Counting on God
Read Philippians 4:18-19 (ESV)
I have received full payment, and more. I am well-supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
How are you depending on God to supply your needs?
One of my favorite narratives in the Old Testament talks about how God provided for His people after they fled from Pharaoh. You can read about it in Exodus 15 and 16. In Exodus 15, the people are praising and dancing before God because He rescued them from Pharaoh’s hand. They had witnessed His power in the plagues and in parting the Red Sea. They knew He was a great and powerful God, capable of miraculous deeds.
But by the end of chapter 15, they were already grumbling and complaining. They had been walking in the wilderness for 3 days and they couldn’t find any water. When they finally did find water, it was not drinkable. So they complained to Moses. Moses cried out on their behalf and God told Moses to throw a log in the water. The water became sweet and pure.
You’d think they’d trust His provision from now on! But sadly, they don’t. By chapter 16, they are whining for food so, after sending some quail that evening, God rains down bread from heaven the next morning, and six mornings a week after. Once again, God provides. They had just enough manna for every day. No more and no less—probably because God knew they needed to practice relying on Him.
In today’s verse, we see a much different attitude towards the provision of God. Paul is in prison. We know that he had to go without the Philippians’ offering for some time (Phil. 4:10) but that he recently received an offering they sent with Epaphroditus. But we don’t know how much he was given. Still, Paul says that he is now well-supplied, and that God is pleased with their sacrifice. He didn’t grumble that they didn’t give enough. He didn’t complain that what they gave wasn’t what he was expecting. Instead, he says “I have received full payment, and more.”
Unlike the Israelites, Paul is an example of contentment. Remember when Paul shared the secret to contentment? In Philippians 4:12b-13 he said: “In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Paul depended on God. He counted on Him to give him everything that he needed. And because of that, he wasn’t worried. He didn’t grumble. He was grateful.
Paul also expressed something that is an encouragement to us today as well. He said that just as God met Paul’s needs through their offering, He would also supply all of their needs. He is a rich and generous God! He has more than enough to provide for us all. But we have to count on Him. Sometimes day by day like the Israelites with the manna. Sometimes we just have enough. Other times, we can say that we are well-supplied or even experiencing an overflow of blessing. In any circumstance, God has proven time and time again to His people that He supplies what we need. He is our Provider.
I have to admit that I am often more like the Israelites than I am like Paul. It’s easier to practice grumbling than it is to practice gratefulness. But God has showed up for me over and over again. He has shown me that I can trust Him to provide. He has proven faithful. And friend, you can count on Him, too.
Lord, thank You for providing for me. You have been faithful to meet my needs. Whether I am experiencing plenty or just living day by day, I know that I can count on You to give me what I need. Please forgive me for my grumbling and cultivate a grateful heart in me. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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