God Meets Our Physical Needs
This was a cute commercial. Yet it illustrates a great spiritual truth in regard to our relationship with God. God wants to provide for you -- including your physical needs. Do you appreciate the fact that God wants to provide for your needs? Or are you sometimes like the man in the desert -- forsaking the provision because it is not quite what you want? I think all of us can act that way at times. Nevertheless, it is always true that God wants to provide for you -- He wants to provide for all your needs (Phil. 4:19), including physical needs such as thirst and hunger.
As the Israelites marched through the desert, they had to learn this important truth. Thank God, He wants to provide for us! Yet, like the Israelites, you and I must learn to appreciate God's desire and ability to provide for our needs. He really, really does love us! How, then, can we turn away from the blessings of His provision for us? We turn away by complaining. God desires to provide for all your needs. He can and will deliver. By complaining, we make God out to be a liar or, worse, a God without the power to help you.
Main Thought: The LORD uses tests to build our faith as well as prove our faith. He is faithful to provide all that we really need. But His provision comes His way and not our way.
1. There is no physical need you have that God cannot supply.Human beings have an ongoing need for food, water, clothing, and shelter. The body can go for weeks without food, though the body weakens over time. The need for water is more acute, allowing not more than three days before death approaches. Clothing is a necessity resulting from the fall of mankind into sin; it covers our shame. Shelter is needed to protect us from the harsh elements in a cursed creation. God knows these needs.
The Israelites had not yet learned to depend on the God who wanted to provide for their needs:
Q: Has there been a time in your life when you were in need and questioned God’s wisdom, provision, or concern for you?
Even in the desert, God is able to supply what you need. That is why He is called by Abraham "Jehovah-Jireh" -- the LORD will provide (Genesis 22:14). And down through the ages, the children of God have found God to be faithful in providing for the needs of His people. Can He provide for your needs and the needs of your family? YES He can!
2. Legitimate needs can be expressed without grumbling or complaining.When the Israelites found themselves in a difficult situation, deprived of a basic physical need, they lodged a complaint. This, in itself, may not be sinful. There are legitimate complaints that need to be raised from time to time -- these are called petitions.
Q: How would you define a "legitimate" petition:
But was the complaint of the Israelites legitimate? Was it a petition? Let's look at some of them:
Q: How do you think it makes God feel when you complain about something He has graciously provided to you, or has promised to provide for you?
Here is what happens when we complain about God's provision in our life:
A complaint ignores the desire of God to meet your need: When you complain, you assume that God does not desire to meet your need. You assume wrong motives or wrong affections on the part of the only One who can meet that need. In doing so, you tarnish the character of God who is holy, good, and righteous in every way -- including His motives and His affections toward you. Let it never be among God's people that we complain about God's desire to help us.
3. Waiting upon and accepting God's provision is a way of disciplining you spiritually.Dependence on God's provision helps us learn to trust God who is trustworthy in all things. Even when Jesus in His earthly ministry was fasting and very hungry, He did not command the stones to become bread though He had the right and the power to do so. He rebuked the devil's temptation, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’" (Matt 4:4, NIV). As Jesus declared, some things are more important -- even more important than food. God will meet those physical needs but don't miss the spiritual discipline of trusting God to do so. Jesus spoke rather eloquently about how to seek God's provision for your physical needs:
25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34, NIV)The key to God meeting your physical needs is:
Typically, He provides them to you in the form of a "job" -- employment to enable you to earn what is needed for yourself and your family. Sometimes He provides through other means -- through a relative, through the Church or through individual benefactors. He even can provide for your needs miraculously, as He did for the Israelites in the wilderness. Yet the message is the same -- seek God by faith in the LORD Jesus Christ and He will provide for all the necessities of life. Walk in His ways and you can eliminate this worry from you mind, freeing you to praise Him and serve Him with a whole heart.
When God does provide for your physical needs, it shows you the kindness and mercy of God toward us. Be sure to acknowledge your gratitude to God. This will teach you to humility and reverence toward God. As the Psalmist said, "I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV). Rather than complaining about it, let us look to the LORD for His gracious provision. Knowing and acknowledging Him as "Jehovah-Jireh" -- the LORD who provides -- keeps us aware of our helpless position without Him and our humble position before Him.
Reflect on YOUR life:
Are you a chronic complainer or a sometimes complainer? Make it a point starting today to eliminate the complaining from your life. Follow the advice of the Apostle Paul:
It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. (Phil 2:13-15, NIV)
Copyright 2010, Randy Lariscy.