ProvisionI’ll admit it. I like living well.

I like my creature comforts. I have two cars to choose from in the driveway. My hardest decision sometime is whether I will use my laptop computer, desktop computer, iPad, or iPhone. My wife and I eat out at the drop of a hat.  (My waistline suggests I should quit dropping hats.) The fact that I can even joke about my waistline is an indication I live well.

I am not rich. According to our friends at the Census Bureau, I am quite average … and that says a lot for the American lifestyle. I am not rich, but I don’t do without.

  • I never wonder where my next meal is coming from.
  • I have no concerns that my clothes are threadbare … or even out of style.
  • I give no thought to how I’m going to get to work.

The upside? I don’t worry about these things. The down side? I face the danger of taking for granted all these provisions—food, clothing, housing, transportation, you-name-it.

In Matthew 6, Jesus told us not to worry about such things. Trust the Father to work on our behalf. When we seek His kingdom and His righteousness, everything else will fall into place (Matt. 6:33).

But let’s back this bus up and get to a deeper issue. God provides for us, but is His provision just about having food, shelter, and a decent pair of pants? What if God’s idea of provision is far greater than that? God does provide, but in our prosperous, American-lifestyle way of thinking, we often add a materialistic, self-centered layer.

For me, the poster child for this way of thinking is Victoria Osteen. In this clip, she essentially tells us to do good to ourselves, because that’s what “makes God happy.”

So God provides us for so that we’ll be happy. And when we’re happy, God’s happy.  Really? That seriously short-changes the gracious provision of God.

I get a far better—and certainly more accurate—idea of God’s provision when I read Psalm 34. The heart of the psalm is in verse 8:

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

Nowhere in this psalm are material things mentioned. Perhaps such things could be inferred.

  • “I sought the Lord, and he answered me” (v. 4).
  • “This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles” (v. 6).

But greater still is the provision of God Himself. God meets our needs—our deepest needs—by His very presence. Satisfaction and goodness are ultimately found in God alone.

Just this week I was editing a Bible study written by Brady Cooper. He wrote of his periodic mission trips to Haiti and how the Haitian believers, even with so little materially, are so much richer because of their walk and trust in the provision of God.

God does provide what we need. And the greatest thing we need is the shelter of His presence. And that beats any materialist happiness I can purchase at Best Buy.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

This post is based on the study “God’s Promise of Provision” in BibleScreen-Shot-2013-06-24-at-1.41.38-PM (1) Studies for Life.