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Monday, May 20, 2013

God's Faithful Promises - Provision

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Now that we have studied our adoption into the heavenly kingdom and God as our spiritual Father, let's look at the promises of His provision by breaking down the following verses. 

"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 LordAnd He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LordTrust 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. 

It tells us to dwell in the land. To dwell means to wait. He says "He shall bring it to pass", which means a period of time will need to pass. It isn't going to be something that happens right away. We will have to WAIT for it. This means it could take YEARS. 

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. 

Even if we are waiting, the promise is still ours to hold onto. 

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


As a believer in God's holy son Jesus, God doesn't look at us as sinners anymore, but saved by grace.Yes,unbelievers do give bread and their children's needs as believes do and then they are called sinners. If I am still a sinner when I'm a believer what is the use of believing. Yes, we sin during our day,but we have an advocate with the Father to ask for forgiveness, but no longer looked at as sinners.1 John 1:9

Good point, LaJoyce.

The verse in question actually says "though you are evil", so I believe it is talking to unbelievers and all of us who are believers were once unbelievers so it is really talking to all of us at some point in our lives.

Unbelievers don't always think of themselves as "evil" even though they know that they sometimes sin. I was trying to use the analogy of a "sinner" since many believe that "sin" and "evil" can be the same, but isn't always the same thing, depending on the circumstance. One sometimes sins unknowingly and would not intentionally harm others, while evil is considered intentional and not caring that they are evil and harming others.

We have to remember that everyone is at a different place in what they believe and in what they can understand.

Another way of looking at it is, believers are expected to already know that God is providing for them, but need to sometimes be reminded when in a state of mind in worry. However, this verse is clearly talking to unbelievers, so it is reasonable to say that God says He will provide for the believer and the unbeliever. The difference is that the believer "knows it is God who is providing", but the unbeliever may be thinking he/she is providing for themselves by their own hand and work.

Thanks, Jennifer. It is always a nice reminder to read how much God loves and cares for us!