“Yet they sinned still more against him,
rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
They tested God in their heart
by demanding the food they craved.
They spoke against God, saying,
‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
He struck the rock so that water gushed out
and streams overflowed.
Can he also give bread
or provide meat for his people?’
Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath;
a fire was kindled against Jacob;
his anger rose against Israel,
Because they did not believe in God
and did not trust his saving power.” (Psalm 78:17-22)
Have you ever felt taken for granted or taken advantage of? Have you ever felt like your only purpose in life is to be everyone else’s wishing genie? Do you ever find yourself treating others as if they are nothing more than your provider? Do you find yourself in your prayer time treating God the same way, daily bringing Him your list of demands…uh…requests and little more?
Following the escape from Egypt, God has continually demonstrated His faithfulness and provision to His people. He divided the waters of the Red Sea to allow safe passage on dry land. He guided them with a cloud by day and a pillar fire by night as they trekked across the wilderness. He provided fresh, potable water from dry rock, manna for daily bread, and quail for fresh meat. All of these in an area known for its barren, lifeless existence. And yet, it wasn’t enough to endear the people’s hearts to Him.
God’s provisions for us are always for our good, but His provisions are always for His Kingdom purposes. His provisions for Israel, in spite of their rebellious hearts was for the purpose of sustaining them for the journey ahead across the wilderness of Sin to the Promised Land in keeping with His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But every time God provided, it was just enough for the day and just enough to keep them satisfied until the turned their eyes inwards upon themselves instead of looking forward to their destination.
As long as you keep your eyes upon your own desires and your own needs instead of looking forward to God’s Kingdom needs and His purposes, you will never experience the satisfaction of God’s sufficiency in His grace. As long as we treat Him like He is our slave to order about and give us what we feel we want and need in the moment, we will never appreciate His sovereignty and mercy. God owes you nothing. In fact, we deserve full separation from Him because of our sin. However, because of His great love for us, He chooses to love us more than He hates our sin. He chose to pay the price for our sins in order to redeem us from the grave and eternal punishment that we so richly deserve.
And when we treat His grace and His favor with such disdain and take Him for granted, sooner or later that provision will dry up. Sooner or later, His wrath will be poured out in discipline in an effort to draw you into the relationship that He has longed for all this time. When we take His grace for granted, we are saying that we do not believe His word to be sufficient and that His wisdom in not enough to save us. So we tend to bring Him our list of demands that would appease our own selfish conscience because we trust more in our own wisdom than in His word and His saving power.
Humility is the key because when we humble ourselves before our sovereign God, we recognize our place and magnify His. We take ourselves off the throne and recognize that only He has the right to sit upon it. Too often we act like God has us sitting on His throne to keep it warm for Him, when in fact He never leaves it. He is always on His throne and in His holy temple with the whole train of His robe filling the temple with His holiness.
Holiness in us is the power of the Holy Spirit reminding us of who He is and who we are in relation to Him. We would do good to remember that He is the giver and taker of all life. The only thing in Scripture that we are ever called to fear is the Lord and His wrath. And when does His wrath burn the most? When His people misuse, abuse, twist, and manipulate His word for their own twisted purposes in order to take advantage of others and to try to take advantage of Him.
We must view Scripture through the lens of humility, trusting His word to be sufficient to meet our every need. We must examine His word in light of His wisdom rather than our own. As His children, we must learn to trust His provision to be sufficient to meet our needs for His Kingdom purposes to His glory rather than our own. Once we then recognize His sufficiency to provide through the power of His word, then we recognize that He is our sufficiency to look forward to the Promised Land of grace eternal.