Wednesday, October 28, 2009

When provision does not meet your expectation

Wow...I didn't mean for the title of this blog to actually sound like a sermon title :) I tried to figure other word orders, but this is the only one that made it clear. I touched on this subject a few months ago, when we first arrived in Colorado. Little did I know that it would just be scratching the surface.
As we have been attending school, reading the Word, listening for the voice of God to show us the next step...we hit some bumps in the road... some rather large bumps. And many of those "bumps" has been God's provision looking WAY different than we anticipated.

There is a teaching that I remember hearing several years back, it became quite popular: "Name it and Claim It!" And although I completely agree that our words are powerful, this teaching gave me a false sense of control. I began thinking that what I had in my head would come to pass. This concept, by itself, is not the problem. The problem comes when God's provision shows up and you are disappointed and frustrated. Maybe you even complain a little. This idea has been knocking around in my head for awhile, but it became perfectly clear as I was reading Exodus. We all know the story: Pharaoh killing babies, Moses saved, burning bush, miracles, plagues, Red Sea parted. Then the children of God are in the wilderness. God has just defeated the Egyptians and they walked through water upon dry land. They sing a beautiful song to the Lord in chapter 15. Then in chapter come the grumblings.

"The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The sons of Israel said to them, 'Would that we had died by the Lord's hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.'" Exodus 16:2,3

Then the Lord responds to this blatant insult to His faithfulness by saying, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you..." Ex 16:4.

Okay, now let's stop there for a moment. God has just told you He is going to rain bread from heaven for you. Lets be honest, people do not think in words...we think in pictures. What picture is in your head right now? I see a beautiful loaf of french bread, piping hot, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. And it is slowly descending from the sky and lands perfectly in my hands. I do not know what bread looked like to the Israelites...but lets keep reading.

"...and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground. When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, 'What is it?' For they did not know what it was. and Moses said to them, 'It is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat." Ex 16:13-15

The Lord is faithful and loving. And Exodus even tell us later in the chapter, that 'Manna" tasted like wafers with honey. I guarantee it did not have to taste enjoyable to sustain them...but God is a good God. But come DID NOT look like bread! There are some bible scholars that believe "Manna" was actually edible insect excrement. And lets think about what was happening in the natural (again, thinking in pictures) this stuff was on the ground. I don't know if the 'wilderness' was sand or dirt...but it is possible some of it got onto the manna.

Another example: Elijah by the brook of Cherith in 1 Kings 17. There was a drought in the land, and God told Elijah to go to a stream and He would send ravens to bring him bread and meat. Probably most of us have seen ravens digging around trash cans, terrorizing other birds...not the bird I would choose to bring me dinner.

This is not in any way to discourage you in believing for the provision of God. And praying and standing for something should not be avoided. I am simply saying that we cannot get so focused on our desires and needs...that we lose sight of the desires and purposes of God.

These two examples have very different endings. Although both were supernaturally provided for- Israel grumbled and complained about their provision and never entered the promised land. Directly after being at the stream of Cherith, (no grumbling to be heard of) Elijah went on to be the first person in scripture to raise someone from the dead. It was only a short period of time that Elijah was fed by ravens...and after? He was blessed! Elijah's end is God taking him on a chariot to heaven!! Hallelujah. I will eat from the ravens...and be blessed! And I will be blessed thereafter!