Question: "What does it mean that God provides?"
Answer: There are at least 169 verses in the Bible that refer to the ways God provides for us. Philippians 4:19 puts it simply: “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” While prosperity seekers might always be looking for money or possessions to miraculously arrive, we should take a closer look at what God desires to provide for us.
Like any good parent, God would never give us what He knows would harm us. His intent is to help us develop Christlikeness so that we become salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13–14). God does not want us to see Him as a heavenly source of mere material possessions. Acquiring things is not the fundamental goal of this life (Luke 12:15).
God differentiates between our needs and our wants because He knows that where our treasure is our heart is also (Matthew 6:21). He wants us to know that this world is not our home and that part of what we need is to shift our focus to the eternal life while still living this one.
God is concerned with every part of our being: spirit, soul, and body. As the facets of His character are infinite, so the ways God provides for us are beyond anything we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). We can trust His goodness, guidance, and shepherding care to do more for us than we could ever achieve on our own. God provides a way for us to develop an intimate, conversational, obedient relationship with Him so that we can lead ourselves and others into a “Psalm 23” quality of life. Those whose shepherd is the Lord can say, “I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1).
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches His disciples to ask for provision, and our dependence on God is affirmed each time we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). In Matthew 6:24–25, Jesus tells His disciples not to worry about food or clothing. The Father knows our needs. He desires covenant relationship with us, and that involves trusting Him to meet our daily requirements and seeking first His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
Psalm 84:11 states, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” This verse carries a reminder that there is a part we play in God’s provision coming to fruition in our lives. We must walk uprightly.
James 4:3 is an answer to our questions about why prayers sometimes go unanswered: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” God sees the heart, and our prayers’ motivations are important to Him.
Many passages about God’s provision relate to our need for food and clothing and the daily, physical needs of life. Others refer to the needs of our soul and spirit, our inner man. He provides us with peace (John 14:27), comfort (2 Corinthians 1:4), and “power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). In fact, He “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). In whatever physical state we find ourselves, we can be content in the Lord (Philippians 4:12).
Passages such as Galatians 1:15 and Jeremiah 1:5 give us an assurance that God’s love and direction began even before conception. What a gift to know that God has been involved in our lives from the very start! His love for us is encompassed in His desire for our highest good. He is truly Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord-Who-Provides.
God’s provision extends to His ongoing relationship to all of His creation, which is deeply dependent on Him (Psalm 104:21). Often, we take for granted the rain that falls, the sun that comes up every morning, the refreshing winds that blow, and the tides that cleanse our shores and invigorate the life in our vast oceans. But all these things are watched over by our loving God in His provision for us.