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. Meghan Usry says:

    This was exactly the lesson I needed to read. I, often, try and take control in my life to assure that things go “right.” This was a reminder that my job isn’t to control the provision – it’s to trust the provision. God will always provide. He will hold me in the palm of his hand. My fears and worries are pointless…”for I know the plans I have for — plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

    1. Susan says:

      Hello, Meghan. I am just now catching up on reading. I noticed your last name immediately. My daughter is married to Steve Usry (Atlanta area) . It is an unusual name so you must be related somewhere along the line. I know that he has done some investigation on ancestry, but can’t remember what he found out. Also, like your comments on this devotional.

  2. Sheila Busch says:

    God provides all we need. Each day, He provides us all I need to prosper that day. It’s easy to forget that all is from Him, and I must trust Him to give me exactly what I need. Dear Lord, see me here today. You know the needs and desires of my heart and body. Please provide for me, Lord. God, you see my family, provide them their needs for today. You see this world, Lord, Your creation, provide for them, all of Your people, God. All praise be Yours, Lord, today and everyday.

    1. Susan says:

      Great prayer. Amen!

  3. Jo Gistand says:

    In those times, I need to be reminded that my God will provide all of my needs. Not my wants. And I can trust him for that.

  4. Imogen Diks says:

    These passages have given new meaning to Jesus’ instruction to pray “give us today our daily bread”. Do not try to gather for future days. Rely on him each morning

  5. Leslie Limardo says:

    After reading this i wondered what took the Israelites so long to ask for help? Three days went by and then…. or 1 month and thee weeks and then…. Every time they did God responded. They waited so long that it then turned into complaining vs asking right away and getting the help they needed. Reminds me of me! I take so much on in life that when it becomes overwhelming I just complain instead of asking for help right away! Great reminder.

  6. Bella says:

    God didn’t only provide the food they needed to survive, he also made the manna taste like wafers made with honey. That sounds delicious! What a generous God we have, that he doesn’t just provide our daily needs, he blesses us in abundance!

    1. Melanie says:

      Love this! It reminds me of how me and my son interact sometimes. He can get so upset and frustrated when he doesn’t get what he wants or thinks he needs, but he doesn’t know that I have something better in store for him. Our God is a good Father who delights in meeting our needs. What a gift to be his children!

  7. G C says:

    I need to be reminded of this truth daily,
    I am a fixer and am always trying to solve the next problem. So many times the answer lies so much less in what I can figure out and so much more in stopping and resting in Gods promises and recognizing how He is already moving in the situation.

    1. Natalie Dedin says:


  8. Natasha Reyes says:

    I’m a couple of days behind, but in a way, I like it, because then I can read all your comments and insights! They add depth and dimension to the study. Your comments today are especially enriching for me. Thank you, ladies, for reminding me that (1) while I do the work, God is in control, (2) my strength comes from God, it is not my own, (3) His love and mercy are new every morning!, and (4) God also provides rest.

    1. Michelle says:

      Natasha I completely agree! The comments are so fulfilling and enlightening. Thanks so much to everyone for sharing their thoughts.

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