provision

God—now you see Him; now you don't.

God—now you see Him; now you don't.

Esther 2

Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. —Albert Einstein

I recently saw that quote on a church’s outdoor marquee, and I must say that I agree. In fact, I don’t even believe in coincidences anymore. I think all the details of our lives—even the nitty gritty ones—are being woven and spun by God into this grand tapestry. I don’t think He leaves anything to chance. Does He leave things to choice? Yes. But to chance? No. At least I don’t think so.

God sometimes says no.

God sometimes says no.

Nehemiah 6

I was recently engaged in a conversation about whether God really answers our prayers. A question had come up regarding the passage where Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mk 11:23-24) and we were discussing the merits of "name it and claim it" theology.

God has a reputation.

God has a reputation.

Ezra 8

Have you ever given much thought to God’s reputation? I guess if you asked ten different people what they thought of God, you would probably get ten different answers. But the fact that there are so many atheists in the world might suggest that, with some, God’s reputation isn’t a very good one. Many would rather believe that there is no God as opposed to believing in the kind of God they’ve been introduced to by some Christians. Makes me think of that bumper sticker I see from time to time: Please, Lord, save me from your followers!

God is our strength.

God is our strength.

Ezra 7

Seven chapters into his book, Ezra finally arrives on-scene, and the first thing he does is conduct a massive undertaking. It’s a huge task, including making a great journey across a large desert, transporting sacred items and gold and silver for the temple, and appointing judges to rule over the land. With such a monumental list of responsibilities at hand, Ezra was definitely going to need a lot of strength.

God watches over us.

God watches over us.

Ezra 5

In the previous chapter of Ezra, we learned that there was some fierce opposition to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. It continued in this chapter: "At that time Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates went to them and asked, 'Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?' They also asked, 'What are the names of those who are constructing this building?' But the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply be received." (vs 3-5)

Dinner Guest {ex24:11}

Photo © CreationSwap/CreationSwap

Photo © CreationSwap/CreationSwap

What kind of God is this,
who issues an invitation
to a personal dinner,
an intimate feast?
Just a little get-together
for seventy of His
(I-hope-you'll-choose-to-be-My)
closest friends.

Indeed, one gets closer
as the courses proceed.
For this mountaintop banquet
was just the amuse-bouche on God's menu
of spiritual nourishment revelation.

None of those seventy elders
could have imagined
the truth about the God
who stood on the veranda of
brilliant blue lapis lazuli,

that His invitation
to feast with Him
would eventually become 
an invitation
to feast on Him,
that His offer of dinner
would soon be
an offering of Himself.

His body and blood,
our bread, our wine,
our life.

Has it not always been so?

 

God can be trusted with the details of our lives.

God can be trusted with the details of our lives.

1 Chronicles 24

In this chapter, we encounter once again the Hebrew practice of casting lots. This time, it was used to create the divisions of priests who would work in the temple: "A larger number of leaders were found among Eleazar’s descendants than among Ithamar’s, and they were divided accordingly: sixteen heads of families from Eleazar’s descendants and eight heads of families from Ithamar’s descendants. They divided them impartially by casting lots, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of God among the descendants of both Eleazar and Ithamar." (vs 4-5)

God is the parent.

God is the parent.

1 Chronicles 17

I think it means a lot of different things to say that we are created in the image of God. I believe that includes things like having freedom of choice, having the power to create little people in our own image, and being able to think intelligently. However, I also think it can point to other, more minor, characteristics or character traits, such as the example we find in this chapter.

One-Hit Wonder {ex17:1-6}

exodus-gods-graciousness-one-hit-wonder.png

"Israel drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them,
and that rock was Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:4

God gives.
He doesn't know how to do anything else.
He gives rain to the righteous
        and rain to the wicked.
He gives water to the grateful
        and water to the complainers.

God is good.
He doesn't know how to be anything else.
If you are good to Him,
        He will be good to you.
If you are evil to Him,
        He will be good to you.

Moses struck the rock
with his rod at Meribah
and life-giving water flowed out.

We strike the Rock and
Life is still the thing
that gushes out after us,
a flood of grace
        to meet our anger,
a deluge of mercy
        to defy our shame,
a surge of good
        to repay our evil.

 

Mundane Manna {ex16:11-12}

Photo © Unsplash/Evi Radauscher

Photo © Unsplash/Evi Radauscher

In Egypt
God's people ate their fill
of meat and bread.
And in the wilderness
God's people ate their fill
of meat and bread.

For forty years
—14,600 days and nights—
God revealed to the Israelites
not that He could feed them in the desert
but that it was He
who had fed them in Egypt.

For God, the manna wasn't miraculous.

It is no harder for Him
to make bread rain from the sky
than it is to make
wheat stand in the soil or
dough rise in the bowl or
the crust appear in the oven.

God miraculously provided
for His people in the wilderness
no more or less
than He had in Egypt.

We should stop wondering
why God no longer works miracles and
start asking why we still consider
anything in this life
mundane.

 

God gives us all the right things.

God gives us all the right things.

1 Chronicles 4

About 20 years ago, author Bruce Wilkinson made two verses of 1 Chronicles 4 famous with his book, The Prayer of Jabez. Who knew that a genealogical chapter of the Bible could produce something so lucrative? I remember the book well. Though I never actually read it, I remember the firestorm it caused in the Christian church. Many people were excited about it—going to their weekly group study about Jabez to learn how to garner some extra wealth from God. And an equal number of people were extremely opposed to it, shocked that any Christian should ask God for more.

God can restore everything.

God can restore everything.

2 Kings 8

Since I didn’t end up commenting on her in chapter 4, I’m glad the Shunammite woman is back again. You remember her: She was the gal who (along with her husband) built a room in their home for the prophet Elijah. And, in order to repay their kindness, Elijah told the childless couple that they would have a son. This obviously delighted the woman, but it was clear that she didn’t want to get her hopes up. What I really loved about her, though, was what she did when her son died of a head injury several years later. The woman went immediately to Elijah and said, "Did I ask you for a son, my lord? Didn’t I tell you, 'Don’t raise my hopes?'" (2 Kings 4:28)

God changes fortunes in a heartbeat.

God changes fortunes in a heartbeat.

2 Kings 7

A few years ago, our water heater unexpectedly broke, and after some consultation with a plumber, we realized that we would not only have to get a new water heater, but a water softener as well. I just hate it when that happens! If you don’t have money in savings, unexpected expenses like that can really get you down.

God thinks differently than we do.

God thinks differently than we do.

2 Kings 4

Well, this whole chapter was about how God worked miracles through His prophet Elisha. The one that really stuck out to me, though, was the very first story about the widow, her two sons, and the olive oil. Just before creditors were going to come and take her boys into slavery because of their debts, Elisha told her, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side." (vs 3-4)

God will take care of us.

God will take care of us.

1 SAMUEL 26

David was God’s anointed man for king. The problem? There was already another man in that position. The "logical" thing for David to do would have been to figure out how to get Saul off the throne. After all, as long as Saul was still king, David couldn’t assume his rightful position as God’s anointed. And I wonder what thoughts and emotions must have run through David’s mind as the saga with Saul dragged on and on and on.

God is tenderhearted.

God is tenderhearted.

RUTH 2

I really saw a picture of God in this chapter, coming through in the tenderhearted nature of Boaz. From the text, it’s clear that Boaz was a man of the Lord—and at a time when the majority of Israel was heading down the wrong path. When Boaz arrives at his fields, he greets all of the harvesters with a blessing from the Lord. (vs 4) Later, he praises Ruth for her commitment to Naomi and calls upon God to bless her because of it. (vs 12)

God is extravagant.

God is extravagant.

JUDGES 17

What a quirky little chapter. Out of the blue, there is a story about this guy named Micah. He was a thief—having swiped 1100 shekels of silver from his mom. (Who steals from Mom?) After he heard her pronounce a curse on whoever had stolen the money, he fessed up and returned it. In turn, she was so worried that the curse would follow her thieving child that she had some of it melted down and made into a little idol that Micah kept in his house. His "god" would hopefully protect him from the curse.

God gives the best.

God gives the best.

JUDGES 11

My dad used to say this about marriage: "God gives the best to those who leave the choice with Him." I can wholeheartedly attest to the truth of that statement. For those of you who know me and my husband, it may come as a shock, but when I met David, one of the first things I thought about him was that I could never date him. He just wasn’t "my type." Or so I thought. As it turns out, God knew my type a lot better than I did! Go figure!