31 Days of God’s Provision – Encouraging Stories from the Bible {Day 1}

by Lynn on October 1, 2012

JobGod’s Provision is a subject very near and dear to my heart—so much so that it was the focus of a book, Held by God, which I co-authored with my sister after our family navigated through a series of crises that left our world in shambles. During those turbulent times we were forced to cling to God’s promises as never before. As faithful believers we had always trusted God, but life had been fairly safe up to that point. It wasn’t until the ground seemed to give way under our feet, did we begin to realize the sheer magnitude of God’s faithfulness.

There’s a quote I just love that illustrates this point. When talking about her own reliance on God’s promises, Sheila Walsh said, “It’s one thing to say that the Lord is my shepherd; it’s quite something else to be unable to walk one more step by yourself, to lean on that staff, and to be held up.” (from Life is Tough, But God is Faithful)

With every step through uncharted territory, God made it clear that he walked with us. His faithfulness was demonstrated with each provision supplied. Some provisions proved to be quite extraordinary, while others were small reminders of his presence. All were messages of encouragement: “I’m with you,” “I have not forgotten you,” “I love you.” Even when circumstances were not going well, God made himself known in a myriad of ways, and his intervention was a great source of encouragement.

Provision versus Coincidence

In our skeptical society, it is tempting to dismiss any evidence of God’s overt involvement in our lives as mere coincidence. In our case, many of the events we experienced were normal, everyday occurrences. However, coincidence implies randomness which contradicts the belief that God is sovereign and that all events in life are under his control. If we believe that God has a plan for each one of us and is aware of each detail in life that concerns us, then we must assume that there is a purpose in each event that we experience. A good example of this is found in the story of Job.

Job is a righteous man whom the Lord has blessed. He is wealthy and enjoys good health. He has several children and is well respected in his community. And then for no reason that Job can discern, everything he holds dear is suddenly taken from him. His children are gone. His possessions and property are gone. His prestige, health, and even the good favor of his wife are gone. Perhaps to his friends and neighbors, Job’s misfortune might look like random tragedies. From Job’s own perspective, he knows of no sin that would have brought God’s wrath upon him, but, being a righteous man, he does not blame God for what has happened.

“. . . The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.  Job 1:21b-22, NIV

“. . . Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.  Job 2:10b, NIV

However, being human, Job laments his circumstances as he suffers his loss.

What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.  Job 3:25-26, NIV

Obviously, he did not have the benefit we have today of reading the book of Job! We are afforded a perspective that Job could not see. We can read that each event affecting Job was allowed by God for a purpose and that God was still with him, despite Job’s feeling of abandonment. We also read that Job’s suffering had a time limit on it. Job’s perspective of not knowing the details of God’s plan did not make the facts of his situation less true.

In Job’s story, we see how God orchestrated what we might call the good things and the bad things, both of which were used by God for his own purposes. While this might seem cruel of God to allow Job to suffer, we also read that God was not sadistic in his purpose. He had a high regard for Job, and, in time, God restored to Job all that he had allowed to be taken away.

The story of Job helped us to realize that the adverse events in our own lives could not be random. God had allowed these events to occur for a reason. If we chose to believe in his sovereignty, then we also had to believe in his promise to provide for all of our needs. We could not discount the incidents where his care was recognized as merely our good fortune. If he was allowing the bad things, then the good things could not be happening just by chance. It was this revelation that gave us hope in circumstances that appeared hopeless. Job’s story was one of loss, but God’s provision was one of restoration.

There are many other stories in the Bible where people were provided for in tangible and practical ways as well as extraordinary and miraculous ways. Though separated by thousands of years, they were really no different than us—some were discouraged and disappointed, fearful, lonely or in need of direction. Some needed encouragement, insight or peace. Some needed food, comfort, healing, or protection.

Each day in this series, we will revisit one of these stories in the Bible. For some of you, these characters will be like familiar friends. For others, you may have never heard of these people. Either way, it is my prayer that you will see yourself in their stories, and will be able to recognize how God has provided for you in similar circumstances.

Jesus tells us that he is the same yesterday, today and forever. If his promises were true for our brothers and sisters whose stories are recorded in the Bible, they are true for us today as well. May you be encouraged by God’s continued faithfulness!

Join me tomorrow for a story involving five river rocks, an ill-tempered brute, and a provision of courage!

If you’ve missed any part of this series, you can select the side bar category 31 Days of God’s Provision, or you can select from list below, where I will be activating the links to each day’s provision as they are posted.

31 Days – David and the Provision of Courage {Day 2}

31 Days – The Adulteress and the Provision of Grace {Day 3}

31 Days – Daniel and the Provision of Protection {Day 4}

31 Days – Hannah and the Provision of Answered Prayer {Day 5}

31 Days – The Three Friends and the Provision of Preservation {Day 6}

31 Days – The Samaritan Woman and the Provision of Forgiveness {Day 7}

31 Days – Nehemiah and the Provision of Joy {Day 8}

31 Days – Moses and the Provision of Hope {Day 9}

31 Days – Elijah and the Provision of Rest {Day 10}

31 Days – Esther and the Provision of Deliverance {Day 11}

31 Days – Stephen and the Provision of Peace {Day 12}

31 Days – Joseph and the Provision of Reconciliation {Day 13}

31 Days – The Ethiopian and the Provision of Discernment {Day 14}

31 Days – Martha and the Provision of Focus {Day 15}

31 Days – The Israelites and the Provision of Conveyance {Day 16}

31 Days – Ruth and the Provision of Redemption {Day 17}

31 Days – The Infirmed Man and the Provision of Strength {Day 18}

31 Days – Hezekiah and the Provision of Deferment {Day 19}

31 Days – The Poor Widow and the Provision of Abundance {Day 20}

31 Days – Saul and the Provision of Sight {Day 21}

31 Days – The Hungry Crowd and the Provision of Food {Day 22}

31 Days – Noah and the Provision of Safety {Day 23}

31 Days – Lazarus and the Provision of Life {Day 24}

31 Days – The Disciples and the Provision of Comfort {Day 25}

31 Days – The Bleeding Woman and the Provision of Healing {Day 26}

31 Days – Nicodemus and the Provision of Clarity {Day 27}

31 Days – Abigail and the Provision of Sensibility {Day 28}

31 Days – The Devoted Servant and the Provision of Direction {Day 29}

31 Days – Peter and the Provision of Escape {Day 30}

31 Days – Josiah and the Provision of Remembrance {Day 31}

On the journey toward Home,

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