The Lord Provides in the Wilderness

Open Your Bible

Exodus 15:22-27, Exodus 16:1-36, Deuteronomy 8:3, John 6:47-51, 1 Corinthians 10:1-5

As I ponder today’s title, “The Lord Provides in the Wilderness,” I can hear the subtle whispers of my heart, exposing what’s true: I want God and His provision, but I don’t want wilderness seasons for me or for those I love. This is because, when I consider wilderness seasons, I only perceive a lack. I see no room for an abundant harvest.

But what if seasons that feel barren are birthing the very characteristics that make us more like Jesus? What if our wilderness brings forth a kind of fruit that the barren ground of our insecurities and unanswered questions couldn’t possibly imagine? What if our perceived lack leads us to a greater dependence on God’s provision? Isn’t that the best place to be? Postured to receive God’s provision and not my own. 

As unexpected wilderness seasons have arrived, so has the much needed reorientation of my theology—both what I perceive and what I believe about God and His provision. And I can’t help but wonder, as I lean closely into today’s narrative, if maybe the Israelites’ struggle looked much like mine—like ours.  

Today’s passage offers you and I the same invitation in our wanderings that was presented to the Israelites thousands of years ago—to turn our gaze and look to Him, the One who provides not just material substance but His sustaining grace, even in the dry and weary wilderness. 

As Aaron was speaking to the entire Israelite community, they turned toward the wilderness, and there in a cloud the LORD’s glory appeared.
 —Exodus 16:10

The radiant glory and abundant provision of the Lord appeared even in the gloomy darkness of the wilderness. Day after day, month after month, year after year, the Israelites were positioned to trust God—to look upon His manifest glory through the miraculous rain of bread from heaven day by day (Deuteronomy 8:3). In Egypt, they’d had to work tirelessly to earn their bread, but God brought them to a wilderness to remind them their daily abundance comes only through Him. They could not earn it, and they could not live off yesterday’s manna nor faith. God’s people were called to trust Him daily as they partook of the daily bread. If only they had continued to fix their gaze and looked to Him in every circumstance (1Corinthians 10:1–5). And if only we would fix our gaze and look to Him. 

In our wilderness do we turn our gaze and look to God’s provision for us, Jesus Christ, the bread of life—the more sufficient and sustainable bread that came from heaven? Do we perceive this daily abundance, even in dry, barren seasons? Behold, Jesus Christ, our sacrificial provision for all our days!

And we, like the Israelites, don’t have to earn it, but we do have to bring our trust daily, believing that the Lord provides in our wilderness, causing the barren ground of our souls to produce eternal, abundant fruitfulness through the Spirit.

(43) Comments

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43 thoughts on "The Lord Provides in the Wilderness"

  1. Ellen Denning says:

    Well. This entry was amazing. Words I hadn’t considered, but has changed my perspective. Thank you!

  2. Jeanna Powell says:


  3. Christel Fleming says:


  4. Annesta Lunde says:

    I really needed these words today.

  5. Portia Strange says:

    Thank you Lord for your Word! So good! I was reminded, during today’s reading, that I have a front row seat to the Israelites really getting to know God’s character & promises throughout Exodus. They had been enslaved for 430 years (12:40). So, I could imagine that they heard & saw firsthand the Egyptians idol worship & perhaps were even influenced by it (if I’m not reading too much into it). So, in 15:26, God tells them to ‘…diligently listen, do that which is right, give ear to his commandments, & to keep all his statutes…’ I’m not sure that they really knew what all of what God considered right nor what His all of Him commandments & statues were yet. They did know that He was their powerful protector (having witnessed the 10 plagues, pillars of cloud & fire, parting of the Red Sea, & the bitter water made sweet).

    Also, I loved how God commanded Moses & Aaron to keep ‘…an omer throughout their generations…’ (16:32-34) so that they would remember what God had done for them & how He’d provided. It begs me to question, how I can be more intentional about recording God’s past faithfulness & providence for me so that I don’t forget.

    After Googling it, I learned that the Isralites didn’t reach the Promised Land until the book of Joshua & that an 11 day trip took them 40 years! Lord, I don’t want to prevent myself from thriving spiritually, being all that you want me to be, doing all that you want me to do due to my sin. I don’t want to take 40 years to get somewhere that should only take less than a month! Help us Lord!

  6. Chris S says:

    My goodness!! This is beautiful. I want to print EVERY word!! Underline EVERYTHING!! HIGHLIGHT EVERYTHING!

  7. Mercy says:

    Thank you so much Oghosa for a wonderful devotional! I love a blunt truth devotional and you surely delivered. Things I gathered from our scriptures today:
    1) Follow God’s instructions and rules, for God SURELY will test! God tests His people using hardships (3 day no water, bitter water) to see if they follow through with His laws (Exodus 16:4). He still tests now, nothing different. When’s the last time you’re low on food, low on bank account and wonder why? Testing.
    2) He humbles us by letting us go hungry and then will feed you/provide for us, just to teach us He alone is our sole need (Deuteronomy 8:3). The righteous never beg for bread (Psalm 37:25), YET hold the phone, there’s a type of God-ordained hunger, or God-ordained lack for the purpose of His Provision.

    He so loved that He gave His only Son to die in our place. He so loves that He disciplines as well, and so loves that He chastises every son He receives (Hebrews 12:6). This is a hard one to swallow, KJV uses the word “chastise” by the word “scourge” (whip lash), He scourges every child He receives! Ouch. Truth, sharp edged truth! Look at the Israelites here- His firstborn. I feel that the mainstream preaching of God is like that of a lovely gentle grandpa figure, just so sweet, floating on air/clouds, causing many people to be shocked when hit with the reality that God is the chastising GOD. For lack of knowledge/preaching on this side of God. He is the GOD who chastises every single child! He will chastise, and don’t we all need chastising/the rod coming from Kingdom of darkness into Kingdom of Light. When people ask me what is God like to you, the first image of God is a tough commander, He has been dealing very rough with me from Day 1, though gentle at times (sweet times), but He won’t just hold my hands, He lets me cry and suffer too. I have been scourged. The Israelites were scourged, again and again, painful stages they had to go through. The word scourge is true to its meaning if you ask me how it feels. On hindsight, I am super thankful for the Israelites (the firstborn of faith) bearing so much pain as recorded here, so that we/the gentiles can learn and be grafted to their house/commonwealth of Israelites through faith (Romans 11:17). God is fair, if He chastises the Israelites, He also chastises us the Gentiles as He receives us into His house, one body, one man, under one lordship GOD. I see grace on us, having it much easier with a manual (bible) to navigate, knowing what’s encouraged and commended by God and what’s never to do or even think of. We shouldn’t play with God’s rules just to see what He will do. Remember the whip lash/the scourge of chastise – if you want to entertain the thought. Never to receive God’s grace in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1).

    Praying for you my dear: Mari V(congrats on your bold step, I am taking a course too, rooting for you), Michelle P (praising God your family’s safety, surely angel encamps around your house), Bobbie Leathers (your story encouraged me greatly, love it).
    Wishing everyone a fantastic weekend wherever you are. Be blessed dear sweet sisters!

  8. Marina Sayadian says:

    This is so beautiful!