Revive Us - Part 4
Revive Us as Our Provider
It was a warm summer’s evening in 1968. My folks had been divorced for over a year, I was seven years old, old enough to know we were in trouble. My mother, my sister and I had been trying to survive in a single run-down hotel room on the wrong side of town for a number of months while Mom tried desperately to make ends meet. A single mother raising two kids (6 and 7 years old) is hard in anyone’s books. Add to that the harsh demands of poverty and life becomes unforgivingly difficult.
That particular evening Mom had called us to the supper table - and I knew that we were all out of food, and all out of money to buy any with.
We bowed our heads to pray - and I wondered how Mom was going to do this. She thanked God for His faithfulness and for the food we were about to eat. I was watching Mom. Where was she going to pull the food from? How could she be thanking God for food we did not have? Why were we sitting down at the table when there was noting on the table? It was awkward, but I knew enough not to say anything - just to watch.
But I was watching in the wrong direction. I was looking at Mom, but Mom was looking to God. Mom had grown up in a home that knew God as Yahweh Jireh - Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides. When Mom was a child during the depression, her mother had sat at an empty table like ours and thanked God for the food. And just then a local farmer had arrived with a bag of flour and a basket of veggies, some milk and a few other things. You see, Mom had grown up believing that God is a faithful God - and had many, many times in her life seen God provide their needs in miraculous ways. So there we were - I was looking at Mom, and Mom was looking to God. "Amen" Mom said at the end of the prayer - I looked at Mom - nothing. I looked at the empty table and the empty table was still the empty table.
But just then there was a knock on the door - Mom got up to answer it - and would you believe it, a couple from our church was there. God had laid on his and his wife’s hearts to put together a huge basket of fruit and veggies and other food stuffs - and to bring it to us, and wanted to know if that would be all right with us.
We are studying our way through a mini-series entitled "Revive Us."
Psalm 9:10 tells us that ". . . those who know Your Name will put their trust in you!" Speaking of this verse C.H. Spurgeon notes that "Ignorance is worst when it amounts to ignorance of God, and knowledge is best when it exercises itself upon the Name of God."
By ‘knowledge’ we are not referring simply to that intellectual appreciation that comes from diligent study, but to that ‘knowing’ that comes from personal intimacy.
You see my friend, your walk with God will rise no higher than your knowledge of God.
The better you know God the more you will seek Him.
The better you know God the more you will trust Him.
The better you know God the more you will obey Him.
The better you know God the more you will be available to be used by Him.
That is why Daniel says [11:32b] "The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits."
Are you ready to know God better?
Are you ready to be strong and do mighty exploits?
If you want to trust God and be used by God, get to know God by Name.
So far we have looked at two names of God - "Revive Us as Our Shepherd" and "Revive Us as Our Righteousness." Our title this week is "Revive Us as Our Provider."
Please open your Bibles with me to the book of Genesis, Genesis and the 22nd chapter. At age of 75, Abraham was enrolled in God’s ‘School of Faith’ - and God was taking him places he had never been before.
Genesis 22:1-14a - Read - Pray
I want to give you four profound truths that will help us know God as Yahweh-Jireh.
1. The Promise of Provision
Here what I want us to get about the provision of God - it is promised, and it is promised all over the Bible. It is promised through instruction. It is promised through illustration. It is promised in the Old and the New Testaments.
"And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
Somebody say ‘shall.’
Somebody say ‘all.’
The Israelites learnt this when they were out in the middle of the desert and there wasn’t anything to eat. Yahweh-Jireh miraculously provided manna and quail.
Joseph understood this at a macro level when the nation of Egypt was about to enter into a seven-year famine. He knew the promises of God.
1 John 5:14-15 "This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him."
Our confidence is based on the promise of God.
Abraham knew this as he separated himself and his son from the rest of the group and wound their way up that old mountain pass. There were two promises he was counting on - the first was that God was faithful and He would provide. The second was that this boy had a future - because from him were the nations to come.
The Promise of Provision
Please notice secondly with me you will . . .
2. The Place of Provision
How many of you understand that there is a place of provision? While Jonah was on the run from God, he had to pay his own way. The Bible says that he ‘paid the faire and boarded a ship bound for Tarshish.’ But getting back was on God’s ticket. God told Elijah to head to the Cherith Ravine, and there he would drink at God’s brook, and there God’s ravens would bring him food. If he had gone to another ravine, he would have missed the provision of God.
Why? Because there is a Place of Provision. I want to show you from our Abraham account how best to position yourself for the provision of God.
The Context of Sacrificial Worship
Is there a price tag on your worship? For Abraham the cost was his son. Some folks get their worship at the dollar store. Now don’t tune me out because you may not like what I am going to say. Let me tell you about the worship you can get at the dollar store.
You can get Conditional Worship at the dollar store.
You can get Conceited Worship at the dollar store.
You can get Confused Worship at the dollar store.
You can get Constrained Worship at the dollar store.
You can get Contradictory Worship at the dollar store.
You can get Contrived Worship at the dollar store.
You can get Convenient Worship at the dollar store.
Too many people have a form of worship that costs them nothing but a few minutes on a Sunday morning. And even then worship is a spectator sport, a reluctant concession. If you want to grab the heart of God, get real with your worship. Many find it easy to sacrifice for many other things - like work, and sport, and things they want. And when they have need they would love for others to sacrifice for them. But you know what - they find it hard to sacrifice for worship and they find it hard to sacrifice for others and they find it hard to sacrifice for God. They only get involved in ministry that is low cost/low commitment - and they only tithe when they can afford it. If they get involved in a high cost ministry you best have somebody else in the wings, because they will drop it after not very long.
I see other folks and I watch them worship, I watch them get involved in the children’s ministry, and the youth ministry, and the clean-up ministry. They remind me of my worship hero in the Bible - David.
1 Chron. 21:24 "For I will not offer to the Lord that which cost me nothing."
Rom. 12:1 "Offer your bodies as living sacrifices to God which is your spiritual act of worship."
Do you want to find the context of sacrificial worship? Go deep - go real - go for broke. Make that commitment.
The Act of Aggressive Obedience
Watch this - sometimes when you worship God will ask you to lay your promise down. He did to Abraham. Isaac was his child of love and his child of promise - and God told him to lay it down.
You say to me, ‘Preacher, would God really ask you to lay the life of your son down as an act of obedience?’ Why sure He would. He laid down the life of His Son - He would not ask you to do something He has not already done. Beside - when we send our boys in uniform into a war zone - isn’t that exactly what we are doing?
Sometimes God’s call seems very, very costly - and there are a 1000 reasons why you should not obey. But you know what - that is ‘the place’ God has for you.
Here’s the principle - the deeper your commitment to obedience, the greater your experience of provision.
Abraham’s obedience response was staggering! He gave instant, unquestioning, unqualified obedience. He even got an early start! The Bible says that he rose up early to do it.
Listen to me precious believer - get an early start to obedience.
To fear God means to reverence Him as sovereign, trust Him implicitly, and obey Him without question.
The Expression of Absolute Faith
Gen. 22:5 "We will worship and return to you."
Gen. 22:8 "God will provide for Himself the lamb."
Heb. 11:17, 19 "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son . . . He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead . . ."
Abraham, when he raised that knife, declared for all of history to see that believed God even when everything else made no sense.
When tested - Abraham chose to believe His faith not his fears or his doubts. He chose to speak his faith to his son and his servants, not his fears or his doubts.
Precious believer - let me tell you about the Place of Provision.
It is the Context of Sacrificial Worship
it is the Act of Aggressive Obedience
It is the Expression of Absolute Faith
Would you notice thirdly and lastly with me this morning . . .
The Promise of Provision
The Place of Provision
3. The Purpose of Provision
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself about why God meets your needs? Is it because He loves you? Why sure it is! Is there more? I believe so.
I would suggest there are four purposes to God supplying your need! Four purposes to the provision of God. We get so caught up on the first one that we sometimes loose out on three quarters of what God is wanting to accomplish.
The purpose of God’s provision is to Meet Your Need
The purpose of God’s provision is to Grow Your Faith
The purpose of God’s provision is to Empower Your Ministry
The purpose of God’s provision is to Inspire Your Worship
So let me ask you this morning as we close - do you know this God? Do you know that God whose name is Yahweh-Jireh?
If you know Him I want to encourage you. If the Father gave you His Son, says Romans, how much more will He not give all things to those who ask of Him?
Paul knew Him and was able to testify that "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus."
Jesus knew Him better than anyone. He said "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over." Luke 6:38
May I ask you again - do you know Him? He wants to know you. He is full of promise - He has what you need - and He is waiting for you right now. Where?
In the Context of Sacrificial Worship, the Act of Aggressive Obedience, and the Expression of Absolute Faith. Will you pray with me please?
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