The word 'Provide' is in the word Providential. It means 'To Look After, or to take care of, or to give that which is needed; to sustain and keep, to preserve and to protect (this goes beyond our temporal needs for food, shelter, clothing, finances). It takes in account our spiritual needs such as: temperance, patience, and godliness.
God's Providential Face:
1. Sees the need (present and future)
2. Discerns what is needed
3. Decides when and how He will take care of what is needed
God's Providential Face is marked by three things.
1. Fore site 2. Wisdom 3. Good judgement
He is a God who who makes provisions for our present and our future. He is not a God that does things only for the here and now (the mean time).
The Face of Fore site: He Sees
We see things, but mostly after the fact, in hind sight. God is seeing what is to come. He sees what's up ahead. He has the ability to see what's ahead of us in every situation and circumstance in our lives.
It is difficult sometimes for us to understand why things or situations fall the way they do. We, in our own strength may even try to turn the tide (direction) of a thing to avoid it or change its course somehow; and then against our will and even to our surprise, things take a different turn. In God's fore site He sees that, "All things work together for our good" (Romans 8:28). Not some, but 'ALL'. All for His divine purposes. We don't know the inner workings of a situation (all the finer details and events and what they may lead to). Only His fore site knows that. It is in God's fore site that He makes the promises He makes to us. He has the divine ability to see ahead. Before we even go through a testing or a trial, He's telling us what the end will result in, i.e. 'Our Good'. We can't see up ahead, but we can have the confidence that it will end good. We will benefit from the experience (trial, affliction, burden, crisis, hardship).
When we go to Him in prayer, it is to help us seek His Providential Face as well as prepare our hearts in faith for the provisions He's already made for us.
Our prayers move the hand of God because He takes great delight in His children calling on His name, and not because He will have to now find what He will do for us.
In God's fore site, He says to Jacob in a dream, "And behold I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places where you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken to you of" (Genesis 28:15).
Here was God looking and seeing what was up ahead. He was looking out for Jacob before He even set foot in those places. God's fore site had already provided protection and was ready to preserve and keep and sustain Jacob wherever he went.
In Genesis 50:20, Joseph tells his brethren that all that happened to him was God orchestrated to the end (purpose) that many would be saved alive. Joseph went from the pit to the palace and became a Prince (and Governor) of Egypt. God's Providential Face followed Joseph through all of the injustices he suffered, the lies told on him, and the imprisonment, all the way to the king's palace. There is no one better qualified to look after our affairs and interests than the Lord God. Once again, we see the protection, preserving, sustaining, providing, keeping hand of God over Joseph. What magnificent fore site!
In the book of Esther 4:14 we read "For such a time as this." Mordecai encourages Esther with this thought. She was placed in this strategic place for the saving of the Jews. This trial led to prayer and fasting for three whole days. She put her life on the line. The Jews were saved and Her uncle, Mordecai, who looked after her all her life, was elevated. What incredible fore site!
God told Elijah in 1 Kings 17:9-12, "I have commanded a widow woman to sustain thee." In God's fore site, He was looking out for His servants needs. Provisions were already being made for Him to be sustained, kept, preserved and protected. We should trust in His fore site for whatever situation we find ourselves in. For the end can only be for our blessing.
The Face of Wisdom: He Discerns
We don't have the ability to know the deep inner details of a situation. We can only see 'wisdom' unfold by connecting the dots through our lives and circumstances. In the case of Joseph, one would wonder if God possessed any wisdom at all. Why permit such sorrow, hurt and pain and loss for a 17 year old boy who had done nothing but obey his father's orders? God's divine wisdom showed itself in him being sold to Potiphar, in his elevation, even in prison, in his ability to interpret the dream of the baker and the butler and subsequently, the king of Egypt. God is truly a wise God!
With Esther, another would say that Esther's reign as Queen was not one of beauty on display (as she enjoyed being the best looking woman in the kingdom). We certainly don't read of her basking in the lime light or throwing around her power and position like Queen Elizabeth, but we do see God's wisdom in making her Queen at that particular time in the history of the Jews. The Jews were going to be annihilated, including Esther. She was in the best possible position for God to do His work. He put one of His own in a powerful position to act when the time came. Not only was she a beauty, she possessed brains and courage!
Elijah and the widow of Zarephath's story makes you wonder what was God thinking! What kind of wisdom is this? He sends His servant to a widow woman who was poor, down and out, with a gloomy doomed outlook, ready to eat her last meal and die. On the surface it seems to make no sense, but to God, He took care of what these three people needed all in one act. In making a cake for the man of God using her last, she exemplified great faith. She received a blessing. She and her son were preserved, sustained, kept and provided for. God certainly looked after them using Elijah. As for Elijah, he too was sustained and kept as he continued to be used of God during a difficult time in Israel's history.
Remember, faith is the ability to see God in the dark. In God's wisdom the way had been prepared in advance for us. He is a wise God. He can be trusted with all of our circumstances.
He is wise and He knows the way.
His Face of Good Judgement: He decides
If we decide on our behalf, the spiritual lessons would be incomplete or missed all together. God makes divine decisions on our behalf. He has carefully weighed everything concerning us. He has decided how long a situation will last. He has decided the depth of the waters and the temperature of the fire we pass through.
He is not cruel. He is kind. "He is touched with the feeling of our situations" (Hebrews 4:15, 16). He has divine sympathy for us. We are encouraged to approach Him with boldness that we may obtain the mercy and grace to help us in our need.
When does God decide 'Enough Is Enough?" Deliverance comes when He has accomplished His will in us.
Joseph's sufferings and losses and hurt and pain produced God's will and purposes for his life. In the end he could say, "God planned it for Good." What good judgement the Lord showed in securing Joseph a place in Egypt in light of a famine and sending his brethren there. God's good judgement put Joseph in the perfect place to help all of Israel.
Esther found herself in a pretty dangerous situation in going to approach the king when he hadn't called for her. Even though God's name is never mentioned in this book, we see Him there in the providential care of Esther and His people Israel. She realized with the help of Mordecai God's purposes in her being Queen, "For such a time as this." It was all to save the lives of her people Israel.
For Elijah, the Lord had already previously ordered nature to hold back on watering the earth. God was not going to subject His own to suffer due to the impending judgement that was coming. He was going to sustain and keep His prophet and the widow and her son. In His good judgement, He put them in the position to help one another.
Let us learn to trust in God's fore site even if we can't see up ahead. After all, all we truly need is for Him to see what's ahead of us. Remember, faith is the ability to see God in the dark.
Let us lean on His wisdom to know exactly what we need. It may not seem to make any sense to you what you are going through. His wisdom will always do what is best for you and I.
Let us come to respect His good judgement. He will not subject His children to more than what's necessary. It isn't easy, I know, this isn't a cake walk. I have been through things over the years where the Lord has mentioned these very points to me when I sat wondering 'why' am I going through what I was going through. I just know that His grace was all He felt necessary to give me, even though I told Him, "I don't want your grace, I want out!" Looking back, in hind sight (as only the way we see things), I saw what and why God allowed all that He allowed. My life today is the better for it. He helps us to come into a measure of understanding in order to make sense of it all.
Matthew 24:6-13 NIV
" You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."
These were the things Jesus prepared His disciples for. They were to expect these events to occur and they were not to be troubled or concerned about them.
The Last Days began when Jesus ascended back to heaven after His death and resurrection. This speaks to a period and time on the earth. Many of us have heard of earthquakes and famines for as long as we could remember hearing of them. There have been wars, religious wars, of all kind over the many years. The Bible tells us that these events are just the dress rehearsal for the end.
We have all been taken by surprise by this Covid-19 Pandemic and now the Delta strain. Pestilences were to be expected in the Last Days as well. "There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven" (Luke 21:11). The Bible tells us that these things will come to pass before the end comes (vs. 9). We can expect these things to become more intense, and happening more frequently. These things are a part of prophecy and will eventually lead into the end.
"But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (vs. 34-36). We are told to pay attention to how we are living during these difficult and dangerous (perilous) times.
The one thing that we can always count on with God is that He never sugar coats things and He tells us what to expect. He prepares us for life here and all the things that will happen. He not only forewarns us, He lays it out plain and clear how we are to maintain our Christian walk and faith as we wait for His return. Some of us may live to see the 'Rapture', though not a word mentioned in scripture, but the Bible speaks of the catching away, being caught up to meet Him in the air. While some of us may live to experience that, many may pass into the presence of the Lord awaiting resurrection, which will occur first then those who remain on the earth will be caught up (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
So, with those facts in mind, how are you managing in the midst of this Pandemic? It has been a scary time to say the least. So many people died and never got the chance to say good bye to their loved ones. They had so many plans and expectations for the year 2020, only to get Covid-19 and perish. There were also those who survived the deadly virus and lived to tell about it. God called some of His people home via this same Virus. So many things happened that made many wonder what was next.
For those of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are to hold fast and keep our eyes on the Lord even more. We are to be strong in the faith and trust His Word to us. We are to be prayerful and watchful as we go about our daily tasks. We are to be Salt and Light. Salt not only helps to preserve, it creates a thirst. May we have that affect on all those around us.
And if you should find yourself worried, or fearful, remember this:
There's a man mentioned in 2 Samuel chapter 20 by the name of Sheba. His reputation was that of a rebel. He encouraged Israel to desert King David after the death of Absalom. David was in the process of being brought back as king after his son, Absalom, executed a Coo against his kingdom; now here comes this rebellious person, Sheba, who tries to keep people from following David.
This world is full of 'Trouble Makers'. They come in all shapes, sizes, and cultural backgrounds. Their main objective is to cause division wherever they go. They have a negative influence on all who listen to them. They are not for peace. They come to disturb. We see in this chapter how God deals with trouble makers. The interesting thing about them is that they run when the heat is under them. They don't have much by way of courage. They do their dirt and run and hide, but usually not for long. Sheba ended up getting his head cut off!
Have you encountered a trouble maker? Tell God about them and leave Him to handle them. God has a way of quieting them and giving them what they deserve. He knows how to get rid of trouble makers.
In 2 Samuel 19:24-28, is the story about Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan and the last surviving heir of Saul. Long story short, Ziba lied (16:3) as to the reason Mephibosheth wasn't with him when he (Ziba) went to meet King David. He said in essence that Mephibosheth abandoned David. Later we read in chapter 19 that it wasn't true. Ziba's intent was to gain something for himself from David's situation in relation to the now absence of Absalom. Instead of him serving Mephibosheth, he goes behind his back, bad mouths him, and concocts a lie.
Experiencing a 'Betrayal' is never easy. It makes it difficult to trust again. In this case, when the truth is disclosed, David continues his kindness to Mephibosheth. In the end, lies are short lived and God always exposes them and the persons who spout them. "A lie is but for a moment", the Bible says. "Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment" (Proverbs 12:19).
The Apostle Paul was being attacked by Alexander, the coppersmith. He caused a lot of harm for him. These were serious attacks. In 2 Timothy 4:14 it says, "Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his work." The bible tells us that whatever we plant (sow) we will surely reap. So, we know Alexander got what was coming to him. God's word won't return void, meaning, what God says always comes to pass!
Do you remember the story of Hannah and Peninnah? This account describes what an adversary does. Due to Peninnah's jealousy of Hannah (the wife who was loved more, though she was barren), she sets a plan in motion to make Hannah's life miserable every chance she gets. Misery will always want company and that is it in a nutshell. Peninnah was having all the children, at the time, yet she couldn't get the love and affection from Elkanah. Look at how that story ends; Hannah cries out to God to intervene and He does, big time! She gets pregnant and has a total of seven children, and we read no more about her adversary. God knows how to shut the mouth of those who rise up against us to cause us pain and suffering. He silences them! Trust God and he will do the same for you!
In Matthew chapter 14, there's an account involving John the Baptist and the spiteful, vengeful, Herod the tetrarch. John told him that it was not right for him to mess with his brother, Philip's wife, Herodias, so he put John in prison. Herod, at that time, really wanted to kill John, but because of John's reputation, likened to a prophet, he feared the multitude. Herod had a big birthday party and his niece, Herodias's daughter, danced before him. He made a promise that she could ask what she wanted from him and he would give it. Her mother, wicked Herodias, tells her daughter to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. So John was beheaded as a result of this revenge. Yet, God allowed it. But don't think for one moment that the judgement for Herod and Herodias has been overlooked. It hasn't because they are accountable to God for the murder of an innocent servant of the Lord God!
We can also add Jezebel to this portion on 'Vengeful Spirits'! We read about her in 1 Kings chapter 21. Her husband, King Ahab, wanted his neighbor's vineyard and asked him for it. Naboth told Ahab that he couldn't sell his inheritance and Ahab got upset, went home sulking and when Jezebel his wife, asked him what was wrong, he told her and she schemed and plotted the death of Naboth. Again, God allowed and innocent man to lose his life to wicked vengeful spirits. However, the death of Ahab and Jezebel, Israel's king and queen, was one of shame and infamy. There was no male ever to take the throne from Ahab's line and Jezebel was thrown from a window and the dogs ate her and there was nothing left of her but her skull, feet, and the palms of her hands (2 Kings 9:35-37).
Jealous and Envious Spirits:
The experience that David had with King Saul shows us how dangerous jealousy and envy can be. Saul let things get way out of hand, within his own heart. Jealousy says, "I wish I had what you have", while envy says, "I want what you have and I will do anything to keep you from having it." The account is in 1 Samuel 18:8. Saul became jealous over the fact that the women sang a song of victory naming David, when Saul was use to it being about him. He resented David for the attention and accolades he received that day when he killed Goliath. Saul made many attempts on David's life but to no avail. Saul's reign did not end well and David became Israel's next king. Jealousy and envy accomplishes nothing! Does this type of behavior cause a lot of problems? Yes, it does, but to the one who hides under the shadow of the Lord's wings, he or she will be protected and helped to navigate around such individuals. Satan is behind such behavior and uses it to hinder believers from accomplishing what God has for them to do. Do not submit to such spirits! Cry out to God, and then stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!
"Is any among you suffering? Let him pray" (James 5:13). "God will repay each person according to what they have done" (Romans 2:6 NIV).
Once again, we can add David to this one too, for he suffered being persecuted by Saul
(1 Samuel 19). Hannah suffered being persecuted by her adversary, Peninnah. The Bible says, "All who live godly will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). When we are living in a way that pleases God, we will attract persecution. All sorts of attacks will come, even our own family members will hate us and strike out against us in all sorts of ways. People on our jobs, schools, and even people who once liked you will turn on you because God's 'Light' that shines through you will reveal their darkness. They will be repelled by you and lie on you and scheme against you too. The scripture says, in essence, to expect persecution when it comes. It's not for you and me to fight against those who persecute us. Commit your soul to the righteous judge and He will give the grace (divine ability) to endure your circumstances. Just take it the the Lord God. Our persecutors won't go free! Who knows, they might even come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ by your testimony and repent of such behavior.
The all time, familiar story of Joseph and his 10 wicked brothers take the cake (Genesis 37, 39,40, through chapter 47)! What a story! I love this story because it shows us God's providential care of Joseph. It shows us how when we live out God's purpose for our life, the result is grand, to say the least. God is always preparing us for that ultimate ministry work we were born to fulfill. Joseph's brothers could not, and did not enter into spiritual things like he did. They were fleshly, disobedient, and dysfunctional family members. They were jealous and envious of Joseph. As an aside, some of them had different mothers. That also adds problems to their family dynamic. They hate Joseph to the point of wanting to kill him! They sell him for money and lie to their father concerning his disappearance, and finally thought they got rid of the brother whom their father loved so dearly. Well, 17 years go by and boy do they get the surprise of their lives! Joseph, the one they despised has now become Governor of all Egypt, and in charge of the food! So, now they need him, the very one they hated, they need in order to survive. What a flip in this script!
Don't fret because people hate you and plot evil against you. Tell it to Jesus! He has a plan for them! They have to answer to God for their actions. They will not go free! God says, "For we know the one who said, "I will take revenge. I will pay them back" (Hebrews 10:30).
In Numbers chapter 12 we read about Miriam and Aaron, her brother. These were Moses's two siblings. We remember Miriam as the young girl who watched her baby brother, Moses, as he floated down the Nile river in a basket, in order that he might be preserved. As an adult she leads Israel in praise and worship! She is now engaging in racism. She started the negative remarks about her sister-in-law who happened to be of another race. Aaron followed her lead and they both sinned. However, Miriam is the one who is afflicted with leprosy. She initiated the racist behavior. God judged her immediately, it seems. James 2:9 says, "But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors." Racism, and prejudice is a sin. "My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality" (vs 1).
Our society has been reeling from this malady and it won't ever end because the issue is the heart of man. Until man's heart is regenerated, born anew, by the word of God, it will remain dark, and ugly and full of sin. Many are the targets of such racism, but in James, God speaks to His own people, Christians, and tells us that we can't say we hold the faith of the Lord Jesus with racism in our hearts. Yes, Christians can be prejudice!
God judges Miriam and rebukes Aaron! Don't ever forget this! Trust God in these last days, tuck yourself under His wings and let Him quiet your heart and navigate you through this dark scene.
There was a married couple who was prosperous in real estate. Acts chapter 5 sets the scene with Ananias and his wife, Sapphira. Long story short, they lied to the Apostle Peter concerning what they sold their land for. Now, this was voluntary. No one dictated what they should give. They said they would give such and such, and then gave less, keeping back some of the proceeds for themselves. Perhaps the larger amount they agreed to was to impress others. Maybe they wanted it to look like they gave more than everyone else. Pride will do that. Yet, in their hearts, they wanted the money for themselves. Well, Ananias took a while to return and so his wife went looking for him. She knew where he had gone. When she arrives, Peter asks her what they sold the land for and she lied just like her hubby and they both died instantly, right on the spot for it. You see, what they didn't understand was this, when you lie, you are not merely lying to the person you see, you are lying to the Holy Spirit of God. Why did God fall on them immediately? Was it that serious? God wanted everyone who heard about what they did to understand how He feels about 'Lying' period! God hates a lying tongue. "These six things doth the LORD hate; yea seven are an abomination unto him. A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren" (Proverbs 6:16-19).
It's interesting to note that the liar hates the person they are lying to. "A lying tongue hates its victims" (Proverbs 26:28a).
Have you ever been lied on, or lied to? How did it make you feel? Well, none to worry, God knows the truth and so do you. Take comfort in the fact that God can shut the mouth of the liar! Remember earlier in this blog I said a lie is but for a moment. The truth always surfaces. If it doesn't come out in the wash, it most certainly will come out in the rinse! God has your back, He will do something about it because lying is a real big deal to God, and He hates it!
In some of these cases there was judgment from God upon the individual (or people).
Are you down, discouraged, mentally and emotionally tired and unhappy ? Do you feel as if life has treated you unfairly and life is unkind?
From the time that sin came into the world by Adam and Eve, the world has been plunged into the above symptoms and more!
The good news is that you don't have to remain feeling down, discouraged, mentally and emotionally tired and unhappy! God has a remedy to fix all of that.
When we set our heart and mind to approach God on the issues of our life, He begins to set us free from the symptoms that seem to plaque us day after day. Now, it doesn't happen over night like some magical cure. It does require that you sit down and have an out right honest talk with God about everything going on in your life. Bring your past and all of its ugliness to Him as well. You've got to enter into an intimate place with God, first believing that He is who He says He is, Confessing that you have sinned against Him as an unbeliever, or maybe you're a Christian who has not fully surrendered to Him, never the less, explain what your life has been and place faith and trust in Him and ask for His help.
God hears and answers prayers of the humble in heart and those who cry to Him in their hour of need. Make today the last day that you walk around with all of those symptoms oppressing you.
Let God know that you are willing and ready to place your trust in Him in order to live a life of peace, happiness, joy, and contentment for the life He created you to live!
John 3:16 "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 84:18 "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit."
Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry."
Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and our strength, A very present help in trouble."
Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 55:22 "Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved."
What a week of phenomenal blessings! God is good like that! He always hears and honors my prayers!
It always pays to trust in God and do things His way. Often He calls us to patience, and we know how difficult it can be to wait without knowing when you'll see what you want come to past. But it is the best and most important thing to do. Wait on the Lord!
God does incredible things for those of us who have learned to trust Him. I can tell you from personal experience that it is all worth waiting for. His timing is perfect! What He has waiting for us is better than anything we could ever ask for. It isn't until we see the blessing that we understand why things happened the way they did.
So, as I sat and reflected on all of God's goodness to me, I enjoy the blessings from His hand! He answers prayer even beyond anything I could have thought to mention to Him.
Pray in faith without wavering, the scripture tells us, hold on to what God promises in His word, keep the faith no matter what, and you too will rejoice and be filled with the Joy of The Lord!