God will provide
My sermon today entitled “GOD WILL PROVIDE” is about Giving, it is about how God gives so generously and graciously to us, and about how we ought to give back to Him in return.
I hope that in any dark and difficult times ahead, you will find comfort in the promises of God, for he is still Jehovah-Jireh,
the God who provides from an eternal storehouse that
cannot be measured and that cannot be depleted.
I heard a story recently about three very tight-fisted brothers who went late to the church service. They went late on purpose, in order to avoid the offering. To their dismay, they learned that the offering was to be taken up at the end of the service on that Sunday. But they cleverly solved the problem, as one of them fainted, and the other two carried him out!
To avoid giving to the work of the Lord will not negate the purposes of God. Nothing can stand in the way of His will.
God will accomplish His purposes with or without us.
Pharaoh was used by God in spite of the fact that Pharaoh had no desire to be so used. The Roman governor, Pilate, was the same – an ignorant and unwilling tool in the hand of God.
God does not want people to be used that way. What He wants is for us to be in loving relationship with Him, a relationship in which we become so united with Him, that his will becomes our will. Giving to the purposes and work of God is a way of becoming one with God. It is a way of saying to God that we love Him and love His will for us and for the world. Giving is an act of worship, a means of reverentially bowing before the Father and saying, “Not my will but thine be done”.
Generous giving is also a way of confessing our faith.
It is a way of saying that I am confident that the Father will provide. When a person is in debt, the tendency is to give less to the work of the Lord. I have come to realize that such behaviour is faithless and even backwards. If we believe that God richly provides and loves to bless those who commit themselves to His purposes and to His will – if we believe that, then we will give at least the tithe, the 10%, even when we are pinched financially. We will do so because we trust in God’s power to provide,
and to provide for us richly.
Jesus said, “… seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” Matthew 6:33. We must put God first. We must put Him first in everything, and we must put him first by giving generously to His work in the world. When we put Him first the damning sin of materialism will not crush or squeeze the faith out of us.
I would be horrified if at the last, God were to judge my giving by what I have left over?
Let us take a moment to look at the way in which God gives so miraculously and generously to us, as we turn back to the book of Exodus. In chapter 16, the people of Israel are tested. In fact, there are a couple of tests reported in this passage, and both of them relate to the gift of bread from God, the bread that the people called “manna”. I want us to focus on the first of those tests. After the people’s initial reception of the manna, Moses told them to throw out, at the end of the day, any that was left over. Think about it… You’re in the desert. You have found nothing in this desert to eat. Then finally something happens that has never happened before. A mysterious bread-like substance appears on the ground with the morning dew.
You have been allowed to gather a generous amount, about 2½ litres per person. Imagine a container about 15% larger than a two litre milk carton. Imagine that container filled with bread, and imagine that if you have a family of four that you have four of those containers filled with bread. It is not hard to realize that at the end of the day many households would have some left over. Yet Moses tells these people who have so recently been afraid of starving that they are to throw away that perfectly good bread. Surely, we all realize that in the desert a person normally does not throw away any edible provisions. This is a test. It is a test to determine if the people believe that God is able to provide more manna on the following day. It is a test to determine if the mighty acts of God which the people have seen, have indeed created faith within this people, a faith that God will richly provide.
Many of the Israelites do not have that kind of faith. They keep their leftover manna and wake up the next morning to find a worm-filled mess where their manna used to be. I wonder how many worm-filled messes we have in our lives because we have never learned that God richly provides, because we have never learned to live trusting in God rather than our own efforts or our own possessions? When we refuse to give generously to matters that matter to God, when we become too attached to our attachments – then we show where our faith really is.
My dear friends, our attitude to our wealth must be based upon the fact that God who feeds “the birds of the air” can feed us and the God who “clothes the grass of the field” can clothe us. God richly provides. He will bless us if we will focus our faith
on Him and not on our money or possessions. At a time when the national focus is on possessions and bank accounts, we Christians must reveal a very different focus. We must develop a Christian attitude to our wealth. As I have said numerous times, I do not think that we can do that until we learn to give generously of our wealth to the work of God across the world.
In Luke 6:38, Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you… good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back”.
Clearly here, Jesus is not saying that if we give £5.00 then we will get £5.00 back. I think that Jesus’ picture of “good measure and running over” makes clear that if we give generously according to our ability, – then God will give generously according to His ability; and God’s storehouse has unlimited resources and surely His standards of generosity are apparent in the infinite universe which He has created.
God not only provides – He richly provides. Let’s give to Him because He richly provides. GOD IS NOT CHEAP!
Most of us remember that the First miracle which Jesus performed was at the Wedding in Cana of Galilee, where he turned the water into wine. The whole story is found in
John 2:1-11. Many believe that it is likely that he filled these six water-pots with about six litres of wine, but that’s not what we read in John 2:6, “And there were set there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.”
God has too often been represented as a God who is on a tight budget and who disapproves of us asking for anything more than just the necessities of life. However, this first miracle of Jesus disproves that. Scholars suggest that a firkin was equal to about nine gallons. This would mean (if my maths is correct) that these six water pots would hold 162 gallons of wine in total;
Now that’s a lot of wine! In a similar instance when Jesus was asked to provide food for the multitude, He once again supplied more than the need. Matthew. 14:15-21 says…
“and twelve baskets full of left-over’s remained”.
These examples show the Lord’s willingness to meet our needs with plenty and to spare. I say again … God is not cheap!
Today, don’t limit God to barely meeting your needs. If you have enough, then believe for extra so that you can bless someone else. “Let God be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of
His servants” says the Psalmist. Ps. 35:27.
Our loving heavenly Father is always generous toward His children. He is the author of the plan that not only encompasses our entire earthly life but also extends way into eternity. In Genesis, (the first book of the Bible) He gives man and woman a perfect garden to enjoy. And in Revelation, (the last book) we read about our ultimate home, which will be flawless and everlasting. Many of the books in between testify to the variety of ways God provides for His people. God is always about giving!
It is important to point out here that He Owns It All.
The Lord is sovereign over all material wealth.
The words of King David reflect the attitude we should have toward divine provision: David says:
“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all” 1 Chron 29:11
The Scriptures are filled with declarations of God’s goodness and descriptions of His inexhaustible resources. He desires prosperity for His children—He wants us to have all we need
and the capacity to enjoy it. Listen to what the Psalmist says in Psalm 34: v8-10
“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him. 9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. 10 The young Lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want
any good thing.”
When we limit ourselves to human ability and resources, we will find that both run out very quickly. When we instead trust in the Lord’s ability to work on our behalf, we tap into an infinite supply that cannot be measured or depleted. God’s resources are 100% recession-proof. The Lord’s very nature gives assurance of His abundant provision: He is:
Omniscient—God knows better than we do and before we do;
He is Omnipotent—The Father of all power; and he is
Omnipresent—He is everywhere, unlimited by time or space.
In Philippians 4:19 God promises to supply all our needs.
Do you believe that? Many people have confessed to me that they understand the Lord is the source of all things and He provides abundantly for His people; but they have difficulty believing in His provision in regard to their own lives.
We all know that Needs and Desires are different?
A need is something that you must have in order to stay alive
or to carry out God’s will. A desire is something pleasant.
It’s fun to have—enjoyable, satisfying, delightful.
Some people believe the Lord provides only for our essential needs. But that isn’t the message of the Bible. As I have been trying to show you, the Father’s provision for us is generous. Jesus came to give us an abundant, full and overflowing life; John 10:10. (amp)
When we share in other peoples needs, the Lord promises to provide what we need—a pressed-down, shaken-together, and running-over prosperity and His gifts are always perfect: James 1:17 reminds us that every good gift comes from the hands of God.
A loving parent gives his children what they need but also takes delight in giving them their hearts’ desires. The heavenly Father has this same generosity of spirit toward you. He is not stingy or begrudging. God’s only constraint regarding your desires are that they must not interfere with His plans—and that they will benefit you without causing you harm. So don’t be afraid to ask God for what you want as well as what you require.
Of course it would be careless of me not to mention here some preconditions which God has laid down for his supply.
God asks certain things of those who will be blessed by His generosity. I believe these instructions are intended to keep us focused on Him. That way, we can continue to receive from the Lord and know how to use wisely what He gives.
The Father wants us to:
1. Keep His commands: The Lord promised to bless the Israelites with fruitful crops and herds if they would obey Him and worship Him alone; Deut 28:1-2, & 11-14. When we keep God’s commands and live according to His principles,
we are in a position to enjoy prosperity.
2. Be generous to others: The Father trusts an open handed person with more, because He knows that His gifts will be used to bless others – 1 Tim 6:17-19 God cannot bless tight-fisted-ness. Become a Giver not a Grabber.
3. Believe in Him and His Word: If you don’t have faith that God will supply your need or grant you your heart’s desires, you won’t be ready for a blessing when it shows up.
When you are having difficulty believing that God will meet your personal needs, ask for grace to help you trust Him more. When His children cry out sincerely like this, the Father
delights in answering.
I have discovered that at times God has strengthened my Faith by withholding supply from me, until the very last minute. This teaches us an even greater dependency on God and not on others. I remember on one occasion many years ago, when I was ministering in Scotland and wanting to call Home, when I didn’t even have 10 pence for the telephone kiosk. Approaching the phone box, I had determined to reverse the charges, knowing that my Mother (at home) would happily consent. When I opened the door of the phone box, to my delight and surprise, there was a 10 pence piece sitting there in the slot ready for use. I called my Mother and we spoke together for at least 20 minutes before I hung up. When I did, the 10 pence dropped out again onto the floor. I put it back where I had found it, and said “thank you Father” God had provided even before I asked.
God’s provision for you is motivated entirely by His unending love for you. He is not moved by repeated requests or begging. You don’t have to complete special rituals or spend a certain time in prayer and fasting for a need to be answered.
When you believe in God, keep His commands, and begin to act with generosity toward others, the Lord will bless you; and you will never deplete the source of your prosperity—that would be like trying to drain the ocean dry with a thimble. So don’t miss out on the Father’s blessing. Come to Him in faith,
and receive what He longs to lavish upon you.
Now before I bring this sermon to its conclusion, I know that there are many today, even many Christians, anxious about
their financial well-being at this present time, and into the future. In times of economic recession and financial uncertainty, it would seem a natural response to be anxious.
Yet anxiety springs from a lack of confidence. If your confidence today is in the sound investment portfolios that you and your financial advisors have put together for the future, then you may well have reason to be anxious. But if your confidence is in a wise and loving father in Heaven, whose source of supply can never be measured or depleted, and is 100% recession-proof; then you have no reason to fear. Remember that the God who feeds “the birds of the air”
can feed us and the God who “clothes the grass of the field”
can clothe us also. Fear Not!
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
In the latter part of the 17th century, German preacher August Francke founded an orphanage to care for the homeless children of Halle. One day when Francke desperately needed funds to carry on his work, a destitute Christian widow came to his door begging for a ducat – a gold coin. Because of his financial situation, he politely but regretfully told her he couldn’t help her. Disheartened, the woman began to weep. Moved by her tears, Francke asked her to wait while he went to his room to pray. After seeking God’s guidance, he felt that the Holy Spirit wanted him to change his mind. So, trusting the Lord to meet his own needs, he gave her the money. Two mornings later, he received a letter of thanks from the widow. She explained that because of his generosity she had asked the Lord to shower the orphanage with gifts. That same day Francke received 12 ducats from a wealthy lady and 2 more from a friend in Sweden.
He thought he had been amply rewarded for helping the widow,
but he was soon informed that the orphanage was to receive 500 gold pieces from the estate of Prince Lodewyk Van Wurtenburg. When he heard this, Francke wept to God in gratitude.
In sacrificially providing for that needy widow,
he had been enriched, not impoverished.
My old Pastor used to say
“Do your giving while you’re living so you’re knowing where it’s going”.
and the Hymn writer said:
“We lose what on ourselves we spend,
but have as treasure without end
whatever Lord to Thee we lend
who Givest all!”