Reading: Psalm 103-105
He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night. They asked, and he brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and water gushed out; like a river it flowed in the desert. Psalm 105:39-42 (NIV)
When God brought his people Israel out of Egypt and into the inhospitable harshness of the desert, the people had absolutely no idea that they were about to enjoy the faithful hospitality of their God. Rather, many of them feared they were about to die. The environment offered them nothing. There was no way they could provide for themselves – there was no food, no water and no protection from the elements. Unless God miraculously provided for them, they would surely die. But God did provide, and in a way that left no one in any doubt: God was looking after them.
I'm used to the idea of providing for myself. I work to earn money and provide for the needs of my family. I have insurance lest something be stolen or damaged. The government provides services to care for me should I become sick or needy. If I'm hungry, I just go to the pantry. I'm certainly grateful for all those things, but I really don't know what it's like to have nothing, to be absolutely dependant on God for everything as the Israelites were.
Yet everything I have comes from God. He is the source of everything I will ever need. If all I depend upon is taken away from me, he will still be my Provider. It's all because of God's wonderful grace. So what can be my response?
Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name. Psalm 105:1
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
Thank you Father that I can trust you. Please continue to provide everything I need. Thank you that I can trust you with my life, and with my family. Thank you for the opportunity to work and earn an income. Thank you for the good things you provide, and for all your blessings to me. I look to you, Lord. May nothing else have a hold on me except the desire to know you more, and enjoy your grace forever.
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:4-5 (NIV)
See also: Jesus Wants Me to Ask!
Reading: Exodus 36:7 – 38
They made the bronze basin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. Exodus 38:8 (NIV)
In the time the Tent of Meeting was being made, mirrors were commonly made from either polished bronze or polished copper. One side of the round metal mirror would be polished bright to give a reflection, and the other side decorated with ornate designs. It seems that despite all the offerings made by the people of Israel for the Tent of Meeting, when it came time to make the wash basin and its stand, there was no bronze available.
It was time to have a quick offering, and the women who were the “servants in the house” provided what was needed. Mirrors were no doubt a valuable commodity for these women, and were perhaps not easily replaced. The call for bronze could have been put out to the wider community, but those close to the need were the ones who provided.
Those closest to a need will in most cases be the best ones to provide help. Whether it be practical help, emotional support, or the provision of money or resources, I need to be ready and willing to give. I can't expect everyone to help, nor should I begrudge having to be the one who provides. There will always be more need than can be met, but I have the unique opportunity to help those in the place God has planted me. If we all did that, what a wonderful place the world could be.
Thank you Lord God that you loved the world so much that you gave your only Son. Help me now to love the world you have placed me in. Help me to hold loosely to my “valuables”, and instead to be generous with my time and my resources in meeting the needs around me.