Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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His Loving Provision of Food

Dannah Gresh: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds us that sometimes God provides for our needs in some unexpected ways. 

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: God can still send ravens with food. God can still use poor, needy, destitute widows to provide for the needs of His servants. I think a lot of times we don’t see the power of God at work on our behalf because we’re not willing to be out in those extenuating circumstances where, if God doesn’t come through, we’re gonna die!

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of Seeking Him, for November 24, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh. 

What are some ways God has provided for you? Today we’re going to go back to the beginning of Creation to see how God provided food for His people . . . and how He still provides.

Even though Nancy recorded this before COVID-19 had hit the United States hard, it’s still just as true and relevant. Today Nancy starts with a hymn. 

Let us, with a gladsome mind,
Praise the Lord, for He is kind:
For His mercies aye endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

(“Let Us with a Gladsome Mind” by John Milton)

Nancy: So, that’s probably not the kind of music you’re accustomed to hearing on Revive Our Hearts—maybe not in your church; probably not in your church. You may have found the lyrics a little difficult to understand. 

Those words were written by the British poet John Milton, the first of twenty-four stanzas he wrote paraphrasing Psalm 136. He wrote those lines when he was fifteen years old and a student at Cambridge University.

That first stanza we just listened to says, “Let us, with a gladsome mind, praise the Lord, for He is kind. For His mercies [shall] endure, ever faithful, ever sure.” So every one of those twenty-four stanzas of the song end with that same refrain: “For His mercies [shall] endure, ever faithful, ever sure.

We’ve been looking at Psalm 136. We’re coming to the end of this series, and I want to invite you to turn to that passage in your Bible or scroll there on your phone, if you’re where you can do that. I always love for you to see the Scripture for yourself, and not just to take my word for what it says, but for your eyes to behold.

What a blessing it is for us to have Bibles we can hold and look at on our phones! So look, if you will, at Psalm 136. The refrain we’ve just heard from John Milton is based on that first verse of that psalm: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

That’s the phrase that is repeated in each of the twenty-six verses in Psalm 136 . . . that steadfast love. We’ve talked about it. It’s the hesed, the covenant-keeping, faithful, loyal love of God for His people. And throughout Psalm 136, over these last days, we’ve been getting this panoramic overview of Old Testament redemptive history. 

From Creation to the Exodus to the conquest of the Promised Land, God took His people out of slavery, led them through those forty years of wilderness wandering, and then He took them into the Promised Land and overcame the obstacles they still had to face—because once you get to the Promised Land, it’s not all peaches and cream, or as they say in the Old Testament, “milk and honey.” There are battles, there are enemies, there is opposition, there is Jericho, there are big walls, there are mighty kings, there are pagan people who do not want the people of God there.

As God went through these seasons with His people, as He led them through all those seasons, all those scenes showcase the steadfast hesed love of God for His people. And so the psalmist says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!”

Today we come to verse 23, and I want us to read that short paragraph, Psalm 136:23–25.

[Give thanks to the Lord] It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
[Give thanks to the Lord] he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever. 

And we’re going to stop there. 

There is one verse left in this psalm, but today we want to park on that verse 25: “He who gives food to all flesh.” When Milton got to those verses, here’s how he paraphrased them: 

All our wants He doth supply,
Loves to hear our humble cry;
For His mercies shall endure, 
Ever faithful, ever sure.

All things living He doth feed,
His full hands supplied their need,
for His mercies shall endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure. 

Now, thus far in our journey through Psalm 136 we’ve seen that God is a mighty God, He’s a God of justice and judgment. He’s a God who strikes down kings.

He killed the firstborn of the sons of Egypt. He sends judgment for those who refuse to repent, who rebel against Him. We’ve also seen that He is a tender God; He’s a compassionate God. He remembered us in our low estate, our humiliation. And now we see He’s a good God who gives food to every creature.

God provided for His people back then. He preserved them back then; He met their needs. But He provides for us. He preserves us. He meets our needs! The Creator of the world (just think about this for a moment) feeds all His creatures as an expression of His steadfast love!

You know, God could have made this world and just flung it into space and said, “Okay, you guys are on your own now. You go figure this out. You survive!” But no, God who made this world tenderly, carefully, generously, faithfully, wisely feeds all His creatures that He has made.

I want to give you some snapshots through Scripture. I just started thinking one day in the last couple of weeks about the different places in Scripture where God provided food for people in need. I want to share these, because I think it will encourage you. 

You may not have any doubt about where dinner is coming from tonight, but there may be some other needs you have. Or you may have friends, or you may know of people in parts of the world where they don’t know where dinner is coming from tonight, and the fact that God meets this most basic need for food. He created us to need food, but then He provides the food we need. This gives us faith to trust God for His provision for every area of need.

So going all the way back to the Garden of Eden; we see this in Genesis chapter 1. God says in verse 11: “Let the earth sprout vegetation.” Remember when God made the earth, He made the heavens and the earth. He’s making light. He’s making sun, moon and stars. We read about all of this in Psalm 136.

But remember, He’s making the earth for a purpose. He’s making it for man and for woman. He’s making an atmosphere, an environment, that is hospitable and conducive to not only surviving, but life thriving. God was making plans. He was making preparation for our need for food to be met.

So God said,

“Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Gen. 1:11–12).

Of course it was. Remember, we’ve been reading, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is . . . [ladies respond] good! His steadfast love endures forever!” So God prepared this earth. Before He’d ever created Adam or Eve, He was preparing this earth to be able to meet their needs.

In verses 15 and 16 of Genesis chapter 2, 

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden.” 

So give thanks to the Lord, He who gives food to all flesh, for His steadfast love endures forever.

And then you advance to Genesis chapter 6, verse 21, and you see God speaking to Noah before the flood. And God says, 

Take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them. 

What’s the “them”? The animals. God provided food for the animals.

My husband will tell you that I’m not a huge animal lover. I grew up without pets. I don’t hate them or do ugly things to them, but it’s just not my thing. And so, this is something that really blesses me. To me, I don’t really think of animals as pets or friends or family members. (I’m sorry, I’m going to get some letters on that, I know!)

But to think that God made provision and took thought and took care for what those animals would eat while they were in the ark. God was planning ahead, preparing for them. “Give thanks to the Lord, He who gives food to all flesh, for His steadfast love endures forever!”

We see this theme of God caring for the animals through the Scripture. Psalm 104:10–11, 21, 

You make springs gush forth in the valleys . . . they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst . . . The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God.

You think of the wild animal kingdom and how certain animals eat other animals, and those animals eat other things, and there’s this kind of chain. And yet, the Scripture says in some way they are seeking their food from God, because they know if it weren’t for God, they would have nothing to eat.

This is not just a naturalistic, “The world is out there running on its own.” God is over this earth, superintending, providing, being gracious. “These all look to you [these animals], to give them their food in due season” (v. 27). What’s “due season?” It’s when you need it. Not always before, but never late. 

When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. (Ps. 104:27)

How many verses was that? Five, I just read about God feeding animals. How kind is He, how good is He? “Give thanks to the Lord, He who gives food to all flesh, for His steadfast love endures forever!

That was before the flood. After the flood in Genesis chapter 9, verse 3, God says, 

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.

God was changing the diet. (We could go into all of that; we won’t.) But what was God thinking about after they came off that ark? He was thinking about what they would eat. He was letting them know that He had made provision. 

It wasn’t up to the man and woman, Noah and his wife and their kids and their wives and their kids, it wasn’t up to them to figure out for themselves how they were going to eat, what they were going to eat. Now, they had to work, but God was their Provider. They were not their own provider.

So, give thanks to the Lord, He who gives food to all flesh, for His steadfast love endures forever! 

Well, then you come to the Red Sea crossing in Exodus chapter 16, verse 2. The Scripture tells us, 

The whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full [I think they forgot how miserable it was in Egypt! But they were thinking back to the food they’d had] for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (vv. 2–3). 

They accused Moses and Aaron of not being able to meet their needs, not being out for their best interest. But who were they really accusing? They were saying to God, “You don’t care! You’re not providing for us! We want to go back to Egypt where we had incredible food!”

They weren’t talking about the incredible food they had when Moses got there and they were groaning under the weight and the burden of their slavery. They were like, “Let us out of here!” But then, they got out of there and it was, “What are going to eat? What are we going to eat!?”

You have some kids like this, right? “What are we going to eat, Mom? What are we going to eat?!” You’re like, “You just had a meal!” I can remember my dad saying to my mom one time after we’d just had breakfast, “What’s for dinner?”

And I can remember, I hear my mom saying, “Honey, have I ever not had dinner? Have you ever had to go without dinner?” Now, it was a sweet exchange between them, but it’s just a reminder of the way we are. “What are we going to eat next?” And God’s saying, “Have I ever not fed you?”

Now, there’s work, there’s preparation. We do have labor and toil because of sin in order to get that food. But when you go back, you realize it is God who provides. And so the people are saying, “What are we going to eat? What are we going to eat?”

And then, the Lord says to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven” (Ex. 16:4). No Meijer, no Martin’s, no Piggly Wiggly—whatever it is where you live. God says, “I’m going to rain bread from heaven for you.” How incredible is that?! God can do whatever He wants to do, and He will do whatever He needs to do to provide the food that His people need, if we will just trust Him.

This is His steadfast love. “I’m about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day” (v. 4). He was saying, “I’m not going to do this just once; I’m going to do this every day!”

I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat [that was another story], and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground.

When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.” (vv. 12–15)

Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat. The people of Israel ate the manna how long? Forty years. Until when? Until they came to a habitable land.

They ate the manna til they came to the border of the land of Canaan. How long did God rain bread from heaven? As long as they needed it, and not a day longer. When they got to the land that day, the manna stopped. Give thanks to the Lord, He who gives food to all flesh, for His steadfast love endures forever.

You’re not convinced yet? First Kings chapter 17: God told his prophet Elijah to tell the wicked King Ahab that there would be a drought which would result in a great famine for three years, but God made provision for His faithful servant.

The word of the Lord came to him: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook.” (1 Kings 17:2–3)

Remember, there was going to be a drought? No rainfall, no water. But there was water in the brook.

“And I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.’” (v. 3) One time God rains bread from heaven for His people; the next time you see Him, He’s commanding ravens to come and bring food to His faithful prophet!

So [Elijah] went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening. (vv. 3–6)

God didn’t just say, “Oh, here’s a stockpile of food; now you’re on your own. You make this last for the three years.”

No, every morning, every evening—bread and meat, bread and meat, bread and meat, morning and evening, morning and evening. “All I have needed Thy hand hath provided; great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!”

Elijah drank from the brook. Give thanks to the Lord, He who gives food to all flesh . . . why? . . . for His steadfast love endures forever! 

Well, that lasted for a while, but the passage goes on to say after a while the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land.

“Then the word of the Lord came to him.” Now, the Lord didn’t tell him this until he needed it. The Lord didn’t say in advance, “And when the brook dries up, here’s what is going to happen.” No, first the brook dried up and then the Lord came to Elijah and said . . .

“Arise, go to Zarephath . . . and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you” (vv. 8–9). 

God uses the most unexpected means, unexpected ways, to provide for His children! Sometimes I wonder, whether it’s literal food or other needs that we have—physical needs, spiritual needs—how much more we would see God do in the realm of the supernatural if we were willing to get to the place where we have no way to meet our needs other than God. 

But what happens? We’re not willing to be at the edge there, for the brook to dry up. We’re going to fix it; we’re going to manipulate it; we’re going to make circumstances work for ourselves; we’re going to provide our own daily bread.

But no, Jesus said pray, “God, Father, our Father in Heaven . . . Give us [You give us!] this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). That says we’re dependent, we’re needy, we can’t do this on our own. But we scrape and strive and we try. We’ve got to prove ourselves. So we get another job, or we get into the kind of a job that doesn’t honor the Lord or we don’t trust the Lord. We get into circumstances that are not honoring to the Lord. And God says, “What if you trusted? What if you had been willing to wait?” God can still send ravens with food. God can still use poor, needy, destitute widows to provide for the needs of His servants. 

I think a lot of times we don’t see the power of God at work on our behalf because we’re not willing to be out in those extenuating circumstances where, if God doesn’t come through, we’re gonna die. But when we get to that place and we’ve obeyed the Lord, we have followed Him, we’ve gone to where He said to go, we’ve looked to Him for provision, we can trust that God is going to meet our need. 

That’s true of you. It’s true in your marriage. It’s true in your family . . . and not just financial and physical provision. As a ministry here at Revive Our Hearts, many times have we seen God supply in, what seemed to us, like the nick of time! So many stories!

I don’t want to ever forget those stories. We get to the end of the month, we get to the end of the fiscal year, we get to the end of the calendar year (that’s coming up here at the end of December), and we say, “What are we going to do? There is still so much needed!” 

And God says, “Ask for your daily bread. Trust me, and let me do the impossible. Let me do the miraculous.” 

Well, God said to Elijah, “I’m going to provide a widow to feed you.” “So [Elijah] arose and went to Zarephath.” (v. 10) And you remember how he found this widow; she was eking out an existence—barely subsisting—for her and her son.

And, kind of brazenly, he asked her to give him some bread to eat. 

And the widow said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” (v. 12)

This is the bottom of the barrel! There’s no provision!

Who is going to care for a widow in the land of Israel, especially when nobody else has food, when there’s this famine, when there’s this drought?

And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear [do not fear!]; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son.” (v. 13)

This is craziness . . . if you’re not living in God’s economy. 

For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.” And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days.

The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah. (vv. 14–16)

Give thanks to the Lord, He who gives food to all flesh, for His steadfast love endures forever!

I look at these stories and others that we could talk about in the Scripture, and I am reminded that we are totally dependent on Him. You may have a great job, you may have a good income, your parents may have been wealthy and left you a lot of money, but you are still dependent on the Lord! 

We have to have food to live; we can’t survive without it. God made us that way. But God is the One who gives food to all flesh. Food is a gift from God. It’s an expression His steadfast, faithful, covenant-keeping, hesed love. I look at these stories, and I’m reminded that we can trust that He will meet our needs in due season. Even as He meets the needs of those animals who go to God looking for their food. 

I’m reminded also that we owe God thanks. That’s what this psalm says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He gives food to all flesh.” We owe Him thanks for the provision of our basic daily needs.

Giving thanks to the Lord . . . I was freshly convicted of this as I was studying this passage. Thanking the Lord for our food before we eat is not just a mere formality, it’s not just a routine we go through. If it were not for Him, we would have nothing to eat. We would be starving! And the physical food is a reminder that we need far more than that, and He supplies and sustains us in our every need. 

So we owe Him thanks. Giving thanks to God for even the most basic provision of meals and snacks and apples and peanut butter and just the good fruits and foods and things that He’s created for our enjoyment. Giving thanks to God for these things, I think, is a means of cultivating a heart of contentment, realizing that God gives us enough, and learning to be satisfied with what God gives, and not always craving more. 

That’s when the Israelites got in trouble, when they said, “We’re tired of this manna! We want something different!” They weren’t content because they weren’t thankful. If you’re thankful, you’ll be content. 

Do we recognize in the provision of daily food—our daily needs, health, and strength—do we recognize in that provision the goodness and the love of God? And are we truly thankful? Do we feel thankful, do we give thanks? “Give thanks to the Lord, He who gives food to all flesh, for His steadfast love endures forever!”

And, oh Lord, how we thank You for Your amazing mercy and love and grace! Just this one verse reminds us that You meet our needs. You provide for us. It’s not our job that provides for us, it’s not our husband’s job that provides for us, ultimately. It’s not our boss. It’s not some inheritance or other means of income. You are our ultimate and true and daily Provider! 

So we say, “Give us, Lord, this day our daily bread. And then, as You do—whether it’s through raven or brooks or bread raining from heaven or widows or just the ordinary means of working and buying groceries and making meals—as we partake of this physical food, we’re reminded that You give to us all that we need for body, soul, and spirit. For You are good and Your steadfast love endures forever. Amen! 

Dannah: God knows exactly what you need! He created you to depend on Him. You can see it all through Scripture. He promises to provide for You. We’ve been listening to Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth talking about God’s thoughtfulness and provision for His people, and I hope you’ve been encouraged to trust God to supply your every need.

That’s something many of us will be celebrating in a very special way this week. Isn’t is good to remember we can trust Him with our whole lives because He is good, and He is loving! Revive Our Hearts exists to help women discover God in this way, to see that a truly abundant life in Christ brings freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness.

You can be a part of spreading this message to women across the globe when you partner with our ministry. When you give a gift of any amount to Revive Our Hearts, we want to send you our 2021 Heaven Rules wall calendar. It’s our way of thanking you for your support. I hope you’ll be encouraged by this beautiful calendar, and the reminder that heaven rules.

God is on the throne, regardless of what circumstances you face. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com to give today, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. Let me just thank you for making a difference in the lives of women around the world.

You know, for many of us, food is pretty high on the list of things to think about—this week in particular. Tomorrow, we’re going to continue on the topic of food, and how God knows what we need most. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Helping you trust God to provide, Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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