A Land of Milk and Honey
Verse: Exodus 3:8
God’s promise to Moses on behalf of the people must have sounded larger-than-life: it was “a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex 3:8)—a place fairly oozing with the best of creation’s bounty. God was indeed planning to bless his people abundantly.
God still provides for his own, both corporately (his church) and individually, although not always in a material sense. David reflects, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Ps 37:25). It might be easy to dismiss David’s claim based on the fact that faithful followers of Christ have starved to death in large numbers over the centuries. So, at the very least, we must beware of blithely suggesting that God will always provide a minimal amount of material provision in this life.
Christian financial stewardship leader Howard Dayton reflects on God’s promise to provide for our needs:
“But seek first [his kingdom] and his righteousness, and all these things [food and clothing] will be [given] to you” (Mt 6:33). In Genesis 22:14, God is spoken of as “Jehovah-jireh,” [the LORD Will Provide]. He takes care of his people, and he does not need a prosperous economy to provide for them. Each day he gave manna to the children of Israel during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Jesus fed 5,000 with only five loaves and two fish.
God is both predictable and unpredictable. He is absolutely predictable in his faithfulness to provide for our needs. What we cannot predict is how the Lord will provide. He uses various and sometimes surprising means of meeting our needs. Regardless of how he chooses to provide for our needs, he is utterly reliable.
Yet in our human condition, we are often plagued by fears that God might not come through for us. Pastor and author Andy Stanley reflects on the impact that this lack of trust has on our stewardship habits:
For many believers, cheerful giving has become fearful giving. We are not opposed to supporting God’s kingdom with our resources. And we’re really not greedy. But we are concerned. We’re concerned that if we don’t look after our own needs first, they might not get looked after at all.
Yet the testimony of Scripture, together with the experiences of millions of believers, sends a resounding response to our concerns. Any fear associated with giving to God’s kingdom is irrational. It’s on a par with a farmer who, out of fear of losing his seed, refuses to plant his fields. As absurd as that may sound, many of us are guilty of hoarding the financial seed that God intends to be sown for the harvest that is to come. And it’s all because of fear.
Think About It
•How do you reconcile God’s promise of provision with the reality of the poverty of so many faithful Christians in the world?
•How do you see your own responsibility to those who are in need?
•Do you ever doubt God’s provision in your own life? Why? What usually changes your mind when you’re feeling that way?
Pray About It
Lord, I am blessed by you. Help me to live in a way that shows others my faith in you.
This devotion is from the NIV Stewardship Study Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.