Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunday Praise & Worship - The Blessing of the Second Kernel of Corn: God Will Provide

In all of our lives, we face moments when we may seem lost. It may even seem like, that for every time we have an abundant harvest, there are times of famine. Remember Pharaoh’s dream in Genesis 20. Pharaoh had dreams that perplexed him. He dreamed that he was standing on the banks of the Nile River. He saw seven fat, healthy cows coming out of the river only to be devoured by seven thin, scrawny cows. He also had another dream of seven heads of grain that were full and beautiful growing from a single stalk. Then, seven more heads of grain appeared but these were not full and beautiful like the first seven. They were blighted, shriveled and withered by the east wind. 

We, like Pharaoh, will go through periods of feast and famine in our lives. After enjoying a period of riches, abundance and excellent health, we may find ourselves facing job loss, financial ruin, medical problems and a whole host of other problems. The Pilgrims must have felt the same way. They had such great hope for this new land. It was to be their new Canaan land promised to them by God. 

After arriving here, they endured nothing but one hardship after another. Failed crops, harsh winters and disease seemed to be the bill of fare. However, they continued to have faith in God and believed that He would provide for them. I am sure that they often thought of the lessons of Genesis 20. There would be times of plenty and plight. They just had to remain steadfast in their faith and know that He would provide for them even if it meant rationing food.

Their situation had gotten so bad that they had to ration the corn to survive. Each person received five kernels of corn daily to eat. Can you imagine having only five kernels of corn to eat daily and that is all you had? However, each continued to pray and thank God for even the five kernels each day.

In time, God provided a harvest for them to enjoy. Instead of forgetting the period of famine, they chose to remember those hard times by placing five kernels of corn on their plates and to remember what each one meant. The second kernel reminded them that God is truly Jehovah Jireh, “The Lord will provide.”

Genesis 22 tells us of God’s test of Abraham’s faith. God commands Abraham to take his one and only son, Isaac, and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Abraham, a man of faith, does as he is instructed. It did not mean that he loved Isaac, his son, less. It meant that he loved and trusted God more. Just as he was about to sacrifice his son, an angel of the Lord called out to Abraham, “12 Don’t lay a hand on the boy! Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” Just at that moment, Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the brush. He took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering to God. Later, Abraham named the place, Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”)."

As we go through the rough times, we must realize that our faith is being tested. It is easy to say that we believe in God when we enjoy times of plenty. It is quite a different thing when we endure times of plight. Our faith is shaken and we have a choice to make in our lives. Do we endure and trust God to provide for our needs? Or, do we give up on Him and listen to the whispers of Satan? Satan will ask you one question that will easily shake your faith, “Where is your God now?”

Over the past year, my family and I have faced one trial after another. Our season of plenty abruptly ended. My good health departed from me and I faced the horrible prospect of death from my illness. There were times when we questioned the Lord. We began to wonder even if He was listening to our prayers. Just this past week, we had more and more problems occur. Each challenged our faith in the Lord. Although each problem in and of itself was minor, when you pile them one atop another in a short period of time and also have the other problems still in play, it is overwhelming. My wife and I found ourselves crying almost daily and pleading with the Lord to lift our burdens from us. It is at those moments we remember the lesson of Abraham and the words of Psalm 42. “9 ‘O God my rock,’ I cry, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?’ 10 Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, ‘Where is this God of yours?’ 11 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!

By keeping our hope firmly planted in God, we know that God will always provide all that we need. He will not only provide for our physical needs but He will also provide for our salvation through His son, Christ Jesus. In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us, “9 Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Even if everything is taken away from us, we, as Christians, know that our heavenly treasures cannot be destroyed or consumed by rust, eaten by moths or stolen by thieves. If we concern ourselves with our earthly treasures, the desires of our heart will remain here and not with the Lord.

Later in Matthew 6, Jesus tells us, “31 So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

When we remain faithful and seek the Lord and His kingdom daily, we can rest assured, like the Israelites wandering in the desert, that He will provide food and water and guide us through the tough times. 

As you go through your times of abundance, keep your mind, heart and soul focused squarely on the Lord. When the times of adversity come into your life, you must do the same. Keep your mind, heart and soul focused squarely on the Lord. By living righteously and following daily, you can know beyond doubt that the Lord will provide and know that you can stand firm in His grace.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.
~ Numbers 6:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

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