Remember...the Provider

They say that there are many things we take for granted until we no longer have them. This morning a friend was being thankful for being able to go to the grocery store and get everything on her list without any difficulty. She grew up in Venezuela where shortages have been common and acute for many years. It reminded me of how long it took me to stop worrying about not being able to find toilet paper even after I returned to Canada from service in Caracas. We seldom think about toilet paper until there isn't any!

This morning's "remember" passage comes from Deuteronomy 8:17, 18. Moses reminds Israel of this: "You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today."

We pride ourselves on our ability to provide for ourselves and for our families. And sometimes that pride makes us forgetful. Moses's warning to God's people was to remember, not their ability, but God's ability to provide them with the capacity to look after themselves and their families. It was a reminder to be grateful, to not take for granted what they had.

It was also a reminder that it is easy to turn ourselves into idols and think more highly of ourselves and our abilities than we ought. Every success is something to celebrate but always with the heartfelt recognition that only by God's grace was that success achievable.

Earlier in Deuteronomy 8, Moses reminds Israel that the land that God has given them is a good land where all their needs will be satisfied. Then he adds: "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord God, failing to observe his commands, laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery" (vss. 10-14).

Forgetting God's provision is closely linked with forgetting to follow Him. When we become ungrateful, when we become proud of ourselves, we are much more prone to forget His instructions too.

Regularly being thankful for His provision and recognizing that everything we are and have is from Him, reminds us of our obligations toward Him. Gratitude also makes obedience easy. When He has done so much, we realize just how little He actually asks of us, and how great the blessing is when we follow Him closely and trust Him to look after our every need.

Just how important is remembering with gratitude? For me it is essential. When I stopped worrying about finding toilet paper I stopped being grateful that God was providing toilet paper and the means to buy it. It's a silly example, but you get the point. When I have it, I don't miss it. When I don't miss it, I forget to be grateful for it, and I forget that it is ultimately God who provides it for me.

So it is important to: Remember... the Provider.


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