When someone recently posted on Facebook that the final full moon of the decade would occur this year on December 12 (12/12) at preciously 12:12 a.m. Eastern Time, I found myself getting really excited. Wow, what a rare occurrence: 18.104.22.168.
My excitement had nothing to do with stargazing or astrology, but was simply because this unusual event reminded me of the amazing biblical significance of the number 12.
You see, when the number 12 occurs in the Bible, it’s generally associated with ORDER and INCREASE—two things we all greatly need.
For example, order is shown by God’s instructions to arrange the Israelites according to 12 tribes and by Jesus’ selection of 12 original apostles. This theme extends all the way to the end of the book of Revelation, where the New Jerusalem is described as having 12 gates, guarded by 12 angels, with a wall that had 12 foundations (Revelation 21:12-14).
I’ve come to treasure God’s divine order, but it’s often elusive. I frequently find my life in disarray, much like the early creation: “without shape or form” (Genesis 1:2 CEB). At such times, I recognize my need for God’s Spirit to fill my heart and hover over my life, bringing His order to my time, relationships, priorities, and resources.
However, God’s order isn’t the only thing I need. I also need Him to give me His supernatural increase, for Psalm 115:14-15 says, “the Lord, who made heaven and earth”…wants to “give you increase more and more, you and your children.” Accordingly, I’m asking Him to multiply my resources so that I will have more abundance at the end of the coming year than I do at its beginning.
Changing Our Perspective
One story in Scripture beautifully illustrates the different strands of the 22.214.171.124 message. In Mark 6:34-44, Jesus and the 12 disciples confronted the same dilemma many Christian leaders face today: overwhelming needs but seemingly limited resources. The disciples logically concluded that they were unable to feed the hungry multitudes, so they should just “send them away” (v. 36).
Have you ever made a similar decision? I have, more times than I would like to admit.
Yet Jesus displayed an entirely different perspective on the apparently hopeless situation: “You give them something to eat,” He told the disciples (v. 37).
As the story continues, we see a fascinating progression of questions—the same thought processes we must use when we face difficult situations today:
- What is the need? Sometimes we face a crisis in our own life, where we need God to bring His order and increase. More often, though, we’re called upon to remedy some need in the lives of others. This is what the disciples faced in Mark 6. From a human perspective, they evaluated the needs quite well, accurately calculating the immense amount of bread required to feed such a huge crowd.
- What do we have? It’s important to realize that God although never requires what we don’t have, He expects us to freely surrender what we DO have.He can turn a simple shepherd’s staff into the rod of God…use the jawbone of a donkey to slay the enemy…or kill huge giants with a slingshot and a stone. So it’s no problem for Him to multiply loaves and fish. However, the miracle can’t begin until we put our resources—no matter how meager they may seem—into His outstretched hands.
- Have we put things in order? It’s interesting that the disciples had to put things in ORDER before the INCREASE came: “He commanded them [the disciples] to make them [the crowd] all sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties” (vs. 39-40). If you’re waiting for your increase today, it may well be that God is waiting on you to first make the necessary preparations. Perhaps you remember the story in 2 Kings 3:16-20, where God told people that if they would first dig trenches in the valley, He would be faithful to fill the trenches with water.
- Do we have our “baskets” ready? Often I hear believers say they’re expecting God to bless them with an increase, yet they’ve done absolutely nothing to demonstrate faith and expectancy for that kind of outcome. After Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes they had given Him, the disciples “picked up 12 full baskets of broken pieces” (v. 43). In the hands of Jesus, their paltry resources not only were enough to meet the need—they were MORE than enough. Friend, that’s what increase looks like. Rather than being like the Israelites’ hand-to-mouth existence while eating manna in the wilderness, it’s a life of overflowing abundance, a cup that “runs over” and blesses others (Psalm 23:5, Genesis 12:2).
The 12 disciples brought their resources to Jesus and made sure the massive crowd was put into order. The miraculous result was 12 full baskets of leftovers!
Do you see why I’m so excited about the number 12 and the message of 126.96.36.199?
I pray today—for myself and for you—that we’ll allow the Spirit of God to order our lives according to His perfect plan. May we also put all of our resources into His hands, trusting Him to supernaturally bless and multiply them. Once we’ve done these two things, it’s time get our baskets ready for an INCREASE!