Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Spiritual Food

Dannah Gresh: What are you going to eat for your Thanksgiving dinner? Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says God provides us with more than just physical sustenance.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: The food God gives us is Jesus. He is the ultimate expression of “the steadfast love of God that endures forever.”

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of Seeking Him, for November 25, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Do we really trust God to provide for us? Today Nancy talks about how the Lord does in fact do that—and so much more. Nancy is continuing in Psalm 136. Remember, if you missed any days of the series so far, you can hear them on ReviveOurHearts.com or on the Revive Our Hearts app. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: My mother was gifted with an incredible singing voice. It was one of these operatic voices that was professionally trained. I can remember the first time I played. She actually had two CDs of her singing that she had made years—back before they had CDs—and it says, “By Nancy DeMoss” on the outside.

So when Robert and I were dating, I started playing it, and he said, “Whose voice is that?” And I showed him the CD cover where it said, “Nancy DeMoss,” but not me—my mother, Nancy DeMoss. So she had this amazing singing voice, and my dad . . . not so much. (laughter) He really did not have a nice singing voice at all, but he loved to sing to the Lord.

He always envisioned that our family would be like the Von Trapp singers (laughter), and we would all sing. But it was not to be because we got all of our genes—when it came to the voice—from my dad, not from my mom.

But as we were growing up, there was this table grace that our parents taught us that we would sing from time to time. I’m not going to sing it for you. I couldn’t find it on the Internet. I couldn’t even find the words. But I remember it quite well. Here are the words:

“We thank Thee, Lord, for this our food, God is love, God is love.” (And let me say, by the way, at times we had guests at our house, that’s when my dad would ask for a command performance—our family to sing this grace. It’s actually kind of long, and we were always really embarrassed to do it, but it still sticks with me.)

We thank Thee, Lord, for this our food,
God is love, God is love.
But most of all, for Jesus’ blood,
God is love, God is love.
These mercies bless and grant that we
May live and feast and reign with Thee,
God is love, God is love.

Well I thought of that table grace which I haven’t sung for, I don’t know, forty-five years or more, fifty years maybe, as I was meditating on Psalm 136, and particularly the verse we’re looking at today that has to do with God’s provision of food.

Remember the first verse of Psalm 136, we started on this a week and a half ago:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.

The steadfast love, remember, is the hesed—the covenant-keeping, faithful, loyal love of God for His people.

And then we’ve come to verse 25 in our journey through this psalm:

Give thanks to the Lord he who gives food to all flesh,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.

We spent the last session looking at that verse about God’s provision of food, but I want to pick back up on that and just add a few additional thoughts before we close this series today.

Psalm 145:15–16 tells us, 

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

We talked about how the most basic needs we have are met by a faithful, covenant-keeping God, how our food is a gift from Him, our other basic creature needs, the things He provides for our comfort, for our flourishing, for our enjoyment, these are gifts from a good God.

Acts chapter 14, verse 17, says it this way, reflecting on Israel’s history, “He did good (remember we said the Lord is good? He is good and He does good. The Lord did good) by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”

Isn’t that a sweet verse? God is just involved in that whole process of sending the rain that brings the fruitful seasons—and somehow the rain gets to the ground, gets to the crops, and the next thing we know it’s on our dinner table.

Now, people who grow up in farming or agrarian cultures, knew it didn’t just happen that way. But where we live in our cities and our suburban areas today, we don’t really see the farm process. We just see it come to our tables. But God is not only involved in sending the rain and causing the crops to grow, but He’s also the one who gets the food to us and then satisfies our hearts with food and gladness.

This is a personal God. This is a powerful God who is intimately and intricately involved in the details of our lives.

I think of Psalm 37 where the psalmist says in verse 25, “I have been young, and now I am old,y et I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.”

Now, we could do a whole other session or series—and maybe we will someday—on: Why then is there hunger in this world? And why are there people whose needs aren’t met? Why are there famines? Why are there droughts? Why are there whole areas of the world where people are chronically underfed? But what I do know is the Scripture says that those who trust in the Lord, He will meet their needs.

And yet we see that in times in Israel’s history, God did withhold food from them.

Deuteronomy 8, verse 3 comes to mind where the Scripture says, “He caused you to hunger—(He caused you to hunger.)—that He might let you know that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

So there are purposes of God that are bigger than the immediate needs that we have, and God knows what He is doing. I think that’s what we come away with, and knowing that as we lift our eyes up to Him, as we look to Him, He has promised He will meet our needs. He feeds not just our bodies, but He feeds our souls, our hearts with His steadfast love.

Psalm 36 gives us a picture of that, beginning at verse 7: “How precious is your steadfast love, O God! (Your hesed, Your covenant-keeping love.) The children of mankind feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.”

I don’t think that’s talking about just physical food and drink. I think it’s talking about God meeting the deepest needs of our souls, the longings of our hearts with Himself. And, again, He’s not a stingy God. He gives an abundance of His house. He gives us to drink, to feast at His table and to drink from the river of His delights. This is a generous, grace-filled God.

So we say, “Give thanks to the Lord he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

Now, yesterday we looked at Old Testament examples of God’s provision of food. Today we’re going to turn to the New Testament and find some other examples and see what that has to say to us by way of application.

When Jesus came to this earth, He was God in the flesh, God-descending, God-condescending, to become a man, to take on human flesh, human limitations, to become one of us.

He taught His disciples to pray: “Give us this day, our Father in heaven, our daily bread.”

And He told them not to ask for what they need, and then He told them to trust God for His provision. And He also said, “Don’t worry about what you’re going to eat. Trust.”

You remember this passage in Luke chapter 12. What a sweet passage, beginning in verse 22:

Therefore I tell you, [Jesus said], do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them (vv. 22–24).

And I’m thinking, just as I read that, about how God once used ravens to feed His prophet. God feeds the ravens, and sometimes He uses the ravens to feed His people—at least once He did.

But then Jesus says, “God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried” (v. 29).

Don’t be anxious. Don’t be worried. That’s easier said than done, isn’t it? We find ourselves thinking about retirement. “How are we going to be provided for? How are we going to get a house? How are we going to deal with this house we have? How are the kids’ college going to be paid for? How are we going to do this? How are we going to get a job?” We need these things, but Jesus said, “Don’t be anxious about them. Don’t be worried about them.” Why?

For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father [He’s your Father, not their Father, your Father] knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. (vv. 30–31)

And I love this verse, Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

The kingdom! He’s saying, “God’s going to give you the big thing, and everything you need is going to be encompassed in that.”

So you’re spending your life, and you’re trying, and you’re scrimping, and you’re saving, and you’re scraping, and you’re manipulating, and you’re conniving, and you’re worrying, and your anxiety, and your sleepless nights, trying to figure out how you’re going to get your next meal. And Jesus says, “You’re looking at something too small.”

God knows you need those things. So seek for His kingdom—for what honors Him, for His reign and rule in this world, for your heart to be in accord with His. And “don’t be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom”—everything you need and so much more.

“Give thanks to the Lord he who gives food to all flesh.” Why? “For his steadfast love endures forever.”

Jesus not only told them not to worry about food, but He demonstrated that He was God in the flesh many times in the New Testament in the gospels through the supernatural provision of food—even as God has supernaturally provided food for His people in the Old Testament.

Let’s look at one or two of those instances.

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a desolate place, [No McDonald’s here. No Burger King. No Chick-fil-As out here in this desolate place] and the day is now over [everything is closed up if there were anything]; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” (Matt. 14:14–15)

That would have been the natural way to solve this problem. And under another circumstance, it might have been the exact right thing to do to solve this problem. It’s time to go. Go where there’s food. Go give your money, go get the food out of the store, and then go home and eat it. But Jesus wanted to show them that ultimately their provision was not through natural means but through His supernatural provision.

He said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." [Thanks, Jesus.] They said to him, "We have only five loaves here and two fish." And he said, "Bring them here to me." Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. (vv. 16–19)

Jesus realized where food came from. He realized that God in heaven is the Giver of every good gift—that He sends the rain, He makes the crops to grow, and He gives us food to nourish us and to bring gladness to our hearts. He thanked God for this provision.

Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (vv. 19–21)

And you’re worried about what you’re going to feed your family tonight!

Now, I don’t want to make light of that because there may be seasons in your life when you really don’t know what you’re going to feed your family tonight. But passages like these that we’re reading, you think God just did this stuff in the old days? You think God can’t do whatever is needed to provide food for your family today?

But you say, “But what about next week?”

It’s not next week. “Give us this day our daily bread.”

“Give thanks to the Lord he who gives food to all flesh.” Does He? Or doesn’t He?

Now, I’m not being glib about this. I don’t want to diminish a serious financial situation that you may find yourself in. And God can use different means. He sent ravens to feed His prophet. He rained bread from heaven on the Israelites. Maybe He’ll use somebody in your church family to meet your needs as a widow or as a single mom. God has ways of providing.

And we’re to be generous. That’s one of the great means through which God provides, because we’re commanded to be generous and to share what we have with others. But there are so many means God can use. He will not forsake His own people. His covenant-keeping, hesed love endures forever.

Well, you come to John chapter 21. The scene is after the resurrection. Early one morning Jesus appeared to His disciples on the shore. They were out on the lake. They had been fishing all night. They hadn’t caught anything. That was their career. They had been a dismal failure that night. And here’s Jesus standing on the shore. He calls out to them in their boat, tells them to cast out their net on the other side. You know the story. They end up with this huge, boat-sinking, net-breaking load of fish.

And here’s the part I love about this—verse 9 of John 21: “When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.”

They had just caught all these fish, after a night of catching nothing. So Jesus does two miracles. One, He loads up their net with fish from the sea. But then they get to the shore, and Jesus has fish already cooking over the fire. I mean, where did He get it? How did He do this? He’s God! He gives food to all flesh.

He had fish laid out on the fire and bread. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”

How about that! “Come and have breakfast.” He cared about their physical needs, but He cared mostly about them knowing He was the God who would meet all of their needs.

Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. (v. 13)

“Give thanks to the Lord he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

Jesus gives food to all flesh, but His provision in those instances points out something even more astonishing.

Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32)

All that provision of bread back in Genesis and Exodus and Numbers and Joshua and Kings and Chronicles, all that provision of food in the gospels—Jesus feeding the multitudes—all this is intended to point people to the Bread from heaven who is Jesus, who gives life to the world.

Well, of course, they had no clue what He was talking about. “They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’” (So we won’t have to go to Meijer anymore—that’s inserted there. Sounds of laughter.)

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)

Not only does He give us bread for our physical needs, but He is the Bread who fills our souls. You are what you eat. You cannot live without eating. We cannot live without Jesus. And as we partake of Him by faith, our souls are fed, and we have life.

We have no life apart from Him. If you don’t eat, ever, you die. If you don’t feed that newborn baby, it dies. If our souls are not fed, we die.

So how do we live? How do we live eternally? How do we have bread so that we never are hungry again? How do we have water that our thirst will always be quenched? Jesus said, “He who believes in Me. I am the bread of life. I am the living water.” It’s all meant to point our hearts to Him.

Even that Old Testament verse we’ve been looking at: “Give thanks to the Lord he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

You see, that Old Testament psalm was pointing to Jesus. He is the food given for the life of the world. He is the steadfast love of the Lord that endures forever.

How is that steadfast, covenant-keeping love expressed? He gives Himself as food and water for hungry, thirsty hearts.

Well, just before going to the cross, you remember how Jesus celebrated the Passover in the Upper Room with His disciples. And Matthew 26 says, “As they were eating, Jesus took bread.”

It’s an interesting study. Sometime just to go through and see all the times that Jesus had meals with people, all the times He was dealing with food. They all to point to deeper realities.

Jesus took bread, and after blessing it, broke it [Does it sound familiar?] and gave it to His disciples, [This had happened once before with the feeding of the five thousand, but this time He said] "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, [“Give thanks to the Lord he who gives food to all flesh.” And when He had given thanks] he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many [“My blood is shed for many.”] for the forgiveness of sins." (Matt 26:26–28)

Does that put more meaning to you on this verse we’ve been talking about—“Give thanks to the Lord he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever”?

The food God gives us is Jesus! He is the ultimate expression of the steadfast love of God that endures forever. So give thanks to the Lord!

Now, let me take just one bunny trail here: Looking at Matthew 26, a passage we’ve just been seeing at the Last Supper, verse 30 tells us, “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

So they had this scene where Jesus gave them the bread, gave them the cup, said, “This is My body; this is My blood shed for you, broken for you. Eat of it. Drink of it.” And then they sang a hymn. And they went out to the Mount of Olives where Jesus would be betrayed and arrested and taken away to be crucified.

Psalm 136—you say, “What does that have to do with that passage in Matthew?” Psalm 136 is known as the Great Hallel of the Jewish hymnal, “The Great Psalm of Praise.” It has traditionally been sung or recited at the end of the Jewish Passover meal, after the Lesser Hallel, which is psalms 113 to 118, a number of shorter psalms. So they have the Passover meal. Then they sing the Lesser Hallel, and then they sing the Great Hallel, “The Great Psalm of Praise,” Psalm 136.

Many commentators believe that the psalm we’ve been meditating on this week and last is what Jesus sang with His disciples at the Last Supper on that night before He was betrayed and handed over to be crucified for the sin of the world.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, [they might have sung],
   for his steadfast love [His hesed] endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord he who gives food to all flesh,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.

Can you hear the disciples singing that? Can you hear Jesus singing it with them, knowing that He is the Food, the Bread, the Wine given up for the salvation of the world?

Jesus feeds us with Himself, the living Bread. And for those who have partaken of Jesus by faith, who feast on Him, who feed on Him, Jesus has promised a final banquet where God will give us the finest food we can possibly imagine.

This is hinted at in the Old Testament in Isaiah chapter 25, where there’s this prophetic passage that says, “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples”—not just for the Jews; not just for those chosen people of God, but for all nations, all people who have believed in Israel’s God. On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all people “a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined” (v. 6).

The Lord of hosts will make a feast. Some of you are amazing cooks. I’ve got some friends who can make amazing spreads. And this Thanksgiving, some of you are going to be making that, or you’re going to be going to a home where somebody is making an incredible spread of food.

Just imagine the LORD of hosts, Lord God of heaven and earth, making for all peoples of the earth a feast. It’s prophesied about in Isaiah, and then we read about it in Revelation chapter 19:

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb" (vv. 7–8).

It’s a wedding feast, and we’re the Bride, and we’re invited. And our Father is the one who’s preparing this feast for us.

“Give thanks to the Lord he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

And then verse 26, the last verse of this psalm: “Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

The God of Heaven. This is the first time this name for God appears in the Old Testament. He is not just the God of Israel. He is the God of heaven. The God of all peoples. The God of heaven and earth. The God who will invite all peoples to a feast for the Bride of His Son.

Everything God does in the lives of His people, everything God does in your life, is grounded in and governed by His steadfast, loyal, unchanging love, His hesed. His love for you will never, ever, ever end. Trust Him! Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, (say it with me), for His steadfast love endures forever.

And, Oh, Father, how we bless Your holy name. You are good. You love Your people with a steadfast loyal, faithful, unchanging, eternal love. You love us that way.

I pray that as we go about our lives, we eat our meals, we feed those in our families, we do the every-day things that being embodied creatures do and that we need, may we continually lift our eyes up to You and give You thanks.

This is a week for thanksgiving, but not just this week, but every week, every day, “Give thanks to the Lord for You are good, and Your steadfast love endures forever.”

Thank You, thank You, thank You. Amen.

Dannah: Amen. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth just shared about how God’s provisions are expressions of His love. And just as she prayed, may this season of Thanksgiving last beyond the holiday as we go about our lives with gratitude to the Lord.

As we move into this Thanksgiving, our hearts may be heavier than they’ve ever been with what our world is facing. So let’s remember this today. The promise of Psalm 136 is a balm for our weary souls. God knows what He’s doing, and we can come back to the phrase Nancy quotes so often: “heaven rules.”

The 2021 Revive Our Hearts calendar is centered around that very theme as a way to help us keep our eyes fixed on eternity. Because heaven rules, we don’t have to fear what’s in store for us this next year or beyond.

Each month the calendar will feature Scripture and quotes from Nancy to help you stay grounded in hope. Ginny Graham, a friend of Revive Our Hearts, designed the beautiful pages to be hung on your wall and to point you back to the peace and confidence found in a life in Christ.

We’d sure love to send you this new calendar when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. With your donation, you’re helping women around the world discover what it means to thrive in Christ.

Just go to ReviveOurHearts.com if you feel led to give, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. And thank you so much for partnering with us in ministry.

Tomorrow we’re going to hear from some of the women who have been listening to this series on Psalm 136. You’ll hear how God has used these messages in their hearts and lives and perhaps reflect on what God is doing in your own life. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds you that only God can truly satisfy. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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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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