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.