God provides for all our needs before setting a task before us but we need spiritual vision and capacity to tap into that, which is possible only through knowing HIM & HIS ways.
“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food” (Genesis 1:29).A study of the sequence of creation, God first created ‘vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds’ and it was the third day. Nothing had yet been created to partake of all these fruits and vegetation and this process was started only on the fifth day when the animals, birds and sea creatures were created and man came into being after all this on the sixth day. And then was the task assigned to man “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:28). God created the Garden of Eden first and then brought man into it to enjoy the produce and “care and tend” to the garden and all that was in it. Man was not told to replicate that or undertake any major arduous task. And then God saw everything that He had created “and it was good” and thereafter He rested on the seventh day.
Did the work of creation tire God? – God enjoyed the whole process and the rest was an act of enjoyment and not of fatigue. It was like a proud parent watching his young child playing and reveling in all the fun things provided by him. God in His love for mankind provided that was likely to be needed for their comfortable living and to provide relief from any injury sustained in the process of ‘tending to the Garden’ He planted the ‘Tree of Life’ to heal man from such wounds. God not only meet the food requirement of man and all animals in advance. He also provided for all possible embellishments for the woman. There was ‘gold, aromatic raisin and onyx in the land of Havilah’ to meet the future demand for ornaments for both. God set His creation on the earth and the ‘rest of the seventh day’ was an indicator to man to rejoice and be thankful for all that was provided for him. The rest is also to guide man to not depend on himself but on the provisions of God to meet all requirements for any assigned task.
Why do we lack? – I had the privilege of meeting Rev Dr Satish Kumar, a renowned man of God from Hyderabad, and listen to his story of having made a ready an ‘air conditioned worship place for 18,000 people’ in a span of just 52 days creating a record. He was given a vision by God to witness to the people in the area but the dream was unfulfilled for want of resources. He travelled to various countries for funds but no one came out to help. Finally in total frustration, he returned to his place and cried out to the Lord to guide him. That is when the Lord started leading him to Divine provisions and without realizing the magnitude and near impossibility of the task, Dr Sathish Kumar prayed for help for building the worship hall in 52 days for Nehemiah had been able to complete the task of ‘repairing the walls of Jerusalem’ in just the same number of days despite strong opposition. So why do we lack and are unable to use the resources already made available by God and how do we receive the same?
- Working without God- Once we receive a dream or a vision from God we start off planning for its fulfillment immediately. In this rush to complete the assigned task and please God, the whole purpose of the dream is forgotten. In any and every task from God there are always two basic reasons behind that- firstly, to draw near to and worship God and secondly to reveal Him and His love to others. In the process of the dream, which in any case may still be sketchy with hardly any details, we rush out on our own. King David spoke to Nathan the prophet about his desire to build a Temple for the Lord, a Temple befitting His Divine majesty. The Word of the Lord to Nathan was clear that David was not to be the one to build the Temple but his son who will succeed him. David did not disobey the command and start the Temple construction since the complete design of the Temple had been already provided to him by God. He accepted the command and set out to do what he could, the work of collecting stones and other materials and entrusted the work to Solomon, who finally completed it (1 Chronicles 17).
David obeyed God completely and there was no ego clash to put his own name plate on the Temple walls to commemorate the event. The plan was with him, the resources were available, the people adored him and were willing to do his bidding but David obeyed God.
- Disobedience- The key to tapping into the ‘Treasury of Heaven’ is to obey “every Word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Adam and Eve had all the best fruits in the most pleasant surroundings in the most pleasant weather conditions and in the Holy presence of God, yet they had to leave everything due to disobedience. Abraham obeyed God and became “very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold” (Genesis 13:2) and is known as the ‘father of many nations’ for obeying God. God’s provisions are available to fulfill any task that He assigns but only to those who listen and obey. Elisha was directed to the ‘brook in Cherith’ after having prophesied to the evil king Ahab about the draught in the region. The Word of the lord was categorical “I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there”. And after the brook dried up, he was directed to go to Zarephath and “I have directed a widow there to supply you with food” (1 Kings 17:3 and 9). Before the command to move the provisioning had already been made for the promise was “I have directed” and Elisha lacked nothing in both the places. Peter obeyed to go catch the fish to bet the coin from its mouth to pay the ‘Temple Tax’ for the Lord and himself (Matthew 17:27). Whatever is the command from God in fulfillment or deferment of the dream, obedience is the only option.
- Lack of faith-Satan’s sole aim is to lead us into doubting God and look for other options, even to fulfill God given commands. He did not tell Eve about neglecting the care of the Garden but to doubt God about His intention “to withhold something from them”- the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Even with the Lord Jesus, the temptation ‘through the offer of giving Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor’ as a short cut to establish His kingdom without the sweat and suffering. The temptation is for adopting a method to fast-track the process of dream realization by adopting ‘means neither provided for nor acceptable to God’. God is very much capable of ‘creating anything out of nothing’ and He does not require mine or anyone else’s help in doing so. The very fact that He has given us an opportunity to do so, is His blessing and grace and not our own exceptional abilities. Faithful obedience to His commands will only lead us into His abundance. The obedience was not only essential for Elisha but also for the widow of Zarephath to remain alive.
- Letting go – Abraham did not give up hope in the ‘promise of God’ despite the urgings of Sarah and became a father after all physical possibility was over. David was ordained as king at the young age of fifteen years while tending to his father’s flock of sheep. Even after killing Goliath, he was made to hide in various places from the armies of Saul and did the “God chosen King Saul” no harm despite available opportunities. David poured out his heart before God, seeking vengeance against his enemies, but waited for the time chosen by God to place him on the throne. The widow who was seeking justice from a judge “who neither feared God nor cared what people thought” and her perseverance only forced the judge to ensure justice for her (Luke 18:1-8). King Solomon, the wisest man on earth declared “There is a time for everything; and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Even when God has given the vision and has provided all possible details about the design and location, His timing has to prevail and there is no way to force His hand. The only way is to wait, pray and then step out in faith at the right time.
- Unwilling to face opposition-Any vision that has the capacity to affect lives and please God will always cause definite irritation to Satan and his team. The first step will be to mislead us into abandoning the project over lack of resources, creating doubts about personal capabilities to fulfill the mission or such other distractions. Once we decide to continue with determination seeking Divine guidance and intervention, the heavy artillery will be deployed by the devil and this could be in various forms. The key to remember is that He who has given that dream is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20). He is able but the mode of operation is “the power that works in us”. This power is the power of God through and in the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. The power is within and not without, the resources are within and not without, the need is to gaze inwards and not outwards to receive the same. Resist the devil, standing firm in the faith and he will flee from you (1 Peter 5:9). The point to worry about in following God’s commands for accessing His Divine provisioning is, if there is no opposition. In such a scenario there can be only two reasons- first, the impact of the fulfillment of the vision will be minimal and the more worrying is the second one- that the whole project is Satan sponsored for his kingdom of darkness. It is therefore essential to retain our focus on God through regular worship and fellowship to seek His continuous presence in the fulfillment of the dream. This would ensure flow of regular provisions at the right time as also protection from the evil forces.
- Not seeking help- The prayer support of fellow believers is not only essential for fulfillment but also for protection. God has created us to support each other “for a man should not be alone” and Eve was brought as a partner. In the same manner the prayer support of other believers is necessary to cover our back from the evil forces. The ‘nakedness caused by sin’ is covered by the blood of our Lord Jesus but prayers of others help in this covering.
- Not asking in prayer-The promise of God is “Ask and it will be given to you” and this is not that God wants us to become beggars in front of Him but to show us the importance of God in our lives. “All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). Jesus is the Creator and provider of everything and to receive the resources already provided by Him, we have to ‘ask from Him’ for He has the ‘authority over everything on the earth and in the heavens’. Prayer is the means to ask, thank Him for what we have, get to know Him and intercede for others. God visited Adam and Eve everyday in the Garden of Eden and later sent His Son to the earth to not only reveal Himself to us but also to show the abundance of His grace to us meet our needs.
God does not and will never take us to a place or situation where His grace cannot sustain us. God may test our faith through a situation for a while but eventually those who persevere will always get rewarded. Wherever He leads us, before giving us the command to move, His provisions are already made available to cater to our needs. We are not to question God’s timing for His blessings to materialize in our life but remain thankfully committed to the fulfillment of the dream in His power. David waited, Joseph waited and both suffered unimaginable miseries and even our Lord “was perfected through His sufferings” for the crown of glory which awaited Him. The crown is ours and will be on our heads if we persevere even against all odds and visible symptoms of failure, for Satan will work to dissuade us.
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matthew 6:26). He is the same God who provided for the Israelites in the wilderness with Manna from heaven and quails in abundance and He does not change. He could provide water for them and for their animals, from the rock and He has enough resources to meet each and every need of ours.
Believe and receive in abundance, for His grace is enough for every situation!!