Day 12

The Lord Provides in the Wilderness



Exodus 15:22-27, Exodus 16:1-36, Exodus 17:1-16, John 6:41-51, 1 Corinthians 10:1-5

BY Rebecca Faires

Scripture Reading: Exodus 15:22-27, Exodus 16:1-36, Exodus 17:1-16, John 6:41-51, 1 Corinthians 10:1-5

I struggle with the idea of provision. The cultural ideal tells me that if I want something done right, I should do it myself. And the American dream assures me that I can pull myself up by my own bootstraps, and take care of my business on my own. We can find this subtext of self-reliance in most of our films and stories. When the heroine wavers on the brink of a difficult challenge or important decision, where does she find the strength to go on? She finds it within herself, of course. This is how the constant cultural inundation with the message of self-reliance sneaks into our brains.

So when I’m confronted with real world dilemmas, like, “Honey, how are we going to pay the mortgage this month?” and “How can we possibly help and heal our trauma-scarred adopted son?” My first instinct is to smile through my gritted teeth and TRY HARDER. We can make more money if we just hustle more, and we can help our kid if we just find the right program. I want to depend on myself and find the strength within to make our life great. The problem is, strength doesn’t come from within.

Scripture tells us that strength comes from outside of ourselves; our strength comes from the Lord. In the wilderness, the Israelites couldn’t provide for themselves. He provided for them, raining down bread from heaven (Exodus 16:4). And in the New Testament, God sent Jesus to us, who said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven” (John 6:51). He is our provision for our earthly and spiritual needs.

Obviously, we can’t swing to the extreme of giving up all effort and work. Work is good. God called us to use our hands to create (I Chronicles 22:15-16; Genesis 1:27; Ephesians 2:10). There is a reason hard exertion of effort is satisfying: it is good. “There is nothing better for man than to eat, drink, and enjoy his work. I have seen that even this is from God’s hand” (Ecclesiastes 2:24, HCSB). But our first line of provision is never our own effort, and it’s always God’s good gifts. The air we breathe, the sunsets we take in with awe, our very bodies—these are all good provisions from Him.

While we are so often tempted to complain, wondering where our daily bread will come from, God is already leading us to a land with springs of water. Like the Israelites, we grow frustrated with God, wondering, Why are you taking me into this wilderness? (Exodus 17:1-7). But He has called us to trust Him, that no matter the wilderness we may wander, He will provide enough for us each and every day.

Rest in His provision, diligently gather the bread He offers, and know that He is the Lord.

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Post Comments (93)

93 thoughts on "The Lord Provides in the Wilderness"

  1. Sharon Smith says:

    While I am comforted with this promise I struggle with the dichotomy of “God helps those who help themselves “ response to this ~ I wait on the Lord , but this world moves at lightening speed and sometimes the world doesn’t wait while I’m waiting. This is my constant battle~ when to wait and when to move in accordance with the world around me. What’s the balance? How can I perceive when it’s time to move appropriately and when do I wait too long and miss the opportunity before me.?

    1. Amanda Montgomery says:

      Sharon, I’ve come to believe that the cliche of “God helps those who help themselves” is a lie from Satan. Satan has fooled the believing and unbelieving alike with this. This is not Biblical. Our Word tells us, as we just read, that God helps those who rely on Him and trust Him—DAILY. I can relate to your struggle of knowing when to move and when to wait. Our world doesn’t wait. So many believers in the Church aren’t mature enough to follow the Spirit’s leading and voice daily to wait appropriately either. Also, many with spiritual maturity don’t dwell in the Word (communion and fellowship with God) enough to hear His voice (and thus block out the world) to know when to wait or move (this is what I struggle with). What I’m saying is—NOT that I’ve mastered this at all—following the Spirit’s leading comes from maturity and daily communion with the Lord. Keep knocking, seeking. He hears your heart. Don’t give up. I’m convinced we, with reliance on the Lord, CAN know when to wait and when to move. I’m praying for you!

    2. Eva Holsinger says:

      Yes that phrase is not in the Bible. I am beginning to learn how my agenda is not God’s agenda. I was impacted by a quote from Dallas Willard about how to have a better ministry and all that: “you must relentlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” We are told to wait on God. Sometimes the obligations not meant for us should just pass us by and we do not need to take on what is not ours to take on. I say this as a pediatrician mother of five living in China….I can always find more to take on but need to ask Him what to do next and not feel pressured from the outside.

  2. Jordan Kragen says:

    This hit me hard today. I feel like I’m constantly hustling and stressing and I just need to take a step back. I need to TRUST God while still keeping up my work but not thinking I can achieve it all on my own. This study is providing so much personal growth for me.

  3. Davina Spencer says:

    Powerful promise!

  4. Sarina says:

    God reliance not self reliance!

  5. Sherryl says:

    Like always, today’s reading provides so much insight into how I should be living, rather than how I’m living. One of the areas in which my husband and I struggle is with money and debt (like so many Americans.) Today’s reading really made me stop and think about that. “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you. The people are to go each day and gather enough for that day. This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.” (Exodus 16:4). Wow! The Lord provides for me just what I need and what He feels I should have and that should be enough. Yet, daily, I turn my back and do what I want to do. I shop for things I think my family “needs”, racking up debt, rather than be thankful for the many provisions and blessings that God gives me daily!

  6. Sherryl says:

    Like always, today’s reading provides so much insight into how I should be living, rather than how I’m living. One of the areas in which my husband and I struggle is with money and debt (like so many Americans.) Today’s reading really made me stop and think about that. “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you. The people are to go each day and gather enough for that day. This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.” (Exodus 16:4). Wow! The Lord provides for me just what I need and he feels I should have and that should be enough. Yet, daily, I turn my back and do what I want to do. I shop for things I think my family “needs”, racking up debt, rather than be thankful for the many provisions and blessings that God gives me daily!

  7. nursedodie says:

    After my son’s death I first questioned God, “Why me?” Then I heard about all the people’s lives that were saved while they were looking for George, my son. When they were looking for him 11 other people got on the creek in rafts and their lives were saved because police and rescue teams were on the creek looking for George. That brought back my faith somewhat. many of my friends at that time were Christians and they were surrounding me and every time they came in we would pray. The church where my sons and I went held a candlelight vigil for him. At this time, I was told, 30 youth gave a confession of faith. This increased my faith. But what brought my faith in God and Christ fully back, was when my maternal aunt and uncle walked in the door 10 minutes after I was told they found George’s body. My aunt and uncle had lost their oldest son at the age of 18 also. So like the Israelites my faith wavered and then came back after many signs. Since then my faith has been stronger than ever.

    1. Megan says:

      Thank you for sharing.

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Thank you for sharing and we’re so glad that you’re a part of our community! -Margot, The SRT Team

  8. Hannah says:

    We moved from Georgia to California a few years ago and are often still stunned by the cost of living in this state. This is a good reminder that God is our provider, even when we make decisions about renting and/or buying a home in the years to come. I will not fear, for You are with me. He’s provided for us this long. I choose to trust. A daily choice. An hourly choice.

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