Trusting God for Impossible Provision
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, ESV)
“They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, 3 and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger. 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.” (Exodus 16:1-4, ESV)
“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, but you may only be aware of three of them” ~ John Piper
v. 2 - the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron
“During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God.” (Exodus 2:23, ESV)
God’s Provision is usually different than we expected!
"4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven…"
"13 In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. 14 And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.” (Exodus 16:13-15, ESV)
“Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” (Exodus 16:31, ESV)
God’s Provision always includes more of Himself!
“Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them….”
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4, ESV)
God has already provided the greatest provision!
“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV)
“31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33, ESV
Trusting God for Impossible Provision
When I think of provision in an earthly sense, I think of parents and children. Parents seek to provide for their children. This often includes the parents doing what they know is best for their children, not necessarily what the child wants for themselves. What are some specific examples of this behavior that we can see in the Parent/Child relationship?
Now, lest we forget what it is like to be the child in this dynamic, think back to a time in your childhood when a parent would not give you what you wanted. Explain this situation to your group. How did you feel at that time?
It is easy to become preoccupied with our wants and desires. But we can learn from the example above that provision is not always pleasant.
Sometimes we can become frustrated and ungrateful in the midst
of provision because it is not exactly what we want for ourselves or think we need. In today’s life group study, we will look at both GOD’s provision and Strength in CHRIST.
Read 2 Corinthians 12:5-10
1) What is the thought behind Paul saying that he will only boast in his weakness?
2) Define the word “provision”/ “provide.”
3) What does this passage say that GOD gave Paul?
4) What were the reasons for GOD giving this “thorn” to Paul? (there are two)
5) What is Paul’s opinion of this “thorn?”
6) How does vv. 8-9 illustrate the difference between our desires and GOD’s provision?
7) Rarely do we view hardships and struggles as a “provision” from GOD. What does James 1:2-3 tell us about struggles and hardships?
8) GOD’s provision of the “thorn” was in order to keep Paul from becoming conceited. What would the effect be if Paul had become conceited?
9) Paul demonstrates his understanding of GOD’s provision in v.10a. How can Paul say that he is “content in weaknesses?”
10) Finally, notice that GOD provides something else to Paul. We see in v.7 that GOD provides/gives Paul a “thorn” in his flesh. But what does v.9 point out that GOD also gives Paul?
The final sentence of v.10, seems quite unusual to us. In fact, it is absolutely oxymoronic. How can weakness make one strong? The answer is that Paul understood that this “thorn” was a gift! Yes, it was painful, frustrating, and difficult…but it was worth it. It caused weakness in his life, which in turn caused him to rely more and more on GOD/CHRIST. He knew that the “thorn” is the very thing that preserved his faith and spared his life! Are you strong enough in CHRIST to embrace WEAKNESS in the flesh? Will you embrace GOD’s provision, even if it’s not what you had in mind?