July 15, 2021

Providence

The Lord spoke to Moses and said, "I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'"
Exodus 16:11-12
Deism was a belief system that was popular around the time of the founding of our republic. It advanced the idea that God was like a watchmaker who built and put together all the parts of the universe, set them in motion, and then just left creation to its own devices. This is the sort of belief John Calvin was referring to when he wrote:

It were cold and lifeless to represent God as a momentary Creator, who completed his work once for all, and then left it. Here, especially, we must dissent from the profane, and maintain that the presence of the divine power is conspicuous, not less in the perpetual condition of the world than in its first creation. For, although even the wicked are forced, by the mere view of the earth and sky, to rise to the Creator, yet faith has a method of its own in assigning the whole praise of creation to God.
 John Calvin, Institutes 1.16.1

The fancy word for what Calvin talks about is providence. Providence is not just a city in Rhode Island, but is something that's found throughout the Bible. One of the best examples is the way God provided for Israel in the wilderness. Lest we take God's generosity for granted, the sustenance God provided in the wilderness could not be stored—they could only gather enough of it for one day at a time. 

While there are preachers today who claim that God will overload us with material blessings if only we have enough faith, the witness of the scriptures is that God's people can count on no more than is needed. May I live today in gratitude for what I have, in hope for what I do not have, and in generosity for what I have left over.

For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
 Hebrews 10:36
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Grant me what I need for life, O God. And grant me the faithfulness to realize that if I have too much, my response must be to share with those who do not have enough. Thus may you help me realize that I may be the answer to someone else's prayer for their daily bread.
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

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