Sunday, February 22, 2015

You Gave, You Provided

It’s always exciting whenever I find a passage in the Bible that overlaps two of our studies.  Last Thursday our lunch-time group was working on Study 9 in “Worship in the Bible.”  This study looks at the worship time recorded in Nehemiah 9.  The people gathered to celebrate the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem.

Their time of worship was very different from modern church services.  One major difference was their focus on history.  Beginning with creation, through the Exodus, and the conquering of the Promised Land, their worship recalled the numerous ways God had provided for His people.

As we read the verses in Nehemiah 9, I couldn’t help but remember one of the major themes we found in the Old Testament when writing our latest book, “A Good and Faithful Steward.”  Time after time, in the Old Testament we saw how God provided richly.  These blessings began with Adam and Eve, who were given a fully functional garden filled with “every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food.”  (Genesis 2:9)  God’s rich blessings then continued through Abram, Joseph, Moses, King David, and King Solomon.  In the study guide we pointed out that God provided for His people, and His tendency was to abundantly provide. 

This theme is very clear in Nehemiah 9 when the people recounted many of God’s abundant blessings during their time of worship.  Here are a few examples from their worship poem showing how God had provided and over-provided for His people:

“And with a pillar of cloud You led them by day,
And with a pillar of fire by night
To light for them the way
In which they were to go.”  (v. 9)

“You provided bread from heaven for them for their hunger,
You brought forth water from a rock for them for their thirst.”  (v. 15)

“You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,
Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth,
And You gave them water for their thirst.
Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want;
Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell.”  (v. 20–21)

“They captured fortified cities and a fertile land.
They took possession of houses full of every good thing,
Hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves,
Fruit trees in abundance.
So they ate, were filled and grew fat,
And reveled in Your great goodness.”  (v. 25)

Do you see in these verses how the LORD not only provided, He over-provided?  How great it is to worship a God who not only provides, He richly provides!!