Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – September 4, 2016
Theme: Standing on God’s Promises
Topic: I Will Provide for You
Main Texts: Genesis 22:1-14; 1 Kings 17:7-16
Key Verse: Genesis 22:8: ” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burntoffering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.” (NIV)
Last Sunday, in studying God’s promise “I Will Protect You”, we saw the all-encompassing nature of His promised protection. We also noted that we have a part to play if we are to benefit from His protection. Our key learning from the study include:
- God’s promise of protection is not only for the physical protection – even though that is included, but also from all that threatens the personal spiritual well-being, and that of His Church. This is clearly seen in the prayer Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17. The Christian can legitimately expect this full protection from God.
- The Christian needs protection from the increasing hostility to God’s point of view on issues of life – the hostility that pressures the Christian into replacing God’s standards with the world’s corrupted standards. We should especially recognise the need and pray for our children – especially those exposed to foreign cultures in other lands – to be protected from negative influences and anti-God environments.
- As stated in Psalm 91:1, it is only by staying under God’s canopy all the time that we can be protected from all attacks. This involves truly living by God’s Word and taking sides with Him on all issues, even when it is unpopular to do so, or when it costs us something dear to us.
This Sunday, we will be considering God’s promise “I Will Provide for You”. Perhaps second only to the need for good health, the need for provision of life’s needs ranks tops in our desires and prayer. Apostle Paul, in saying “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” – (1Ti 6:8 NIV) – acknowledges these needs. In this study, we will be looking at the challenges we face, why it sometimes seems God is failing us, and our part in fully benefiting from this great promise. Our learning should include the following:
- We need to reduce our needs to those God considers essential. We often mistake our wants for our needs, sometimes in the name of demonstrating faith. However, God’s commitment is to meet our needs. He also often meets our wants – and we can indeed ask for our wants – but His meeting them is entirely at His discretion.
- God may be holding back from meeting what appears to be a need because He wants to warn us against making commitments well beyond our means – including commitments on the standard of living we wish to maintain, or the extent of material support we want to give others.
- Receiving from God to meet our needs is closely linked to our readiness to give what we have. Abraham gave up his only beloved son Isaac; the widow of Zarephath gave out her family’s last food ration in the middle of famine – all in obedience to God. God made His word good in their lives by providing for them.
- Whenever we are under pressure and fear that a genuine need may not be met, we should remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness to His word in the past.
Perhaps second only to His promise to heal us, God’s promise to provide for our needs is an all-time favourite of Christians – and even non-Christians. He has established such a track record of faithfulness to this promise we could wonder why anyone would doubt His readiness to meet any need. The stories of Abraham and of the widow of Zarephath which we have just read are examples of His miraculous provision. However, despite His reputation for providing to meet needs, we must admit that there are Christians in desperate need which, it seems, God is not meeting. Think of those unable to pay their house rent for months, or whose children have had to withdraw from school for failing to pay fees, or whose power supply has been disconnected for not paying the bills.
1. Think of a dire need you had which you wondered why God was not meeting. What reasons came to your mind as to why God was not meeting the need?
Apostle Paul, in his prophetic prayer for the Philippians, affirmed God’s readiness to meet our needs: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NIV). In discussing this Scripture, we are often rightly told that while God commits to providing for our needs, He does not necessarily commit to our wants. The challenge we sometimes face is knowing what our needs are as we often mistake our wants for our needs. Sometimes, we deliberately declare our wants to be our needs, in what we consider to be an exercise of faith. Consider the following: (a) When we live in a house whose rent exceeds our legitimate income and we are unable to pay; (b) When we manage to raise money to send our child to study overseas but are unable to raise money to keep him there after the first year; (c) When we commit to supporting more extended family relations than we can really support within our legitimate means.
2. (a) Is there a difference in our expectation when we believe God for what are clearly our needs and when we believe Him for things that are clearly in the realm of “wants”?
(b) What messages may God be passing on to us when He does not provide our wants such as those mentioned in the previous paragraph?
God’s name Jehovah-Jireh (which means The Lord our Provider) came about from Abraham obediently offering his only son Isaac to God. In giving the instruction, God emphasised the fact that Isaac was a most dear possession to Abraham: “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac … sacrifice him …” (Genesis 22:2). Also, the widow at Zarephath obediently gave away what was her family’s very last meal ration when God again proved Himself to be Jehovah- Jireh such that the ration was not depleted throughout the period of famine in the land. In His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ consistently demonstrated God’s ability and willingness to provide to meet people’s needs. In our two stories, two principles play out as regards God’s fulfilment of this promise: The beneficiary must (a) obey, and (b) be willing to part with what he or she treasures.
3. Let participants cite examples in the New Testament or their personal lives of those who benefitted from God’s provision by obediently giving up what they cherished.
Father, thank You for standing by Your promise to provide for me. Whenever I am in a desperate need, may Your Spirit remind me of Your faithfulness to Your word in times past. In Jesus’ name, Amen.