I saw a sign that read: “Where God guides—He provides.” Is that true? If it is, why is it you have no money in your pocket? If it is, why are you in need?
In the model prayer, we are told to ask for daily bread. The phrase “daily bread” was a specific reminder of how God provided for His people during forty years of wilderness wandering. He provided for them day by day. That sounds wonderful, but it was hand to mouth. It was one day at a time. There was never an abundance. There was always just enough. They learned to trust God day by day.
The sons of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate the manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. Exodus 16: 35
The manna was God’s provision for the moment. Manna was miraculous provision from God, and it was as regular as the sunrise. God provided them with one day’s portion—their daily bread. For forty years, they lived in day to day dependence upon God’s provision. That was how God chose to provide for His people during their wanderings in the wilderness.
Are you able to identify God’s manna in your life? What is His provision of the moment for you? Have you learned to be content with what God provides, even if it is manna and not more? Manna was sustenance, and that was all. After a while, that day to day dependence upon God became monotonous, and the people began to complain. “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” Numbers 11:5-6
What is the method that God has chosen to provide for you? Have you grumbled against God because it is manna and not more? Are you resentful of living in day to day dependence upon Him?
The manna taught them about God and His methods. Why did He give them manna? He gave them bread from day to day because He wanted them to learn to depend on Him as their Provider.
“You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:2-3
The manna was not given to make them dependent on the provision, the manna itself, but on the Provider. The manna was God’s method. What is God’s method of providing for you?
During one of my pastorates, my wife and I concluded we were becoming dependent on the church. They took care of us. They provided for our needs, and we were thankful. But we also feared we were losing sight of the Provider by placing too much focus on the provision of the moment. There is danger in becoming so dependent on some blessing or provision ,that for fear of losing that blessing, we balk at following God’s leadership. Where God guides, He provides! The will of God will never take you where the grace of God can’t keep you, but you must depend on your Provider to choose the method by which He provides. They were to follow God and not the manna.
We are living in changing times. There was a time when a man got a job and kept it for most of his life. That is no longer true. Companies down-size. Long established businesses close. Economies are changing rapidly. Uncertainty abounds! The job God has given you is His provision for the moment. If you lose the job, you haven’t lost the Provider. Cling to the job for the security it provides, and fail to follow the Provider in the way that He leads, and you retain the security your job provides, but you have sacrificed the security God provides as He leads you through the wilderness of life.
While the sons of Israel camped at Gilgal they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho. On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year. Joshua 5:10-12
The manna will cease! As God guides, His way of providing will change. And honestly, the manna may cease before God’s next method of provision becomes clear. In my life, the absence of God’s provision of the moment has often prompted me to find and follow His will. If God knows we are too dependent on the provision, He will remove it to make us more dependent on Him. A good example comes from the life of the Prophet Elijah.
The word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. “It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.” 1 Kings 17:2-4
The ravens and the brook served as God’s method. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening. But after a while, the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land, and the ravens stopped coming. The manna ceased. The provision of the moment was no more. One method ended. But the Provider had another method in store! Was Elijah devastated when the brook dried up? Did he question God? After all, the brook and the ravens provided him his daily bread. He might have been! But neither the brook nor the ravens ever provided for Elijah. God did!
Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 1 Kings 17:8-9
As Elijah obediently followed His Provider, he found his needs again met by God. As the people of God, we are called to pursue the Provider.
God called Joshua to leave the wilderness, a place he knew for forty years, roads he travelled for forty years, and the provision that had was his security for forty years. His call was a call to pursue the Provider. God’s will for Joshua was no longer the wilderness. It was the land of promise!
Is God leading you down new roads and into new challenges? In order to follow God, you must abandon the security of the familiar and surrender the provision for the moment. Do you think Joshua and the people were afraid to leave the wilderness for fear that the manna would cease? No, but sometimes we are. We often hesitate to walk in the way of God’s will because we don’t see how God will provide in that setting.
God may be calling you to take some courageous step of faith, but you say, “Oh, but I will lose the security of this steady income.” Yes! You probably will. That is what you need to understand up front. God has not called you to depend on His provision, but on Him as your Provider.
There was no manna in the Promised Land because the manna was God’s provision for the moment. He had other methods and other means in the Promised Land. If God leads you in a new direction, don’t be afraid to walk in the way of God’s will, even if you can’t foresee how He will provide for you there. Don’t focus on the provision for the moment. Keep your eyes on God, who Provides! The manna will cease. When it does, know that God has other measures to provide for His own.
All Scripture comes from the NASB® www.lockman.org
Photo by Lily Lvnatikk