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.


Post Comments (93)

93 thoughts on "The Lord Provides in the Wilderness"

  1. Alex Jenks says:

    What a great read and reminder that He will provide for us no matter the circumstances. Too often, I also feel like I must just try harder; but in reality I have the strength of such a giving God

  2. Lauren Hultz says:

    These verses painted a beautiful picture in my mind today, giving an example of how God places other people in our lives to come alongside and help us to accomplish His plans. Sometimes we need to let others help us so that God’s provision can be realized.

    “So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.”
    ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭17:10-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

  3. Audrey Gonzalez says:

    It’s hard when I feel helpless and feel like even my best efforts can’t help my situation. Thankful I have a God who provides.

  4. Denise Powers Fabian says:

    I am an Appalachian girl going back to the 1700s and self-reliance is part of my DNA, my culture, and expectations. Who am I fooling? I need to remember that I have what God wants me to have, no more–no less, just as the children of Israel had in the wilderness. Lord, forgive me when I complain or grumble. Even if I am not directing it toward You, it is truly You to whom I am complaining. You give me enough…always.

  5. Amber says:

    I’m so thankful for this today. It is God who provides, God who gives me strength. He leads me and He alone knows the end from the beginning. I struggle with thoughts of just trying harder but God wants me to rest in His provision. To find joy in my work and in my day because He is in it with me.

  6. Dot Hardin says:

    I’m reminded of the hymn, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” for us today as well as the Israelites watching Moses strike the rock for the water to flow.

  7. Zoe says:

    Jesus is the Bread of Life. He came down from Heaven to be our portion; literally, not just figuratively. The bread he gives us is his flesh. If anyone eats of this bread in faith, he will live forever. Faith is important, because as 1 Co. 10:1-5 makes it clear, going through the motions is not enough. Faith is active, not passive. Grateful for the gift of the Eucharist, the gift of Jesus’ flesh.

  8. Sarah says:

    Today’s message hit hard…I so struggle with feeling like I have to perform/work super hard in order have God’s blessing. I always think to myself, “God can do it, but will He? (since I always focus on my lack and feel like deep down I could be doing so much more). For instance, I work 2 jobs, up to 65 hours a week as a way to save money/pay off debt, but it still doesn’t feel like enough most of the time. Also, I want to work smarter, not just harder. I feel like God is slowly revealing to me some sort of change down the road, also scary! However, Good news is I finally change my availability so I will get one full day off each week that I will take a Sabbath. God has been speaking that to me for sometime.

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