Provision (Joshua 5:12)

The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.

Joshua 5:12

Manna had been God’s miraculous provision of food for Israel when there was no other way for Israel to eat. The wilderness was not fertile and Israel was wandering, not stopping to plant crops and harvest. Once they begin to enter into the Promised Land, the miraculous provision is no longer necessary and God switches to more mundane methods.

As I read this, I couldn’t help but think of my own life. God provides. I’ve never been in want and have even been the means by which God provided for another on occasion. It is humbling and marvelous, but He most often uses the most mundane methods imaginable to provide for His children. He tells me to work, then turns around and blesses my work so that it provides for my needs. This startlingly unmiraculous method of provision lends itself to me thinking that I had more to do with that provision than I really did. The result can be that I think I provided for myself and leave God out of the equation. But that is unfair to the God Who opened doors that should have remained shut (I was not qualified for the job I currently have when I applied for it) and granted favor (the projects I did turned out to be beneficial beyond what I thought they would be) and security (somehow, I kept my job while others did not). Someone once said that coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. The quote is often attributed to Einstein, but the internet is not always trustworthy where these things are concerned. Regardless of who said it, it is true. God uses circumstance to guide us and provide for us just as often (if not more often) as He uses the miraculous. Neither is any more or less an exercise of His power — it’s just that one reveals His might while the other reveals His foresight. And, in some ways, it takes more (this is coming from a non-planner) to plan that far in advance and order things such that the desired outcome is achieved than to simply employ power to make something happen spur-of-the-moment. Though Jesus’ words make me think that God even plans out which miracles He’s going to perform — even His spur-of-the-moment actions are planned. That’s foresight.

How to apply this? I think that I need to look for God’s hand in the mundane. God’s provision for Israel didn’t stop at the borders of the Promised Land, He simply provided through the Promised Land. The food that Israel ate at the beginning was not food they had planted or worked for, it was still God’s provision without any input from Israel. Later, they would begin to cultivate the land and plant crops and God would provide not only through the land but also through the labor of the people. God’s provision for me may sometimes require more and other times less of my input. Sometimes His provision may require none of my input at all. I need to listen and be obedient when He instructs as to which is which. And, what is not in this verse but bears note, I need to receive God’s provision with gratitude.

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