Tuesday, June 12, 2007

God's Provision

As I have been thinking through Paul W. Downey's comments about giving to missions, I was reminded of an experience in the life of Elijah. As I searched for it yesterday, I came across three other incidents. The first was in my morning reading. I found in 2 Kings 4:42-44 that God provided a full meal for one hundred men through the first fruits offering of an Israelite man. The first fruits offering was a portion of the first harvest which was given before taking some for oneself. It was a thank you gift to the Lord for providing the harvest as well as a token of faith that God would provide for one's needs. This man's gift consisted of twenty loaves of barley bread and some newly ripened grain. The loaves must not have been very big as the entire gift fit into a knapsack. But despite the small size of the gift, God made it enough to feed one hundred men with some left over.

The second and third incidents were mentioned in our family devotions last night. As we read Mark 8:13-21, I was reminded along with the disciples that we who are believers often forget what God has done. At this point in the chapter, Jesus was warning the disciples about the leavening influence of the Pharisees and Herod. But all the disciples could think of was the food they had forgotten to pack. Jesus was surprised that they were so worried about the food when he had just provided for two separate crowds of 4000 and 5000 people.
“Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”
They missed both his point of teaching and his earlier point with the miracles. I wonder how often we miss the point of God's provision in our lives. Think about the last time you were in need and God provided something unexpectedly. Is he able to do that again? Of course he is. But will he do it again? That depends on his timing, but he will provide according to his promise in Matthew 6:33. So, whether there is a need or not, let us be seeking his kingdom and righteousness first, so that we can be depending on his promise to provide for our needs.

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