God Always Provides What We Need

The Mission of the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  22:46
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Let us pray…Gracious and loving God, as we come before you this morning, we all have needs, wants, and desires in our hearts. And so, in this day and in this time, as we listen and hear, we ask you to help us clear all the desires that are selfish so that we can focus solely upon the things that we need to carry your message into the world. Help us to open our hearts, minds, and spirits to hear only your voice in our ears in the coming moments, Amen.

God is called “The Lord who provides”

We hear throughout scripture how God provides for the needs of those who love God. Think in terms of the story of Abraham and Isaac. When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his one and only son with Sarah, who was born to them when they nearly 100, it took a lot of faith to follow that prompting. Yet, as Abraham set his heart to fulfill that call from God, God provided a ram to sacrifice instead. God provides what we need when we need it...

God provides for the needs of all creation

God provides for the earth…there are multiple instances throughout scripture, once again, of how God provides for the needs of the entirety of the earth. One of the places that we hear about this the most is in the Psalms. Here is just one example...
Psalm 65:9–10 NLT
You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops.
God provides for the animals…if you ever have to wonder about how much God loves the whole of creation, look no further than Jesus’ own words in the Gospel of Matthew...
Matthew 6:26 NLT
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
He provides for all people…within this very passage, Jesus is trying to teach people to rely upon God’s provision for their lives. And he makes a logical argument to prove his point. Essentially, he says, look at all the birds of the world. Not a single one of them builds a barn or a place to store food, yet they go out everyday knowing that they will find exactly what they need to survive and thrive. His logical argument says, look at how much greater God though of us as humans, and if you don’t know, go back and reread the creation story, but God thought more highly of humans and yet, we do not put our full trust in God’s ability to provide for our own needs…if we are greater than the birds, and God gives the birds all they need, why do we worry about what we do and do not have?
He provides for the poor and needy…we also hear about how God provides for those in need…here is an example from the Book of 1st Samuel...
1 Samuel 2:8 NLT
He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, placing them in seats of honor. For all the earth is the Lord’s, and he has set the world in order.
or maybe even better yet is this one from the Psalms...
Psalm 146:7–9 NLT
He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.
When we think about how God provides for all of Creation, these are just a few examples of what we have in scripture that instruct us today. The thing is though, we often still act as if we do not have what we need. And to be brutally honest, we should know better. This is a conviction of not just us here today, that is a conviction of the whole of churches and Christians as a whole. We love to hang onto everything we have and act as if we do not have enough to provide as God provides to us. Society has taught us to live in a state of scarcity rather than a state of abundance. As we learned last week, we need to be doing things different and doing better.
Today’s passage from Exodus is a really great example of why we should be believing and trusting more than thinking that we do not have what we need...

Special instance of God’s practical provision

Today, we heard about the beginning of the desert wanderings of the Israelites. Now put yourself there with them in that moment…they had just witnessed the wonderful power of God to protect them from the Egyptian army as they crossed the Red Sea. They are venturing into a world and land that they did not really know existed. They have some provisions with them but they do not have a lot and to be honest, if they started using their cattle and livestock, they would quickly run out of food and be in a more dire situation than the one they find themselves within at this point.
Now, last week, we heard them giving praise and singing of God’s love and provision for them but we also heard them begin to grumble and complain to Moses and Aaron about their situation. What we have before us today is their anxiety and fear coming to the surface. We could spend the rest of our time focusing upon how they spend their time complaining but I do not want us to hear any of that this morning. I want us to turn this passage on its head this morning and look at it from a different perspective…with that perspective being that God heard and God provided.

Food and water in the wilderness:

Today’s passage introduced us to the idea of prayer and asking for what we need. Listen to this piece again...
Exodus 16:3 (NLT): “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”
What I am hearing in this passage is this idea of praying to God for provisions. Don’t get me wrong, they had every right to complain and these few lines tell us why. They had grown accustomed to their captors providing for them. They had been given food and water and had all they needed. Now, they left their captors and have only what they could carry with them. They were going through a change, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Here is what Moses and Aaron tell them...
Exodus 16:6–7 (NLT): “By evening you will realize it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaints, which are against him...”
In these words, I am hearing that God wanted to challenge them. God desired for the Israelites to trust in something they could only sense when God wanted them to sense it. I mean, think about it, here they were out of captivity and free and yet, they were being asked to trust two men they likely did not know very well to lead them into a desert environment where there was no food or water to be seen for miles…If we try to put this in terms of our own lives, I am sure we can all think of a time or place where we have been placed into a situation like that?
Here’s the thing though, when they complain, Aaron and Moses come back to them and say that God will provide something from heaven that they will have to collect each day so that they have all the food they need. God will provide all that they need…
Exodus 16:12 NLT
“I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’ ”
Now, God actually says that they will have all the bread they want so that they would know that God was there with them and providing for them. God provides, period, end of story. This is what I think we need to hear in this day.

God’s Love Provides What We NEED

God’s special provision for us…God provides what we need when we need it. The Israelites stand as an example of people living in a world of scarcity. They truly had a reason to be worried and concerned. They had real needs…food insecurity, land insecurity, etc. Think about it…they left everything they ever knew that kept them safe and fed and now they are wandering around in a desert with no protection from harm. You know what I am trying to get at here…they truly had scarcity.
Not unlike many in our culture and society today, these people did not know where their next meal might be coming from or where they might be laying their head that night. They did not know who would be caring for them in their time of need. They had every right to be anxious…I want to challenge each of us here today, both physically and virtually…do we have any right to live like we do not have enough? The vast majority of us do not have to worry about these things, yet there are many around us who do.
Next week, we will be presented with an opportunity to learn about another organization who provides for those in need, in particular for those suffering with mental illness and those among us who have fought for our freedoms. I invite everyone to come next week to learn more about how in our abundance, because we truly have an abundance here, we can give to others who truly need. As I end our time of reflection this morning, I want to leave you with these words of Christ as a challenge and some food for thought...
Luke 6:38 NLT
Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
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