The Great Provider
Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
“And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3). These are the words of God spoken by Moses to the people of God in the wilderness.
The uncertainty and deep anxiety of many because of our economic situation, our federal government’s demonstrated incompetence, and our culture’s moral decay have led me to think of man’s most basic need and the only one who provides it. Man’s most basic need is life and the only one who provides it is God.
Jesus, who is the Incarnate Word, the only Son of God, quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to Satan during His temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:4). Satan sought to tempt Jesus by drawing His attention to His physical needs. As you may recall, Jesus fasted for 40 days before meeting Satan. Satan challenged the fact of Jesus’ divinity. The challenge, “If you are the Son of God…” (Matthew 4:3) was met with Jesus’ reminder to Satan that there is something much more basic than physical needs. Jesus told Satan and reminded all of us that man’s very existence depends upon the word of God.
A few basic observations may especially help Christians put a right perspective on adversity, considering the current uncertainties of the state of our nation and culture.
God’s word in Deuteronomy was designed by Him to comfort and teach His people. God humbled His people so that they would know an important fact. That fact is the universal truth that all mankind exists by God’s word. There is no life possible apart from the word of God. The plain truth is that because God is, we are! All life proceeds from Him. The Apostle Paul told the philosophers in Athens that all mankind lives and moves and have being (existence) in Jesus. Paul wrote to the church in Colossae, “All things were created through him and for him… and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17).
Many of us think we are the center of the world. Much of our current civil leadership uses this erroneous thinking to manipulate the public. Even those who profess Christ live as though they are the center of everything and fall prey to this manipulation. Many look to the government to provide their needs. When men fail and they will, the result is depression, anger, and despair. Unscrupulous leaders design systems purposed in making men dependent upon them. These leaders make promises that they have no intention of keeping. Yet they depend upon those who are already trusting in them to believe the promises and continue to keep them in power.
The current state of our nation and culture didn’t happen overnight. It took decades in our nation for our leaders to convince many citizens that they are dependent upon government. It will likely take much time to reverse this trend.
In the meantime, know that God ordained our current situation. At a minimum He is teaching all of us that He is the center of the world. He is the one who ordains the steps of men. It is His word by which we live and move and exist. He is the one who provides the needs of His people.
Whether you are directly affected by our government’s incompetence or simply one of many who don’t know from where your next meal will come, know this: Your life depends upon God. Jesus told His disciples that their heavenly Father knew what they needed and would provide it.
I would be remiss if I didn’t say that our current situation may not change. Yet, please know that amid your difficulty, God is with you. If you belong to Him, He has promised never to leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
I pray that by God’s grace our nation will be lifted out of decline. Yet, I’m certain that we will continue to face many challenges to our faith. I’m likewise certain that some of our leaders will continue to usurp the place of the Great Provider. I urge you to know the truth. God has revealed the basic fact of man’s existence so that we might submit ourselves to Him and acknowledge Him, for He is the Great Provider.
The Great Provider