Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Lift up over all the covering shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one.”
Ephesians 6: 16, Amplified Bible
“Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
and looks to God alone;
Laughs at impossibilities,
and cries it shall be done.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And his servitor said, ‘What, should I set this before an hundred men?’ He said again, ‘Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the Lord, they shall eat, and shall leave thereof.’ So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord.”
II Kings 4: 43, 44, K.J.V.
“Our Bounteous Provider”
“And my God will liberally supply, fill to the full, your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 19
What “bounteous” gifts has my Father bestowed upon me?
What does it mean in my daily life to have a Father that promises to provide for my needs?
“Our Father gives us what we don’t deserve and could never earn from a throne that never runs low on its provision. - Tony Evans and Jonathon Evans (2006)
“Where God guides, He provides.”
In a gem of a book entitled, Storms and Starlight, author V. Raymond Edman begins Chapter 20, which is called “Supply” with these words found in Mark 6: 38, “And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘How many loaves do you have? Go and see.’”
How interesting that our study text today, found in II Kings 4: 43, 44 contains an almost identical wording as we find that during a “dearth” in the land or a “famine” as we might refer to the situation, a faithful follower of Yahweh arrived at the School of the Prophets carrying the first fruits of his harvest – “twenty loaves of barley, and fresh ears of grain in the husk in his sack.”
Having just survived the affects of a “poison” pot of stew, we can only imagine how delighted all the students must have been to see some edible food come in the door. I can only think that Elisha, too, was overjoyed at God’s faithfulness in providing for the students because this “gift” of food happened to arrive with such immediacy and at a time when scarcity was the fact of the day.
But, as we quickly read, it didn’t take long until a voice was heard. It was Gehazi, Elisha’s servant who spoke up to inform everyone that indeed there was food, however, as he pointed out, “There wasn’t enough!” In fact, here’s how The Message Bible presents the situation:
“Elisha said, ‘Pass it (the food) around to the people to eat.’
His servant (Gehazi) said, ‘For a hundred men? There’s not nearly enough!
Elisha said, ‘Just go ahead and do it. God says there’s plenty.’
And sure enough, there was. He passed around what he had – they not only ate, but had leftovers.”
II Kings 4: 42-44 The Message Bible
It seems that if this story sounds familiar to us, it is because just a few weeks ago, we were studying about Jesus feeding nearly 15,000 hungry people with five loaves of bread and two fishes.
As we compare the experience of Elisha and years later of Jesus, when the supply of food apparently did not meet the need for food, one cannot help but think about the commercial “law of supply and demand.” But this is where the thoughts shared by Raymond Edman turn our view from the earthly to the heavenly, from the profit-making to the soul-supplying. Here’s how author Edman describes the difference between the material and the spiritual worlds:
“Over the centuries, mankind has become acquainted rather instinctively with the relationship that exists between supply and demand on the one hand and prices and production on the other; but to many the thought may be a novel one that there is also a spiritual law of supply and demand. It is epitomized in Philippians 4: 19: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
I’d like to share several ways this passage appears in four different versions of the Bible:
1. Phillips: “My God will supply all that you need from His glorious resources in Christ Jesus.”
2. Amplified: “And my God will liberally supply, fill to the full, your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
3. The Message: “You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, His generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.”
4. The Voice: “Know this: my God will also fill every need you have according to His glorious riches in Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King.”
I think this should give us a grand idea as to the scope of the generosity and bounteous giving we tap into when we are talking about the spiritual realm and our need to be supplied from unlimited heavenly resources.
However, as Raymond Edman warns us, so often, “the natural mind would prefer a well-filled checking account in some substantial bank rather than the glorious resources in Christ Jesus.’”
It’s what I call “Gehazi-thinking.” It is the type of narrow-visioned thinking that looks at the demand – a hundred hungry men – and comes to the immediate conclusion that the necessary resources aren’t available.
Praise God for the Elisha’s who are quick to hear another voice, the voice of the Lord that never saw a demand or a need that couldn’t be met. And it is this heavenly voice that reassures us today that not only is there enough to meet all your needs and mine, there’s plenty leftover beside! How thankful we can be that when we follow our Guide, our supplies will be taken care of! All of them – God’s given us His word. As F. W. Krummacher writes so encouragingly, “Are we disquieted about our temporal existence? Does fear lay hold upon us at the sight of the many difficulties we have to contend with? Let us recollect that God has given us, in His precious promises, sufficient warrant to exclaim with exultation, ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ Hallelujah! Amen.”
“It is our part to allow God to have all that we are and have, however little and insignificant that may seem in contrast to the tremendous demands upon us. He will take our small supply, break it in His tender hands, bless it in His own way, and cause it to supply the need that stares us in the face. As we surrender, He supplies.”
V. Raymond Edman
“The Lord God will not be outdone in generosity.”
Alphonsus Liguori, (1696-1787)
“Thank You, Father, that You give us all things richly to enjoy. Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the wills of Thy faithful people, that they who have freely received of Thy bounty, may of Thy bounty freely give; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Bishop Dowden (19th Century)
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Over the past few weeks, because of the generous outpouring of gifts from God’s “Garden daughters and sons,” we were able to complete our current projects and send 10,000 bookmarks to Papua New Guinea. We also sent 500 bookmarks in the Hindi language to Northern India. Thank you. Now we are undertaking the challenge of sending bookmarks to Russia, Lithuania and Brazil and to several domestic abuse shelters here in the United States.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-349-8619.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.