BE BATTLE READY!: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, ...” (1 Peter 5:8-9a)
Jan 13, 2021, 11:41 AM
One of the many names by which the Israelites know God is that of Jehovah Jireh – ‘God will provide’. He earned this name when He tested Abraham by asking him to offer Him his son Isaac as sacrifice. In total obedience to God’s instruction, Abraham took Isaac with him the following day to execute God’s orders. As they journeyed up to the top of Mount Moriah, Isaac was puzzled that his father was going to offer a sacrifice without any sheep.
When he questioned him, ‘Father, the fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?’ Abraham answered, ‘God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ ” (Genesis 22:8) Rather than witness Abraham slaughter his son as an act of obedience, God provided him a ram as a substitute.
God faithfully played this role efficiently when the Children of Israel left for the Promised Land during their journey in the wilderness. First, He provided them with security. How did He do that? His presence went with them. He dwelt in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. (Exodus 14:19-20) When the pillar of cloud moved, the Children of Israel followed closely; when it became immobile they waited. At night the pillar of fire lit the way.
Jehovah Jireh fed them with angelic food for forty years; from the time they left Egypt until they set foot in the Promised Land. In the course of the journey, nothing was missing, nothing was lacking. They never sowed nor reaped. Therefore when the Children of Israel became forgetful, God reminded them. “During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.” (Deuteronomy 29:5) They murmured at the beginning as they yearned for Egyptian dishes but had to make do with the provision God, the Provider, made for them.
At the time of their departure from Egypt, the Lord made the Egyptians favourably disposed towards the people, and they gave them whatever they asked for; “So they plundered the Egyptians.” (Exodus 12: 36) The Children of Israel left Egypt with great plunder of gold and silver, precious jewels and clothing. It is self-evident that God is in the business of “... supplying all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) What He did then, He can replicate today. His supply never runs out. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” (1 Corinthians 10:26)
In the Book of the prophet Jeremiah God affirmed; “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you an unexpected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11) God is untiring in His efforts to please us; He plans for our success and guarantees our future and livelihood. He watches over us day and night as part of His abundant and never-ending love and compassion for His creation.
In the Bible, God boasts of the protection He alone can give us. He crowns it all by saying; ‘Never will I leave you nor forsake you.” God confirms in His word that we can feel safe under His protective wings.
God has not stopped providing for His own – and never would. He provided protection for the Children of Israel against the Gentile nations as they traversed the wilderness. He fought all of their wars. They only lost when they had fallen into sin and had turned their backs on the Almighty. Soon after they left Egypt and the Egyptians pursued them, He gave them the assurance that “The Egyptians you see today, you will never see again.” (Exodus 14:13b) Pharaoh and his army, along with their elite horsemen and chariots all drowned in the Red Sea.
“Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.” (Isaiah 43:13b)
At the height of Jesus’ popularity a crowd of 5,000 men - not counting the women and children who were present – had followed Him for three days. The question of providing them with food posed problems of logistics. How much money would be spent to feed such a crowd? It looked like an ordeal. Yet, all Jesus did was to request His disciples to find out whether there was any food they could lay hands on from among the crowd. They stumbled on a lad’s lunch of five loaves of bread and two fish.
To the disciples, that did not look much. Andrew even commented: ‘What are these among so many?’ But Jesus took what was available and after giving thanks He blessed the food and miraculously multiplied it; feeding all the people that were assembled -- the women and children inclusive. At the end of the exercise, Jesus asked His disciples to collect the leftovers and it filled twelve baskets. The people had eaten to their fill. God is undoubtedly the God of provision.
“For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son ...” (John 3:16) “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) That act of sacrifice was accomplished on the cross of Calvary. Jesus’ pain brought healing to our bodies; His shed blood brought us life.
In 1994, three years to my retirement, I lost my job after twenty-three years service - following the July 22nd coup. As father and breadwinner those were very trying moments for me. Worse still, I did not have a house of my own. I had little or no savings. The future looked bleak especially for my children who had nursed aspirations of studying abroad.
But God remembered me and came out strong on my behalf. Today, I have a house of my own and my children have completed their studies and are doing well. Praise God! God turned my situation around after He heard my heart cry. Isn’t our God good? He makes provision for all those who call upon His name believing!
What situation are you tolerating that is troubling you? Do not be quiet about it. Take it to the Lord in prayer.