Tag Archives: God’s provision

Isaiah 60:1-10

Scripture: from verse 4

Lift up your eyes all around, and see;
    they all gather together, they come to you

Observation: I am not a go-getter.  I am not good at hustling up new leads, new opportunities, new people.  And sometimes (frequently) I worry that God wants me to come up with these things somehow.  I worry that if God is calling me to write this blog or paint a prophetic painting or give a teaching, then it is also my job to promote myself and find my venue and my audience on my own power.  Which is a scary thing to think, because I’m not capable of that – at least, not without investing tremendous amounts of time and emotional energy that would be better spent in writing or painting or teaching or whatever my actual calling is.

But God says that people will come to us.  That people will flow in, and bring their resources and their abilities to help.  That the things I cannot do will be done by someone else, who does not consider them worrisome or difficult.  While this is a logical plan, it’s easy enough to forget.

And all we have to do is lift up our eyes and see them.  It reminds me of the story of Elisha and the army of fire (2 Kings 6), when God had already sent a mighty army to protect Elisha, but He also had to open their eyes to see it.  God’s power already surrounds me.  I just can’t quite see it yet.

Application: Ask God what tasks you’ve been worrying about that aren’t yours in the first place.  And ask Him to open your eyes to see His power.

Prayer:  Yeshua, I thank you that you have redeemed me.  I thank you that you made me who I am and surrounded me with everything I need.  Help me to trust your provision for the things I think I lack.  Amen.

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Isaiah 59:1-10

Scripture: from verse 6

Their webs will not serve as clothing…

Observation:  Humans are just spectacular at producing things that aren’t as useful or as important as we think they are, aren’t we?  Admittedly in this case I think the webs are meant to ensnare others rather than clothe the person spinning them, but it doesn’t sound like that will work out very well either.

Sometimes I get discouraged and impatient, feeling that I need to be doing something to make things happen, not just waiting for God to tell me what to do.  And then I get reminded that we’re terrible at doing things.  I could spin all sorts of webs for all sorts of purposes, but I wouldn’t accomplish anything besides making myself dizzy.  Much better (though not easier) to wait for the true path.

Application: Talk to God.  Every day.

Prayer: Lord, I praise you because you are able to provide real covering and real food.  Thank you for being my hiding place.  Help me to trust you.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:1-5

Scripture: from verse 3

…listen well, that your soul may live.

Observation:  This passage is an open invitation from God: whatever our needs, we should come to God and be satisfied.  He offers us food and drink “without money and without cost.” He asks only that we come and receive.

I’m trying to learn to be quiet and listen to God more.  We’re so quick to rely on our own understanding, and I never seem to remember to ask God for His plan before coming up with my own.  It causes a ridiculous amount of unneeded stress.  I need to listen, because when I listen, I find rest for my soul.

Application:  Listen well.

Prayer:  Lord, I thank you for your offer of goodness.  Thank you for sharing answers as fast as I remember to ask for them.  Please help me to come to you before my soul gets tired.  Amen.

Isaiah 54:1-3

Scripture: from verse 3

…your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.

Observation: Isaiah 53 covered Yeshua’s death, and now God gets to talk about the redemption of His people.  I gather it makes Him happy.

He begins by promising that those who have no families will have families, that we will spread and grow and sing for joy together.  What struck me here is the promise to people the desolate cities.

Cities don’t (usually) become desolate at random.  A deserted city represents the failure of some venture, or the inability to adjust to new innovation.  In the 60s, Detroit churned out cars with the expectation that every family would replace their car every two years.  When the economy shifted and buying patterns changed and foreign manufacture improved, Detroit began to get smaller and smaller.  And not every deserted place is a city: Borders went out of business a few years ago, when it couldn’t adapt to the online marketplace, and that guy who started a company that mails glitter to your enemies couldn’t keep up with demand and sold his website, and Kickstarters fail every day because the product didn’t generate enough interest.  Ventures fail.  Circumstances change.

But God’s redeemed will occupy the deserted cities.  God is the Source of Sources, and He can provide the inspiration or innovation or chance meeting or extra funding or whatever it takes to make a failed venture succeed.  God can make the desert bloom.

Application:  I can think of several possible things to put here, but none of them feel right.  So I won’t.

Prayer: God, I praise you because you can see what makes a thing fail and what makes it succeed.  I praise you because your resources are infinite.  Thank you for preparing a place for me.  Help me to walk in your plan.

Isaiah 41:17-29

Scripture: verse 18

I will open rivers on the bare heights…

Observation:  God is promising to meet His people’s needs: when the poor are without water, they will call on Him and He will create abundant water for them.

I sometimes wonder how God would change His messages for people from different cultures.  I frequently get words for people about sitting in God’s sunshine, but would that change to shade or a cool breeze if I prayed for someone from Africa?  I haven’t prayed for enough people from tropical climates to know, but it seems likely.

The point is that God already has abundant provision for us.  All we have to do is ask.

Application:  Ask for what you need.

Prayer:  Father, I praise you because you put the reserves of water in the Earth, and you know where they are and you can shape them and direct them in any way you want.  You can sculpt my climate to be exactly what I need.  Thank you for providing for me.  Help me to ask you when I need things instead of just worrying.  Amen.

Isaiah 28

Scripture: verses 5 and 6

On that day, AdonaiTzva’ot [Lord of Hosts]
will be a glorious crown, a brilliant diadem
for the remnant of his people.
He will also be a spirit of justice
for whoever sits as a judge,
and a source of strength for those
repelling enemy attacks at the gate.

Observation:  God is beauty and glory and wealth for the people who have turned to Him after lots of war and hardship and desolation.  They have no dignity left, so He is their dignity for them.  At the same time, He is also Justice and Wisdom for those who are making hard decisions, and Strength for those who are fighting a hard fight.

In other words, when we turn to Him, He is exactly what we need.

He is rest when we are tired and wisdom when we are confused and direction when we are lost and beauty and interest when we are bored.  We tend to assume that God is good at fixing a certain set of problems, but that for some things we’re on our own.  But just because God is propping up the entire universe doesn’t mean He can’t also take the time to help me figure out how to teach my daughters to share their toys.  (Not that I’ve succeeded in that one, but I think we’re getting better.  At least a bit.)

Praying about everything isn’t a cop-out.  It isn’t a way of dodging the real issue or hiding my head in the sand.  (Well, I suppose it might be, if I’m also avoiding doing what I know I’m supposed to do.)  It’s the best and most reliable course of action.  For everything.

Application:  What haven’t you asked Him about yet?

Prayer:  Yeshua, I praise you because you are everything to everyone.  Your identity is not limited to one set of attributes or problems.  Thank you for providing for all of my needs.  Help me to see where I haven’t asked for help yet, and to turn to you.  Amen.

Isaiah 25:1-5

Scripture: verse 4

For You have been a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in distress,
shelter from the storm,
shade from the heat —
for the blast from the ruthless
was like a storm that could destroy a wall.

Observation:  Finally a happy chapter!!  Most of this chapter is a song of praise to the Lord.  Makes a nice break from all the doom.

Something I read yesterday was talking about the aftermath of big tropical storms – houses are gone, streets are gone, maps don’t work, the infrastructure is broken, etc.  Isaiah says that the actions of the wicked and powerful are like a tropical storm, and their victims wake up to find their entire lives just gone.

But God is our shelter.  God is the one who provides a home to those who have none, who knows exactly where we are and where we are going even when our maps don’t work, who can navigate the ever-changing order of authority because He is Order and He is Authority.  God fills in for everything we lack, because He was always our Source to begin with.

Application:  Trust God to provide for you.  He already does.

Prayer:  Father, I praise you because you are the Source of everything around me – order and shelter and family and life.  Thank you for giving me everything I need.  Help me to remember to turn to you for help and shelter when I need it, instead of trying to struggle through on my own.  Amen.

Isaiah 23

Scripture: from verse 18

[Tyre’s] merchandise and profits will be dedicated to Adonai; they will not be stored up or hoarded…

Observation:  This chapter was a prediction of destruction for Tyre, a major crossroads and port, for the usual pride and rebellion.  God promises at the end that Tyre will be restored as a prosperous port city, but it will be dedicated to the Lord instead of only thinking about itself.

There’s always an inclination to hoard what we have, whether it’s time or energy or money or art supplies.  Seeing the pile of surplus makes us feel safer.  But we aren’t safer: none of these things are likely to stick around if we just try to hang onto them, and God was the one keeping us safe in the first place.

I mention art supplies because I do this all the time.  I never want to use the last bit of a paint or pretty paper, because what if I never get it again?  What if I waste it?  What if I ruin it?  It’s just paint, but you wouldn’t know it from the tizzy my brain gets into.  When I did art swapping and people would include cool little cards and papers and buttons as “extras” to use in future artworks, I had to throw them out right away or I would be miserable.  Because there was only one of each thing, so I could never use any of them.  Never.  I might make something ugly, after all, and then they’d be wasted.  I think I still have a drawer of stuff I collected and couldn’t use before I realized it was a problem and started pitching them or passing them on in the next swap.

This isn’t a healthy mindset, but I know I’m not alone in it.  We keep things.  In fact, studies show that losing something makes us 2.5 times sadder than getting it made us happy in the first place.  It’s called loss aversion.  It’s crazy, but humans are crazy.

And here God shows us the way out: dedicate what we have to God.  If it’s His stuff, we don’t have to worry about wasting it.  He’ll help us manage it wisely.  And if it’s His stuff, we don’t need to worry about running out.  He’s got plenty more.  Living without fear means not hoarding what we have.

Application: Dedicate what you have to God.  Let Him take care of you.

Prayer:  Father, I praise you for being the Source of Sources, abundantly able to provide whatever I need.  Thank you for giving me everything I need and plenty of things that I want.  Help me to treat the things I have as yours, so that I can share them and invest them freely.  Amen.

Isaiah 14:18-32

Scripture: verse 32

And what is one to answer
the messengers of the nation?
That Adonai founded Zion,
and there the poor of his people will find refuge.

Observation:  We have switched from the doom of Babylon to the doom of the Philistines.  They aren’t all that different, apparently.  The prophet is warning them not to assume they’re in the clear because the current king of Israel has died.  Once God decides a nation is His enemy, they are pretty doomed no matter what happens.

But God will always be a refuge for those who need Him.  Even in the middle of dealing out death and destruction, God remembers to provide for His people.  The poor and weak and needy get food and comfort and strength, because God is big enough to care for them in the midst of battle.

God is big enough to be both Father and Mother to us.  (I’m not trying to get into a discussion of God’s gender here, or about human gender roles.  I’m just trying to get the right image.)  He’s big enough to fight and win.  He’s big enough to work and create and make things grow.  And He’s big enough to love and nourish and comfort and teach.  All at the same time, without getting confused or distracted or letting the emotions from one activity bleed into the others.

I tend to think of God as having a huge brain – tracking all the raindrops and holding the universe together and so on.  But His heart is just as huge and just as able to take care of me.

Application:  Trust Him to be what you need, when you need it.

Prayer:  Father, forgive me for underestimating you.  I’m sure I’m still doing it, of course, but thank you for helping me get a bigger and clearer idea of you as I learn.  Help me to trust you with my heart, and to run to you for shelter.  Amen.

Isaiah 12

Scripture: verse 3

Then you will joyfully draw water
from the springs of salvation.

Observation:  When we turn to the Lord, we rejoice, saying that God makes us confident and unafraid and that He “has become” our salvation.  We draw water (life, refreshment, energy, sustenance) from the wells of salvation.

The question, of course, is why we weren’t drawing water from the springs of salvation before that.  God doesn’t change.  He was there all along, and His salvation was there all along.  The water was available, and the water was necessary – we just weren’t drinking it.

I’m quite certain that there are places in my life that need God’s water and aren’t getting it.  Places where I still think I know best, or where another source seems easier, or where I’ve just forgotten that God cares and has life for me.  Blind spots.  I need to ask God to show them to me, so I can get them watered.

Application:  Turn to the Lord.  Ask Him for water.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for loving me.  Thank you for providing the springs of salvation, so I can live and grow.  Help me to see the places of my life where I am ignoring your provision, and help me to turn to you for help.  Amen.