It’s not about food

Psalm 23:1 says: “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” This reassures us of God’s provision. He promises to provide what we need, when we need it. The purpose of the Bible, God’s love letter to His children, is to reveal His true nature to us. In Malachi 3:6, God says: “I the Lord do not change.” Because God does not change, we know that what He reveals about Himself is constant. God is constant.

Back to God’s provision. Most of can recite the Lord’s prayer, even if we haven’t thought too much about what it is says. Jesus taught His disciples this prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.’

Let’s think about the line “Give us today our daily bread.” Certainly I believe that God will provide our daily sustenance, but I think the picture is much bigger. This teaches us that God will provide, today, exactly what we need, today, to carry out His purpose for our lives. Do you need the courage to talk about God to your colleague at work, your friend in turmoil, your sister far from God? God will provide. Do you need the strength to release bitterness, to face a bad health diagnosis, to survive the loss of a loved one? God will provide. Do you need the resolve to walk away from a sexual relationship, to begin tithing, to deny a destructive habit? God will provide.

God paints a vivid picture of His plan for our provision in Exodus 16:2-5. God had just delivered His people from bondage in Egypt. He had promised them a new home, the land of Canaan. They were not yet ready to accept this promise, however, so God led them into the desert.

“In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”

Here’s the deal. If God provided a month of food, the people would only need God once a month. The “daily bread” solution forced them to rely on God each and every day. This example of God’s provision is not just about food, though. God was teaching His people, teaching us, that he wants us to trust Him, to obey Him, to be HIS people. If God solved all our problems, if we had no challenges, we wouldn’t need Him. We wouldn’t seek Him, cry out to Him, worship Him.

Let’s distill this into simple terms. God will provide. We need to trust in His provision. It is circular, not linear. God provides, we trust, God provides more, we trust more… It is relationship. It is love.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

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About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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