This is God’s providence?
We are not the first generation of the Lord’s people to be in trouble. Thousands of years ago, God’s chosen people of Israel were enslaved in Egypt. After delivering them from Pharaoh, God brought them into the wilderness on their long journey to the Promised Land. They eventually made it to Canaan, but not before quite a season in the desert.
Once they embarked on their journey though, the Israelites had a hard time appreciating what the Lord had done for them. So much so, that they lamented, “If only we had died back in Egypt…” Somehow a life of certainty with terrible suffering sounded better to them than a life with an uncertain future.
Notice how God responds to the people.
Scripture: Exodus 16:1-7, 11-12 (NLT) vv. 1-7
Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. "If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “By evening you will realize it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us. What have we done that you should complain about us?”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”
What is the point of this story? The point is that God provides. God provides for God’s people – we call it providence. God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, Lord of all creation who always provides for his people. God heard the grumbling of the people. Did you notice that God did not give the people what they wanted; God did not bring them back to Egypt. But God did provide exactly what they needed; food to eat.
Some good questions to ponder today:
- How is God providing for me and those I love right now?
- How is God’s provision a sign that we “will know that He is the Lord our God”?
Patient, grace-filled God, who has given us all the time we need to do exactly what you have asked us to do, forgive us when we complain and grumble against you and our leaders. Remind us that you are always providing for our every need. Give us the grace to accept your gifts, the discipline to not hoard your gifts, and the generosity to willingly and lovingly share “all that we have” with others. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.