And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”
(From H3068 and H7200; Jehovah will see (to it); Jehovah-Jireh)
For today’s study, let’s start by breaking down the word ‘provide’.
Pro – forward
video – to see, to look out for, to perceive
The word ‘provide’ is intimately linked to the ability to ‘see ahead‘
“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? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Do you believe it is possible to get to a place where we can make these verses in Matthew 6 a reality? Or do you believe they are an impossibility, not applicable to the real world?
Blessing and Cursing
Barakh and Barakhah are forms of the same word and are the only Hebrew words for bless or blessing.
All forms of blessing appear to derive from the relationship between man and God and the concept of kneeling before God for ……
- Giving Him worship – in gratitude (thanking the One that blesses)
- Receiving God’s kindness and grace. (being blessed)
- Passing on God’s kindness and grace (being a blessing)
In Genesis 12:2 God tells Abraham that He will bless him and that Abraham would also be a blessing.
God blesses us by providing for our needs and we bless Him by offering our faith, gratitude and obedience to Him.
Putting it in the simplest of forms (after much study of the words, the Hebrew and Greek roots and varied shadows of meaning taken into consideration), blessed is good and cursed is bad.
Blessing and Cursing in the New Testament
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”
So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; (isn’t striving under the law done away with? We are in the N.T. Some people are still striving under law, instead of being blessed with believing Abraham apparently) for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT CONTINUE IN ALL THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO DO THEM.”
But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
Yet the law is not of faith, but “THE MAN WHO DOES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Why do so many people think that blessing and cursing is Old Testament only, or at best, a side-issue? God was evidently concerned enough about the curse to send His own Son to pay the price of it for us.
God as provider in creation.
Remember our word definitions that we started off with?
If God is our Provider, He ‘sees forward’ – so He knows ‘before’.
Reading Genesis 1 we see that He established His provision, then placed the receivers of that provision in it.
Day 1 – He created the day and night. Day 4 – He filled the night with moon, sun and stars.
Day 2 – He made the firmament and separated out the waters above from below. Day 5 – He filled the waters with creatures.
Day 3 – He allocated the dry land and made the trees, grass, herbs, etc. Day 6 – He filled the land with living creatures and man.
He sees what we need and provides it. Has He provided the means for our exodus from debt, sickness and every other derivative of the curse?
The Entry of the Curse
Read Genesis 3
A blessing was in operation on the earth up to Genesis 3. God’s favour was on Adam and Eve. God’s intention for mankind was to do them good. He made a garden, filled it with everything man needed, put them in it and told them to look after it and grow it.
From this point, instead of man resting in the provision of God , we have set ourselves up as the providers.
We became wise in our own eyes. Wasn’t that how the serpent tempted Eve?
And oh, what a heavy burden that can be, when our focus is self-reliance!
Think about how Adam and Eve lived in the blessing that was God’s provision.
The blessing is simply having a relying trust in God to know what we need and to make provision for it, and He is over and above, more than enough, pressed down, shaken together, cup running over, unlimited.
Cursed shall the ground be for your sake, In toil you shall eat of it, all the days of your life.
It will bring forth thorns and thistles, and you shall eat the herb off the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, until you return to the ground.
For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, (first step in moving away from what God had provided and commanded – that tree was not on His list) she saw that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Will we depend on God?
“Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
It keeps coming back to this obedience thing doesn’t it? Did you notice that a few paragraphs above I said that God ‘makes provision’ for us – not that He ‘provides’ what we need? Because the condition is obedience. What did Jesus say in the gospel of John? ‘If you love Me you will obey My commandments and you will ask what you will and it will be done for you‘. Did you also notice that Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s instruction?
Isaiah 1:19-20 (NKJV)
If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
God does not give up trying to get the Israelites to rely on Him as their Provider. He fed them with manna, to test their response.
How did that work out?
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.
Nehemiah lays it out in more detail for us. Nehemiah is recounting Israel’s history through the wilderness and into the promised land, as a reminder, a warning and encouragement to them, NOT TO GO THE SAME WAY!
You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, And brought them water out of the rock for their thirst, And told them to go in to possess the land Which You had sworn to give them. But they and our fathers acted proudly, Hardened their necks, And did not heed Your commandments. They refused to obey, And they were not mindful of Your wonders That You did among them. But they hardened their necks, And in their rebellion They appointed a leader To return to their bondage. But You are God, Ready to pardon, Gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, Abundant in kindness, And did not forsake them.
Even when they made a molded calf for themselves, And said, ‘This is your god That brought you up out of Egypt,’ And worked great provocations, Yet in Your manifold mercies You did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of the cloud did not depart from them by day, To lead them on the road; Nor the pillar of fire by night, To show them light, And the way they should go. You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, And did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, And gave them water for their thirst. Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness; They lacked nothing; Their clothes did not wear out And their feet did not swell.
The Apostle Paul tells us that these scriptures were written for our benefit, as an example, to make us:
- wise for salvation,
- for reproof,
- for correction,
- for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Corinthians 10:11)
The Father’s Provision through the Son
The Past, the Present and the Future
The Father has provided for us through His Son Jesus, who is THE antidote to the curse. WHAT a provider He is!
The Provision for the Past
We look to the cross, where Jesus paid the price for our sins. He became our Kinsman Redeemer (see the book of Ruth). We no longer have to live in condemnation because of our inability to atone (pay the due penalty) for our past. We have the surety of eternal salvation, freedom from punishment,, and even greater, the promise of eternal life to live with Him.
Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities…
John 3:16 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Psalm 103:8-12 (NKJV)
The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
The Provision for the Present
The flowing of His grace that gives a taste of the future kingdom.
Isaiah 53:4 (NIV)
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
Matthew 8:16-17 (NKJV)
When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick,
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.”
The work that Jesus carried out in the gospels, followed by His disciples in the book of Acts, was a foretaste of our full redemption package that we will eventually live in.
For now we have but a taste. We live in the age of His grace, where through faith and obedience we learn to live in His provision.
Hebrews 6:11-15 (NKJV)
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,
that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,
saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.”
And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
We are learning to trust.
To trust Him to ‘see before’ what we need and to supply it.
We are learning to walk in faith.
To believe that He is good and all good things come from Him above.
We are learning obedience.
Not just religiously following a set of commandments, but truly seeking His heart because of our love for Him. Where His desires become our desires. Finding out what He requires of us and willing doing it.
The Provision for the Future
Where we enter into our full redemption package, with a new body.
1 Corinthians 15:50-55 (NKJV)
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed–
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
Where every tear will be wiped away.
Revelation 21:1-4 (NKJV)
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Accessing the Provision
We access the provision through faith. But, faith demands obedience.
Look at the multitude of healing stories in Jesus ministry in the four gospels.
Give a few scripture examples
What is the common factor?
He was always working to draw faith out of the receiver?
Isn’t He the Word of God in the flesh? Couldn’t He just do it? Why does He require our cooperation?
Without faith it is impossible to please God
If you believe, all things are possible.
“If it’s God’s will to heal me, then He’ll do it, if not, I guess He just wants me to stay sick.”
A kingdom divided against itself will fall – if God wanted us to be sick, poor and oppressed, then Jesus worked against the will of the Father, because scripture tells us that He healed ALL the sick that came to Him, and delivered everyone that was oppressed.
When the Pharisees accused Him of casting out demons by the power of beelzebub, He said that if He operated in the power of the devil, then He wouldn’t be casting the devil out.
I came to destroy the works of the evil one.
Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW only too well that not everybody that is sick gets healed in this life. There are some things that are out of our realm of understanding. We don’t walk perfectly in faith, in trust, in obedience, in love. But I do know that Jesus came to do the will of the Father, so I look at the picture of His ministry, combined with the pastoral letters, as one to model my theology on.
Mat 12:22 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.
Jesus put Isaiah 61 into operation –
The Spirit of God was working through Him to –
- tell the oppressed and downtrodden that there is good news
- cut the chains of bondage of those who have been held captive by the work of the enemy and
- give freedom to them to walk right out of that prison door.
Rest in His Will
We cannot operate outside of the known will of God. It takes some digging to find out what that is. But is it worth it?
It will depend on your priorities.
Practice Being Thankful
And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.”
It is never a good idea to grumble and complain at the Lord’s provision. Learn to be grateful for everything that you do have. There has to be something that you can give thanks for.
Some wise person once said, “Get up with the intention of liking everything you do, and every place you go. Eventually, you won’t be any place that you don’t like.”
Take Joy in Giving
Remember at the beginning of this study we talked about believing Abraham?
He was blessed to be a blessing. I believe this is a major way of worshipping God.
I have to say, that it has been the times when I have had relatively little, that I took great joy in giving to God, even from the little I had.
The widows mite – Mark 12:44
It’s one thing to put in out of abundance. But another to put in when you don’t seem to have enough to make ends meet.
Jesus was very interested in the offerings.
We often don’t like to talk about it. A bit distasteful to talk about money.
Why do you think that is? Think about it a minute.
Is it perhaps, that money is the thing we want to hang on to the most. Notice He didn’t run over to the offering and give her half her money back.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
Giving is so important because it is intimately connected to trust.
Trusting that God is our Provider and will look after us.
Like the people in Deuteronomy, we are still having to choose today – will we be those who are of faith, that maintain a trusting, confident with God, resting in Him for His provision.