Mat 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
In the grand scheme of things, God provides everything we need to live. You might say, “Wait a second, I have to work to put dinner on the table and keep a roof over my head!” This is true on an individual basis. Everybody and everything works in some form or fashion to get sustenance for life. The Bible even recognizes the wisdom and industry of the ant.
Pro 6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
Pro 6:7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Pro 6:8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
However, there are specific times and circumstances in the Bible where God “supernaturally” provides for His saints. God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on top of Mount Moriah. When Isaac asks Abraham where the lamb was that he plans to sacrifice, Abraham answers that God will provide himself a lamb!
Gen 22:7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
Gen 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will PROVIDE himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
PROVIDE: H7200, raw-aw'
A primitive root; to SEE, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitively, intransitively and causatively): - advise self, appear, approve, behold, X certainly, consider, discern, (make to) enjoy, have experience, gaze, take heed, X indeed, X joyfully, lo, look (on, one another, one on another, one upon another, out, up, upon), mark, meet, X be near, perceive, present, provide, regard, (have) respect, (fore-, cause to, let) see (-r, -m, one another), shew (self), X sight of others, (e-) spy, stare, X surely, X think, view, visions.
We see that the Hebrew word for provide is “raw-aw” and it literally means: TO SEE. This short story in the Book of Genesis about God’s unusual request begins to give us an understanding of Abraham’s great FAITH. God was testing the faith of Abraham, but God knew Abraham would pass the test. Also, we begin to grasp what real faith in God is really all about.
Faith is not some magic formula. Faith is simply KNOWING how God will act in any given situation. GOD ALWAYS TELLS THE TRUTH.
Heb 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
God always tells the truth; therefore, Abraham KNEW that God MUST intervene on Isaac’s behalf in some “miraculous” way… perhaps by even raising Isaac from the dead!
Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
Heb 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
Heb 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
Isaac was the child of PROMISE, God promised Abraham that God would establish an “everlasting covenant” through Isaac AND HIS SEED.
Gen 17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
Abraham had experienced God’s supernatural intervention in his life for many years. Every time that Abraham’s circumstances looked especially dire, God would intervene supernaturally and Abraham would be in a better position than he was before he experienced the trial or the problem. Therefore, Abraham was expectantly LOOKING for God’s supernatural intervention and provision.
When the saints of God are facing trials and tribulations, we should be EXPECTING TO SEE GOD’S PROVISIONS for our problem…that is FAITH in a nutshell. Faith is expecting to SEE everything work out because God loves us!
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not SEEN.
In the Book of 1st Kings, God tells Elijah the Prophet to go to the brook Cherith, where God has commanded the ravens to feed him meat and bread twice a day. Although it appears to be very plain fare, I suspect that Elijah was much better off than the rest of Israel. Although ravens are “unclean” birds and eaters of carrion, Elijah did not question God’s provision, he did not murmur and complain, but he thankfully accepted God’s supernatural help.
Next, when the brook of Cherith ran dry, God sent Elijah to seek out a widow in the land of the Zidonians. God commanded a poor Gentile widow woman to feed Elijah for the rest of the three-and-one-half (3 and ½) years of famine. God uses another unlikely source of supernatural provision for His prophet. We see how bad the famine is because the widow is near starvation when Elijah arrives at her house.
1Ki 17:8 And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
1Ki 17:9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
1Ki 17:10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
1Ki 17:11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
1Ki 17:12 And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
1Ki 17:13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
1Ki 17:14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.
1Ki 17:15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
1Ki 17:16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.
God does not send Elijah to a wealthy land owner or a rich merchant, but God sends Elijah to somebody who is least able to provide food and shelter for the prophet. Then God “supernaturally” provides for Elijah and the widow’s household. Thus, God takes Elijah out of the reach of the King of Israel, while also keeping Elijah hidden until he is needed again. We see again that very simple sustenance is provided to Elijah and the widow, but Jesus tells us that there were many widows in Israel would have been glad to be in the gentile widow’s place.
Luk 4:25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
Luk 4:26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
Jesus tells us that the length of the famine was three years and six months. There is a place in the bible where another woman is provided “supernatural” provision for three years and six months.
Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
Rev 12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Could it be that the gentile widow woman is an allegory for another woman that God provides for in the last days? I believe the story of the Zidonian widow is more evidence that the woman that God “nourishes” in the wilderness is the “Gentile Church” and NOT the nation of Israel.
NOURISHED: G5142, trephō, tref'-o
A primary verb (properly θρέφω threphō; but perhaps strengthened from the base of G5157 through the idea of convolution); properly to stiffen, that is, fatten (by implication to cherish [with food, etc.], pamper, rear): - bring up, feed, nourish.
People are always worried that they can’t leave a certain place, or leave a certain job, or leave a certain occupation because, “How will I take care of myself?” However, the Bible is pretty clear that if God tells you to do something, or go somewhere, or help someone, He will provide for your basic needs and then some.
Luk 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
If Elijah had refused to go where God told him to go, would God have provided for him? If the widow had refused to give Elijah a portion of her little bit of food, would God have provided for her?
It is fairly obvious from many Bible stories that if we are obedient to what God tells us to do, God will provide for our basic needs. The Book of Proverbs tells us that often times the choices we believe are right from a purely worldly perspective are the completely wrong choice:
Pro 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Jesus also emphasized that using our own rational self-interests as a basis for making our decisions will be a huge mistake in the last days.
Mat 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Mat 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
I believe there will be many people who will make the seemingly rational decision to take the mark of the beast, believing that they will save their life. However, they will end up spending eternity in hell. There will also be people making a seemingly irrational decision to flee into the wilderness, with no obvious method to provide for themselves or the people they love, but because they are obedient to God’s command, they will be supernaturally provided for, and they will obtain eternal life!
Rev 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Rev 18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.