson do you think Elisha wanted the bread-giver to learn?
  • How do you respond when God’s ways seem illogical to you? What lesson(s) does God want you to learn?