"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7-9)
God is saying several things in the above verses:
1) He will provide food as mentioned in the examples of bread and fish. He points out that if we as sinners know how to provide good food/gifts to our children, He as the Sovereign Creator knows how to provide even better. He will not tease or trick us by providing something that is the opposite like a stone or snake.
2) We need to ask Him for His provision. Three times the word "ask" is used. He will give good gifts to those who ask Him. Speak it out in a request. Don't just think it in your mind or want it with your heart. He wants you to use your words just like we tell our little ones to use their words. He wants to build a relationship with us and to have communion with us. Thus, is the reason so many Christians say grace/blessing before they eat and thank Him for what He has provided.
3) His gifts go beyond provision for food. These verses only use food in the examples, but the word "gifts" is used twice. Gifts can encompass more than food for the body. Food is something we MUST have in order to live. It's a NEED. But a gift is something we don't always need. The only condition that is mentioned is to ask for it. We ask because we are His children. He gives because He is our Father.
From the beginning God has provided for all mankind and He uses the natural creation of the earth to do so. This doesn't mean that we might not have to hunt it, grow and harvest it, or cook and prepare it, but our food has been provided. He gave us dominion over the earth and the ability to prepare it. This ability is also His gifts to us, even though we may think of it as work.
"And God said, 'See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.'" (Genesis 1:29)
God doesn't want us to worry about our provision and needs. His provision goes beyond food, clothing and shelter. He considers us to be of great value. The verses below bring this into context. YOU are valuable to God. In fact, He says, "do not worry." This could be considered a commandment.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matthew 6:25-26)
Granted, our clothing may not be the most expensive, high-end, brand named items, because those details are not important to Him, and He doesn't want those things to be important to us. Therefore, He may provide though a good paying job, a spouse, parents, through the generosity of others, but He will provide.
To those who have more than they need, they are commanded to give to the poor in clothing and food. If you see or know someone who is without these basic needs and do nothing, you are not walking in obedience to the Lord. He does not command you to buy them alcohol, drugs, or things they don't need. He is telling you to provide them food and clothing--the basics.
When homeless people come up to me and ask for money, I don't give them any. Since I don't know them, I don't know how well they will manage the money and resist other temptations of addition. Instead, I offer to buy them a meal since it is usually outside a nearby store or a restaurant and all I have to do is go in, buy them a meal. (Never offer them a ride and risk your safety.) If they are truly hungry, they won't turn down the food. If all they want is money for their booze and drugs, they will turn down your offer of food. Unfortunately, 9 times out of 10 they refuse my offer of food, but sometimes individuals will be grateful for any morsel I can offer them. It is for these grateful ones that I keep offering when the opportunity arises.
"He answered and said to them, 'He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.'" (Luke 3:11)
God provides another kind of provision--the desires of your heart. What are the desires of your heart? Most likely, these desires go beyond basic food, clothing and shelter. Many of us have dreams and goals that we want for loved ones, for ourselves and to accomplish in life. These are often the unspoken desires of our hearts. Below is what God says about them.
"Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass." (Psalm 37:3-5)
According to the verse above, God will provide the desires of our heart, but there are the conditions that we must 1) Trust Him 2) Do good 3) Dwell in our place 4) Concentrate on His faithfulness 5) Delight ourselves in Him.
It tells us to trust Him twice, so this is important. We feed and concentrate on His faithfulness so that we can trust Him. This means we will need to keep reading scriptures on His faithfulness. Meditate on the good things He has done for us and the prayers He has answered before. Listen to the testimony of others to build your faith and trust in Him.
And finally, delight ourselves in Him while we wait. What kind of attitude will we have during this time? The length of time that must pass may depend on our attitude while we wait. During this time, God will seek to build a deeper relationship with us, teach us, build patience and character in us, and continue to mold and use us for His glory.
If you missed the first two posts on God's Faith Promises, below are the links:
~ Three Kinds of Promises from God
~ Nothing Can Separate Us From God's Love
~ Spiritual Salvation
~ Our Spiritual Adoption