Read His Words Before Ours!
Evening was drawing around them, and a chill made them shiver in the cool air. A bran new sunset stretched out before them, gloriously perfect and visually astounding, almost as if the rest of Creation paused to watch its beauty, but tonight their minds weren’t filled with breathtaking visuals. Tonight was different. Fear was present. Brokenness was here. Shame had stealthy stolen the sweet freedom the couple had danced in mere hours before. They hid; afraid to be found out, sweaty palms, quickened heart rates, defensive anger leaping in their throats.
Sin held them in its death grip.
Their eyes had indeed been opened.
They could see as God saw.
They saw sin. They saw righteousness.
And they instantly knew that they had fallen out of perfect bliss, out of holiness.
One disobedient action that had broken the sweetest relationship of all, the one between themselves and God.
Though they hid in the shadows, they knew, of course, that the Father would find them.
He was coming now, His footsteps falling gently on lush, vibrant grasses.
He was waiting to delight in fellowship with them, to walk and talk in the Garden.
To know them. To lavish love on them. To be with them. They were His delight and He was theirs.
But tonight’s reality was different.
The Father’s voice filled the silence, “Where are you?”
And in the dialogue that followed that single question, Adam and his lovely bride, Eve,
found themselves cursed and separated from God because of their sin.
A chasm had been created; one they could never bridge.
As they prepared to leave the Garden of Eden with a sadness and shame that was heavier than anything they’d known,
the Father did a curious thing.
He provided for them. He provided even when they had done absolutely nothing to deserve it.
In fact, they’d done everything to deserve nothing but separation.
He spilt blood, the first blood ever shed, and he took the skins of those beautiful animals He’d created and He gave them to the couple. Covering their physical needs, while pointing forward to a time when He would cover for their spiritual needs and bring humanity back into relationship with Himself.
Hundreds of years later, an old man who’d followed the voice of God for decades,
stood atop a mountain, knife in hand, ready to slay his own beloved.
Abraham trusted God. Period.
With his own life, and now, with the life of his son.
He stood ready to give the unthinkable to the Lord His God,
when suddenly the voice he’d followed so closely, abruptly commanded Abraham to stop.
God was providing His own sacrifice.
A ram from God was caught in the bushes close by and was slain on the altar instead of Isaac, Abraham’s son.
And in that breathtaking moment when God gave Abraham back his son, acknowledging his unwavering faith in the God who had always provided, the Father knew that if Abraham were to look across the desert a ways, he would see another hill.
A hill outside of Jerusalem, where one day, God’s own Son, His own Beloved, would die in the place of Abraham, in the place of Isaac, in the place of each one of us who has unwavering faith.
And God would not stop that sacrifice.
Because He is a providing God.
When the Israelites wandered in the desert.
God provided water, bread, meat, and shoes that didn’t wear out.
Elisha the prophet sought food and water from a widow during a drought so severe that she only had enough for one small loaf of bread. But God provided her with enough oil and flour that she, her son, and Elisha never went without until the famine ended.
Soldier Jonathan and his men were exhausted from battle and God provided honey to revive them.
Jonah was tossed into the sea because of his disobedience and God provided a fish large enough to swallow him whole, keeping him alive.
Over and over.
Needy people meet with a providing God.
Whether it’s simple physical needs, emotional ones, or spiritual ones, Yahweh is a God who gives. And so it is no surprise that as Christ is gasping for air on the cross, dying to provide access to a restored relationship with God if we would trust Him, He provides in another way as well. Tangibly. Physically. For his mother.
“Woman, behold your son”, and then to John,
“Behold, your mother.”
Jesus’s providence for his mother not only spoke of God’s character as provider,
but also pointed to our need for community as a means of that providence.
Jesus was in need and He chose to depend on His community, expecting John to step up.
This providing for each other, leaning on each other, carrying each other’s burdens….it’s the very DNA of community life.
And Jesus calls us to live richly within its threads.
Both in giving and receiving.
As we look at the Savior, and see His provision of salvation by making a way for the broken to be made whole,
don’t miss seeing Him as provider in the small things.
This is the God who not only cares about every soul, but also every hair on your head.
You are well loved. Well cared for.
And we are called to flesh that out in the arena of community.
Love others well. Care for their needs. Depend on them.
Because our God provides!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!