He is Enough

Exodus 16:12 “I have heard the murmurings of the Israelites.  Tell them, ‘During the evening you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be satisfied with bread, so that you may know that I am the LORD your God.‘  19  “Moses said to them, ‘no one is to keep any of it until morning.’  20 But they did not listen to Moses; some kept part of it until morning, and it was full of worms and began to stink, and Moses was angry with them.” 

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Enough.  What is enough?  Who determines what is enough?  I can relate to the Israelites here – our tendency is to judge them for not trusting and trying to gather more – kind of gluttonous – but I daresay we all do the same thing.  With a miracle like bread coming from the sky and God promising to give them just what they need, one could rest secure, right?  Yet with similar provision from God that might appear less miraculous, we also can resist dependence on God and place our confidence in our own ability to make enough preparations. 

Don’t get me wrong – preparation is not a bad thing.  Boy Scouts everywhere boast of the necessity of being prepared.  (o:  In fact, lack of preparation is being slack and not a good character quality at all.  But what I am talking about is more a motive of the heart than diligence.  God permitted the Israelites to gather twice the amount before the Sabbath so they could rest – and the worms did not come, nor did the stench reminiscent of gathering too much on previous days.  God had them work to gather food, but He was the source of that food.  He wanted to be their Provider in relationship with His creation. 

Perhaps it is not about trusting whether or not God will provide, but whether or not His provision will line up with what we think we need.  Trusting His goodness, wisdom and sovereignty to see our need and meet it.  When my husband was laid off in 2012, we had no savings.  Poor planning, you might say, but difficult circumstances had acquired any extra income and now we were facing an uncertain time.  Would God provide?  Oh yes!  Just days later, we would receive income sufficient for the time God had placed on my heart – 8 months with no steady income.  Random checks in the mail, a booming garden, and miraculous gifts of food that were exactly what my heart desired, proved to me that God cared about the little details.  Friends could not have known that I missed feta cheese and coconut oil, for I had only told the LORD that – but I received those two items from several friends who felt “led” to give them to me.  We had so much in the garden that I was able to bless people back who had blessed us.

I look back at that time with gratitude and joy.  Uncertain times, but a peace and faith that God granted in the midst.  The Israelites had just experienced God’s amazing deliverance by His parting of the sea.  Now God was testing their hearts – He wanted them to know that He was the Lord their God.  If the trials and testings never came, we would not value the provision that God sends.  We would not be satisfied if we never knew want.  The element of trusting in God and His promises for provision is the core message.  We all do not like to be uncomfortable and our flesh can quickly accuse God when He allows in discomfort, until we recognize it is His loving hand and a heart that desires to have fellowship with us.

One last thing – when someone makes a promise to provide, one usually would want to know for certain that they have the ability to provide.  A borrower wants to be assured that the lender is able to supply his request.  To doubt the capability of the living God to provide – Creator of all and the owner of all on this planet – is lunacy.  He has more than enough and is able to do far beyond what we ever could imagine.  To doubt His goodness to provide is also insanity.  Goodness does not equal giving us everything we want.  We might not be able to go see a movie or go out to eat whenever we want, but that pales in comparison to true needs.  Don’t despise the moments of needing to lean on God more.  Recognizing our need of Him is the greatest gift of all.

Dear Lord, please grant us perspective to see Your purposes and not just the surface we are experiencing.  Thank You that You provided Your Son when we were yet Your enemies.  Thank You for Your steadfast love and care.

 

You Have the Strength

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By: Denise Pass – © 6/4/14

Judges 6:12-16, 22-24 “The Lord’s messenger appeared and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, courageous warrior!’ Gideon said to him, “Pardon me, but if the Lord is with us, why has such disaster overtaken us?’…Then the Lord himself turned to him and said, ‘You have the strength. Deliver Israel from the power of the Midianites! Have I not sent you?’ Gideon said to him, ‘But, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Just look! My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my family.’ The Lord said to him, “Ah, but I will be with you!’ . . . When Gideon realized that it was the Lord’s messenger, he said, “Oh no! Master Lord! I have seen the Lord’s messenger face to face!’ The Lord said to him, ‘You are safe! Do not be afraid! You are not going to die!’ Gideon built and altar for the Lord there and named it, ‘The Lord is on friendly terms with me’”.

 

This message is for the fainthearted today who do not think they can even crawl out of bed, much less make it through a day or cry out to God one more time. Like Gideon, do you find yourself in a place where disaster has overtaken you? Gideon is honest about his doubts of victory. I love our Lord’s patience with Gideon while he takes awhile to figure out that God is enough. I remember not being able to feel my hands or feet due to anxiety – fear and dread over what next thing my enemy who was once my friend would unleash upon me. In the depths of my despair I cried out, “Lord, why must I suffer for another man’s sins?” “I did not complain when I bore yours – my grace is sufficient for you” was the response. In that agonizing place sometimes hearing that we have strength is not enough or believable. We tend to focus on the problem or on our weakness.  Gideon did, too.  But when God says it, and He promises to supply us with the strength and grace we need, then if we just step out in faith, He will do it – through us. People have said I am strong, but I know the truth. In my weakness, He is the strong one. Gideon named His Lord aptly – how amazing that He is our friend. As we walk with God in relationship, not religion, we begin to know His character. How amazing that we can know God – the Creator of the world! He is my Shield and Protector, my Defender. He was ‘the God who sees me’ to Hagar, ‘The God Who provides’ to Abraham. Who is God to you?

Lord, help us to realize that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. Grant us strength to accomplish what you have called us to and faith to do that work.