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Friday, March 4, 2011

God’s provisions

Deuteronomy 24:19-22 (New Living Translation) 19 “When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do. 20 When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 21 When you gather the grapes in your vineyard, don’t glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 22 Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. That is why I am giving you this command.

Leviticus 19 (New Living Translation) 9 “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. 10 It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:22 (New Living Translation) 22 “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God.”


I was studying the topic of a redeemer and read the book of Ruth to get some insight on the subject. I saw where Boaz, Ruth’s redeemer, directed his harvesters not only to leave what God instructed them to do per Deuteronomy and Leviticus but told them to leave extra grain for her to pick up. At the end of the day, she had gathered a full basket to take home to her mother-in-law Naomi.

What I see in this story in Ruth is that it is the fulfilling of the Lord’s command to leave provisions for the poor, the orphaned and the foreigner. God wants his people to share with the less fortunate and the foreigners or strangers in the land who might not have food or work.

The straight and simple is God had made provision for all of us. The provision is already there it is up to us to find it and gather it. God made provisions but each person still had to go out and gather it. They still had to do something. They had to work for it. As the saying goes: “there is no free lunch”. Many Christians are sitting around waiting for “the check in the mail” or gold to fall from the sky or to win the lottery. It is not going to happen. There may be a few cases of free money but often the person who received laid the groundwork to receive that money. They have given and paid the price that causes them to receive that “free” money. In the end, it really was not free. The rule always applies “You reap what you sow”.

All my life when I prayed for more money I usually had to work for it. The opportunity to work overtime would offer itself. A side job would be there just when I needed it. The message I want to share today is that we, Christians, will always have to earn what we need. If you lack what you need, look around, the provision is there somewhere.

I remember a story I read years ago about a priest in a small church that needed money to provide for his poor parishioners. He prayed and prayed but nothing came. He was getting desperate when the Lord finally got through to him and said, “I’ve already provided for you, look around you”. The priest got up and looked around the little plot of land on which the church stood. They built the church in an old pecan orchard and it was full of pecans that were just falling to the ground. People usually just picked up what they wanted for themselves but nobody gave thought to gathering them and selling them. The priest got some parishioners to join him and between them, they gather a number of baskets to sell in the market. Strangely, the money they received was just enough to meet their needs.

So it is with us. Nothing is actually free. That is part of the American ideal. You get to work as hard as you want, make all you want to make and keep it. God said, “If you don’t work you don’t eat”. Many people in American, Christians included, want a free ticket, a free meal or a handout from either God or the government, or a winning lottery ticket. Instead, you need to look around. Maybe you are standing in your orchard. Maybe what you have been praying for is right beneath your feet or just above your head. God has instructed the world to leave provision for His children. We still have to harvest it. Look around you; find out where God wants you so you can bring in your harvest. It is there, waiting for you.


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