(Audio above and transcript below can be downloaded from www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)
I’d like to share this verse from Psalm 119:27, “Make me understand the way of Your precepts, so I will meditate on Your wonders.” Once He opens our eyes to what He is doing, then we can ponder that and worship the Lord. We need Him open our eyes to show us what He is doing. Let’s bow before the Lord and commit our time to Him.
Heavenly Father, thank You again that we can gather in this place in Your name and wait upon the indwelling Holy Spirit to point our hearts to the Lord Jesus. We ask again that You might unveil Yourself and take the scales away from our eyes, and our hearts and then give us grace to respond to the way Christ is revealed. Thank You that we can trust You for that, and we commit our little session unto You. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Welcome again to our look at our Lord Jesus in the book of Exodus. We’ve come to our study to the second part of the book of Exodus, chapter 13 all the way to the end, to chapter 40. We call this section “the blessed out-workings of being saved by power and blood of redemption”. As I look toward the end of the book I found six, and perhaps there are many more, but we’ve just going to focus on these six out-workings; the Shekinah glory cloud, the song of Moses and the dance of Miriam, water out of the rock and the manna from heaven, victory over Amelek, the giving of the Ten Commandments, and then the tabernacle. Those are the big issues that we’re going to be looking at.
Each one contains a principle, an outworking. You’ve been saved by power and blood and you belong to the Lord. You can expect what is pictured by the Shekinah glory cloud. You can expect to be guided all the days of your life until you get to heaven. You can expect joy, illustrated by the song of Moses and the dance of Miriam. If you’ve been saved, He puts joy bells in your heart. You can expect that God will be your Provider, illustrated by the manna and the quail and the water out of the rock. You can expect to have victory in your life, illustrated by Rephidim and His great victory over Amelek. You can expect that God will work in your heart New Covenant obedience, illustrated by the giving of the Law. Finally, the book ends up with worship. You can expect to worship the Lord, illustrated by the tabernacle. So, those are six great out-workings, just because we’re saved by power and blood.
In our discussion we’ve come to the third outworking of redemption. We discussed guidance, illustrated by the Shekinah glory cloud, we discussed joy and the difference between joy and happiness, illustrated by the song of Moses and the dance of Miriam, and we were in the process of discussing that God is our Provider, illustrated by the water and the manna and the quail. In our last session we began with the illustration of water. I pointed out how God outlines this section. First, He gives us a section on thirst, but He doesn’t get to Jesus. Then He gives us a section on hunger, but He doesn’t get to Jesus. And then at the end He takes hunger and thirst and He brings it to the Lord with that great story of water out of the rock, and we’ll see Christ then as the drink of Life and the bread of life; the food of life.
In our last session we began the thirst. We didn’t get all the way to where God wants us. He wants us to end up with John 4:13&14, “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” That’s where we are going. We will end up with Christ as the water of life.
Jeremiah 2:13 we used as sort of a launching platform for last week, “For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” In our discussion of the blessed out-workings illustrated by thirst and hunger we’re going to study principles of provision. God is your provider, but this story illustrates how He provides and what we can expect if we’ve looking to Him as our provider.
Last week we looked at the first principle, which is this; the Lord will provide your needs. I need to remind you what we mean by that. Until we finally get to Luke 10:41&42, “But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary.’” I hope the Lord burns that into your heart; one thing is necessary, and that’s the Lord. That’s what is necessary; having union with Him. I say God provides our needs. You don’t have needs. You only have a need, one need; the Lord. One thing is needful, one thing is necessary. I say God provides our needs, and I’m not talking about gas and insurance and rent and groceries and health. That might be included, but when I say the Lord provides our needs, here is what I mean; we need needs. He provides needs; He gives us what we need to take us to the place where we see we have only one need, and that is our Lord Jesus Christ. Another way to say it is, “He allows us to drink from broken cisterns that hold no water, that we might be driven to the living fountain, the Lord Himself.
Last week we looked at four broken cisterns. The Holy Spirit in Exodus 15:22-27 has given us four water stories, all in a clump. They had no water. They had bitter water. They had sweet water. They had spring water. No water, bitter water, sweet water, spring water is still not Christ. Those are broken cisterns that can hold no water. The application is simple: no water. God will often bring you to emptiness in order that you might hunger for Christ. Bitter water; God will often disappoint you and your hopes. You look by sight and see a place that will provide for me, and when you get there it’s bitter. God will often disappoint your expectation in order to drive you to Christ.
Then God healed that water. God will bring many restorations into your life. Restoration is wonderful. The Prodigal son was restored and fell in the arms of his father, but restoration is only the beginning. There’s a party that we need to go to. Restoration in itself is just a cistern. It leads me to Christ. Finally, they went to Elim, the oasis in the desert, the place of blessing. They had many blessings. Blessings are wonderful. Blessing are not the Blesser. We need the Blesser; we need to look to Christ and not to blessings. So, He takes us through those empty cisterns to create in us a thirst, because He loves you too much to tolerate, to allow unreality. He wants us real through and through.
That brings us this morning to the second. We saw the first, illustrated by those four water stories. Now we begin hunger, illustrated by the manna and the quail. As we looked to thirst and saw principles, so now we’ll look to hunger and see the same. The Holy Spirit has given us an entire chapter, Exodus chapter 16, all about manna; so many things about manna. Each of the details of the manna contains a principle. We’ll be looking for a while at the manna. It’s difficult to know where to begin because chapter 16 and the whole story of manna is just so full.
Let me start here. Not only will the Lord be faithful to provide what we need; feed you with the bread of affliction if you need, feed me with trouble if I need. He’ll provide our needs. But God’s provision, and here is the second principle, if by pure grace. Remember when they were thirsty? Did you notice when they were thirsty how they expressed it? Exodus 15:24, “So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” They grumbled. Now they are hungry. How do they express that? Exodus 16:2&3, “The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The sons of Israel said to them, ‘Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’” I think it’s easy to exaggerate the past when the present is rather bitter. They looked back and I don’t think those slaves sat by pots of meat and bread. That’s not how slaves were fed in those days.
God noticed their grumbling. Listen to Exodus 16:7, “And in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, for He hears your grumblings against the Lord; and what are we, that you grumble against us.” Verse 8, “Moses said, ‘This will happen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the Lord hears your grumbling which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord.’” Then the Lord Himself speaks in verse 12, “I have heard the grumbling of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”
What I’m calling attention to his is the fact that when they were thirsty they grumble, and when they were hungry they grumbled. Grumbling is sin. As I said last time, grumbling is a sin against God. It always claims two things. #1 I deserve better than I’m getting. That’s what you say when you grumble. And also you are saying that God had nothing to do with this, “I hate this weather,” as if God had nothing to do with the weather. All grumbling is against God. When you say, “I deserve better than this,“ in Lamentations 3:39, “Why should any living man complain in view of his sin?” Isn’t that interesting? I have no reason to complain, no matter what comes into my life, I deserve worse. If I got what I deserved I’d be in hell. If you got what you deserved you would be in hell. Everything short of hell is mercy. There is never a reason to complain. One is pride; I don’t deserve this. And one is unbelief; God had nothing to do with it. Pride and unbelief, and how does God respond. It’s by grace. They didn’t deserve breads raining from heaven. They deserved lightening raining from heaven. They were grumbling grumblers and pride and unbelief deserved the judgment of God. Verse 4 again, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will 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 or not they will walk in My instruction.’” Verse 12, “I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’” Isn’t it an amazing thing the way the God of grace responds to your grumbling?
I remember one day Lillian saw an injustice on TV and she rose out of her chair and her little hands were up in the air and she said, “Oh, I wish I could be God for one day.” I’m glad He didn’t answer that prayer. The whole idea that God should have judged them. Grace is not just God giving us what we don’t deserve. That’s grace. But He gives us what we don’t deserve when we deserve the exact opposite. We are not only undeserving. We are ill-deserving. That’s the essence of grace. And yet we see the heart of God in all of this. It’s the principle that God is a God of grace. In spite of my stupidity and my grumbling and my griping and moaning, the Lord is faithful and He’ll still provide. Numbers 14:22, this is not the only time they grumbled, “These ten times you’ve grumbled against me.” They were a grumbling people.
I don’t know if you’ve ever faced it. I have. My heart is a grumbling heart—my natural heart. Your natural heart is a grumbling heart. That’s where we are. Until we are taught to rest in Christ, we’re going to be forced to faint upon His grace over and over and over again. You think once you’ve learned that you would have learned it forever, but we never learn anything once forever. We are always learning, learning and relearning.
Let me share another principle of God’s provision. I made a slight reference to it when we looked the thirst illustration. We are not left on our own to guess why God gave manna. He tells us why. Exodus 16:4, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold I will 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 or not they will walk in My instruction.” One purpose of the manna is to test you, and He elaborates on that. Deuteronomy 8:2, “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” One purpose for the way He provides is to test and to humble you to see what is in your heart. As I said several times, He loves us too much to allow unreality. He wants us real; through and through real, and so He’ll test us over and over again, preparing us for that day when we finally settle on Jesus who is the bread of life and the drink of life.
Not only does He test us, but listen to Deuteronomy 8:3, “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” According to that verse, He sent manna to teach you that man does not live by bread alone, but everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
In another connection very soon I’m going to get into that and show you what that means, but right now just know the principle that God provides to test you, to humble you, to prepare you to see if you are trusting the Lord or if you are not trusting the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:16, let me state that principle again, but this time from verse 16, “In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you,” and here’s the point, “to do good for you in the end.” Isn’t that wonderful! The reason He sends the manna to test you, to dig into your heart, to humble you, is that He wants you real and He’s going to lead you to Christ through that to do good in the end. Provision, whatever it is, that is not the goal. The goal is always Christ. The goal is always the Lord. So, God provides our needs, and always provides by grace, and God’s provision is a test; He humbles us.
Here’s a New Testament fully developed expression, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but every word.” Here’s the test, Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” When God provides, He tests, He humbles, He examines and He goes deep and searches and digs into our heart, so that there will be reality.
Let me give you the fourth principle illustrated here of God’s provision. He’s not only faithful to provide all your needs, to do it by pure grace, to test and humble you and prepare you, but let me give another principle and this is closely connected to the test principle. Once again, Deuteronomy 8:3, “that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone. Man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” I’d like to take a moment or two to explain what God means by that; what is that statement that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God? That’s first given here in terms of the manna, but it’s also quoted in the New Testament. Perhaps you are more familiar with it in the New Testament than you are here with the manna.
This is where our Lord Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness. I’ll let you decide if the temptation in the wilderness is illustrated by Israel in the wilderness. I’ll let you decide if forty years in the wilderness is some way connected to forty days of fasting when Jesus was tempted, but there’s no doubt that the expression, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,” was connected to the manna. There’s no question about that. Evidently at this point Israel had not learned that yet and that’s why they are going to be tested with the manna. Clearly, Jesus learned it. He didn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of the Lord.
Let me read it from Matthew 4:2-3 and then we’ll discuss it. “And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’” And Satan tempted Jesus to prove His Son-ship by turning stones into bread. It was in response to that, verse 4, “He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.””
I think there are two possible ways to interpret that. I’m going to give both; I incline to the second, but you can decide. He could have been saying to Satan, “I only act and move when the Father tells me to move. I don’t do things unless My Father tells me to do them.” In John 8:28 He made that point. He said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” It’s as if Jesus was saying to Satan, “You are trying to have me prove My Son-ship by turning these stones to bread; by acting apart from My Father’s word, and I’m not going to do it. I’m going to prove My Son-ship by trusting My Father. I’m not going to act independently. If I hear from Him and He says to turn those stones to bread, I’ll do it. That’s easy and I can do that, if He tells Me to do it. But every word that proceeds out of His mouth and He hasn’t said it, so I’m not going to do it. That’s one possibility.
Or He could be saying, which I’m more inclined to this, “My heavenly Father is not in bondage to ordinary ways of providing. Let me ask you this. Why does bread, food, fruit, vegetables, nourish? The answer is because God says so. Genesis 1:29, “Then God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you.” That’s why bread nourishes, because God said so. He could have commanded sticks and stones to nourish. In that case we would be eating gravel and bark. It’s up to what God says; what comes out of His mouth. His word determines the means.
Back to Exodus; they are in the wilderness. All the ordinary means for them to eat and drink are gone now. There are no gardens, or vineyards, or orchards, and they don’t have wheat to make bread, and they can’t harvest anything. The ordinary means are gone. How will God provide? It’s by extraordinary means. He’s not in bondage to ordinary means. He rained down manna from heaven in verse 4, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you.” He is not bound to provide by ordinary means. Those who look to ordinary means are described as living by bread alone. If all you look to is ordinary means, in other words if you look to your health, your job, your savings account, your investments, the government or the generosity of your family or something like that, then you are living by bread alone. God is the Provider. He might use those ordinary means, and often does, but He’s the Provider. Ordinary means – the inheritance, the garden, or the generosity of Christian people, my own ingenuity – anytime I look to the means, I’m living by bread alone.
One illustration that God is not bound by ordinary means is Psalm 78:25, “Man did eat the bread of angels. He sent them food in abundance.” The expression “bread of angels”, is that just poetry, that He fed them by heavenly food, or do angels need to eat? He’s created so many angels. One place He says ten thousand times ten thousand. I’m not great at arithmetic but I did the math on that; that’s a hundred million! He made at least a hundred million angels, and there’s another place that calls them an unnumbered host. Are they sustained by food? I don’t know. Are there orchards in heaven or vineyards in heaven? How does God provide? He doesn’t need ordinary means. I don’t know what angels eat or if they eat; cheerios or broccoli or raisins, but God can provide for them. I don’t know if they have a digestive system, but God can provide. He’s not bound to ordinary means. If they are alive and don’t need to eat, that’s also a miracle that God is allowing them to live that way.
My point is this, we’re talking about God’s provision. I don’t know how God is working in your life, but don’t doubt the Lord if ordinary means fade away. Don’t say, “I’m getting older and I can’t do what I used to do. I lost my job, my investments failed and my bank account is getting low.” If ordinary means fails you have the Lord. A man does not live by bread alone; by ordinary means. He lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. It’s a tactic of the enemy to tempt you to test your Son-ship, your belonging to the Lord during the time when there is an absence of ordinary means.
I love 1 Kings 17:7, Elijah was by the brook, and God called him to that brook, and the Bible says, “It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.” Will God ever call you to a brook that dries up? Indeed He will! He doesn’t dry up. Your brook dries up, and that’s all. He has other means, and He will provide for you. That’s the point that’s illustrated here. I’m not going to trace it out, but we see many times in the Bible where God did that. Sometimes He used the ravens, and sometimes He just kept that little bit in the bottom of the jar. Elijah went forty days on one barley cake. God can do it. You don’t need ordinary means.
How often in my life, in the absence of ordinary means, has God rained down manna on my Lillian and me. We could give testimony after testimony after testimony. We’re filled with wonder and praise by what He does. Those are some of the principles of His provision. He will meet all your needs; He’ll give you needs. He’ll do it by grace. You don’t deserve it. He’s doing it to test you, to dig deep and make you real, and He’s not in bondage to ordinary means. If that fails, He’s God, and He’ll do it another way.
Let me give a fifth principle of God’s provision illustrated by the manna. His provision is supernaturally natural. I don’t know any event in the Old Testament or even the New Testament that is one miracle so chuck full of many miracles as this manna story. For example, Exodus 16:35, “The sons of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate the manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.” Forty years; that’s a miracle. Every day for forty years; if that’s not a picture of His faithfulness, I don’t know what is. I think it would have been a miracle if it happened once, or once a week or once a month or once a year, but every day for forty years, that’s a mighty miracle.
Exodus 16:19&20, “Moses said to them, ‘Let no man leave any of it until morning.’ But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them.” It was not a miracle that it lasted forty years, but you couldn’t keep it overnight. I tease my Lillian and say, “Here we have a principle from the Lord on leftovers. You can’t keep leftovers or it will turn to worms.” And then she turned that thing around and said, “Well, that means we can have leftovers on Friday.” I didn’t think that was nice of her to do that.
You may think, “How is that a miracle,” because many foods have a short shelf life. But this is different because of verse 22, “Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one.” Verse 24, “They put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. Moses said, ‘Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” Sunday through Thursday only, if you kept it overnight it would turn to worms, but if you kept it overnight on Friday it didn’t turn to worms. You talk about a miracle; this is amazing that God would do this! He did that every weekend every Friday for forty years; that’s two thousand eighty Fridays and He did that over and over and over. Verse 26, “manna fell every day for forty years except on Saturdays.” It didn’t rain manna on Saturdays. Then in verse twelve, “The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.”
Forty years every day manna, manna, manna, except Saturdays; everyday manna was coming. And the one day they taste the land of Canaan and it stops. That’s a miracle. This thing is so full of miracles. It’s a miracle that it would stop so quickly, and then look at verse 33, “Moses said to Aaron, Take a jar and put an overfull of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations.’ As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron place it before the Testimony to be kept.” They took some of it and put it in a jar and now it doesn’t breed worms for generations. This is amazing amazing miracles.
I’m not going to develop it now, but that whole thing, when we get to the tabernacle I’ll talk about it a little more. Remember when the Ark of the Covenant was in the shape of a king’s throne and it just pictured King Jesus sitting on that throne, on that mercy seat. Hebrews 9:3, “Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the table of the covenant.” When we get into the furniture of the tabernacle I’ll expound a little more on that, but did you notice what was in the throne, the Ark? It was the jar of manna, the Ten Commandments, and Aaron’s rod that budded. I like to word it this way and say, “The manna (don’t forget the throne is a picture of King Jesus), the manna, provision is in the Lordship of Christ. Aaron’s rod that budded, that’s life; fruit. It’s in the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Ten Commandments, all I’ll ever need for obedience, is found in the Lordship of Christ. We’ll have some fun when we go through some of that furniture.
For now I want you to see many miracles. It lasted forty years. Sunday through Friday it would breed worms, double supply on Friday, no manna would fall on the Sabbath Day, manna stopped suddenly, manna preserved for generations in the Ark of the Covenant. There were many, many miracles, but I said that God’s provision is supernaturally natural. What do I mean by that last part? The supernatural is easy to see; we can see it right there. Again, Joshua 5:12, “The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land…”
Because the manna ceased that very day, for years based on that and a couple of verses in Deuteronomy and on my own experience, I sort of had a misconception about the manna. My misconception was this. According to Deuteronomy 8:3 it says, “He let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone…” So, I thought manna was a picture of a meager supply. In other words, it didn’t make them fat and didn’t fill them up, but it was enough. So, it’s hand to mouth, hand to mouth, and every day they had to trust the Lord; hand to mouth, hand to mouth, until I get to Canaan and then God is going to dump it on me. Deuteronomy 6:10-11 describes some of the bounty in the land of Canaan, also found in verses 7-10. It’s on the sheet and I won’t read it. The idea is that when I get to Canaan it’s abundant supply. So, God’s provision in manna is just a little bit day by day, so that I’ll learn that man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. You can see where I got that idea.
And there was our experience. We were very poor when we got married. We gave poor a bad name. We were hoping for care packages from third world countries. We were in really bad shape. I’m not going to give you the stories. I have a ton of them, but during those years we learned to trust the Lord. So, that verified what I thought. Manna is just a little bit to see how faithful He is year after year, then once you learn it He dumps Canaan on you. If you were to come to our house, we’ve got stuff everywhere, so much stuff. So, I thought, “Well, we learned to trust the Lord and now we’ve got all this.”
Anyway, that’s what I thought. Some of you got to meet my grandson, Jonathan, and one of the blessings that we had was being able to bounce principles off of him and get his feedback, and he with me. He and his bride, you remember were with us for about two months while his wife, MacKenzie continued her medical training in Berlin, Md. Anyway, it was one of the blessings I had to share some of these things. I told him that manna is a picture of meager supply, and then Canaan is abundance. So, we move from a little bit to trust the Lord, and then when I trust the Lord I get a lot. He checked me on that. He said, “Are you sure that is what is being taught?” I think I see something a little different. No honest person could deny that forty years of manna raining every day is the miracle part, but Jonathan suggested, “That’s obvious that it’s a miracle, but once they got to Canaan the miracle stopped, and now it’s all natural, and now it’s coming from the ground, from the vineyards, from the orchards, and now they’ve got to plant it and harvest it, and it seems so natural now, and it looks like the miracle stopped. But the miracle didn’t stop. Now God is providing naturally, instead of going from little to much, meager to abundance, it went from an obvious miracle to a natural one, in which we might miss the Lord, because it’s natural. He suggested that seeing the Lord work naturally is part of the way He provides.
Let me share the same principle from the New Testament. You remember when our Lord sent out His disciples, Mark 6:8, “and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belt…” They were gone more than several weeks; a couple of months, and some would say up to a year. They had no natural provision; no money, no money belt, no sword, no protection. Luke 22:35-36, “And He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?’ They said, ‘No, nothing.’ And He said to them, ‘But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.” He sent them out without money and said, “I am your provision; trust Me.” He sent them without a sword and said, “I am your protection. Trust Me.” When they came back He said, “How did it go? Did I provide?” They said, “Yeah, it was wonderful. You provided.” “Did I protect you?” “Yes, over and over again.” “Okay, now take the purse back and take the sword back.” That was Peter’s problem before Gethsemane. Peter said, “We have two swords.” This is not in your Bible, just mine, (Ed smacks himself in the forehead). He just hit himself in the forehead. He didn’t get it, and when he took it out, Jesus said, “Put that thing away. You are going to perish with the sword. You miss the point. I am your Protector. I am your Provider.”
Now, which is easier, to see someone trust the Lord when they have no purse, no means, natural means, or to see someone trust the Lord when they have a purse. Jonathan suggested perhaps the first. We get so impressed when we see somebody that doesn’t have a purse and we go, “OOO, aaah, they live by faith; they have no means of income and they have wonderful faith.” That’s easy if you don’t have don’t have a purse. It’s obvious God is going to provide and provide. But I’ll tell you the man that lives by faith is that guy that goes to work and he works eight hours a day and forty hours a week and he comes home and bow his head and says, “I thank you, Lord, for providing.” God’s provision is supernaturally natural. We’ll see many miracles and we’ll say, “Wonderful; supernatural,” but then He’ll provide naturally and sometimes when He provides naturally our temptation is to take our eyes off Him.
I’m going to close with an illustration that I first got from Krumacher that I was so impressed and amazed by. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a miracle up close, but you are about to see one, and I want to show it to you. I have a pot of soil and there’s nothing in it yet. I brought some apple seeds, real honest to goodness apple seeds. I’m going to take two, because one might not be enough to make this fast enough, and I’m going to push it into the soil. I’ve only got a minute here. What’s going to happen in the next minute is you are going to see that apple seed sprout and it’s going to come up, and it’s going to grow into a small tree, and it’s going to have branches, and it’s going to have blossoms, and it’s going to have buds, and it’s actually going to produce little apples. And you are going to see it happen. I’m going to have Mike take an apple and take a bite out of it to prove that it’s real. Pay close attention. Mike, come here; I want your testimony. Tell them what you see there. Tell them the truth. “I see a pot and soil.” He sees a pot of soil.
Brothers and sisters, if that had happened (you know better than that – I hope nobody actually believed me), in a minute, you’d be talking about it for a month. It happens all the time but God stretches it out in seasons and years. You would have said, “What a miracle I saw! Praise God!” You drive by an orchard, how many trees are in the orchard? Do you ever say, “Praise God! What a miracle!” God provides supernaturally naturally. This is the Lord’s provision, and just because it doesn’t happen all at once, sometimes He crowds it in, like when He fed the five thousand. That was His miracle. He had the planting, the harvesting, crushing of the barley, and then he had the cooking of the barley and the making of it, and did it all at once, and we say, “What a miracle.” If He spreads it out over time, sometimes we don’t see the miracle.
All I’m trying to say is that the Lord provides for you. Thank the Lord for His wonderful provision. He’s faithful to provide for everything you need. He will always do it by grace. He’s not in bondage to the ordinary ways of doing things, and His provision is supernaturally natural. When it comes just in an ordinary way don’t miss the Lord. I hope when you drive by an orchard or some field of wheat, that you just remember who it is. We’re not finished with the principles. I’ve got five more principles illustrated by the manna. We’ll pick that up next time.
Father, thank You for Your marvelous provision, that You are our Provider. Forgive us for our grumbling and our groaning and our doubting, and I just pray, Lord, that You would prepare our hearts for all these principles, so we can learn how You guide and how You give a song, and how You are our Provider. Thank You for saving us by power and by blood, so that these might be the benefits in our life. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen