God is able to manifest His favour through even the most likely sources. He makes divine provision and restoration available to us through the cross. To receive this we must go out from our Egypt and live set apart as His people. The purpose of His perfect provision is the work of His kingdom. Unless we are willing to go out and let go of our bondages, we will never receive the full abundance of life in Christ.
And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. (Exodus 3:21)
This is a remarkable verse because it highlights the power of God to accomplish what is impossible in natural terms. This supernatural intervention manifests in divine provision. It clearly reveals that He does not need ‘favourable circumstances’ in order to create and release divine provision. A quick look at context is enlightening. First, the Israelites were slaves – no rights, no say, and no real identity as a nation given their subservient status. Second, as slaves, they were valuable to the Egyptians. In the bigger scheme of things, the Egyptians would not have willingly let them go. We see this in the evidence of Pharoah’s refusal and the plagues. Third, both of these factors together would have made it unlikely that the oppressors would then have dug deep into their own pockets to give to the Israelites, let alone as generously as they did. This was God at work.
Divine provision manifests God’s favour.
What a wonderfully liberating truth. Divine provision has nothing at all to do with circumstances, ourselves, the people around us, or any impossibilities in our situation. All good things come from God alone, and are freely given in whatever manner He decides according to His perfect grace and favour. The power in this truth lies in the absolute certainty that if God decides to give it, it’s a done deal. He can and will use anything – even the enemy – to release His favour and provision on His people. The first reason for this is that it works to His glory. When He works the impossible He reveals His I AM power and sovereignty and no one can claim any part of it. His glory alone is manifest. The second reason is that His purpose is to provision His people for every need in a supernatural and powerful way.
We mustn’t fall into the trap, however, of seeing God’s favour and divine provision in only the big or miraculous things. Even the tiniest and seemingly inconsequential things are of God and as much a part of His supernatural provision as the dramatic miracles. He is the only source of every good thing, little or large. In simple terms, God’s favour is His desire to provide, guide, help, and empower us. It’s less about material blessings than spiritual blessings. Though divine provision does also manifest in financial terms depending on the need, the focus is always spiritual with everything else necessary flowing from that. If God provides materially it’s always because there is a specific spiritual purpose. He gives abundantly so that we can abound unto every good work, not simply so we can have an abundance. God’s favour – His desire to provision us – is the source of blessings.
Restoration is part of divine provision.
In today’s particular verse, there is a strong focus on the restorative aspect of divine provision. I’m reminded here of Proverbs 6:31, Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; He may have to give up all the substance of his house. While this verse relates specifically to the Jewish law and the treatment of thieves, it applies powerfully to the context of Egypt and Israel and believers and the powers of darkness. It’s a truth God has graciously manifested in my life and used also to teach me a valuable lesson. Like the Israelites, believers were previously enslaved and their rightful possessions stolen by the oppressors. In this respect, Moses is the type of Christ, who is our Saviour who came to restore to us all that was lost. It’s also relevant that this restoration takes place at the beginning of the journey and end of slavery.
Restoration manifests in different ways. It may come from those who have oppressed us, from unexpected sources, and finally, as a truly miraculous intervention that is literally the enemy compelled to restore what has been stolen. In this last one, there is no visible explanation or logic that can explain a supernatural act of divine provision except God enforcing His law. Once again, we need to keep in mind that the ‘treasures’ we receive are not necessarily material or financial. They can be faith, strength, joy, peace, restoration of relationships, etc. God always works from the spirit outwards. Even the devil doesn’t focus on finances. In fact, if he can use them to deceive us into depending on our bank balance instead of God, he’ll make sure we have plenty. He will only steal our resources as a means to steal our true spiritual blessings and intimacy with God.
Divine provision and going out.
There’s a deeper message here than simply God providing and restoring, and that has to do with going out. God did not provide for and restore the Israelites when they remained in Egypt. He did so when they obeyed His command to go out of Egypt. Then, and only then, did He release His favour as a miraculous intervention to make supernatural restoration. Divine provision always has a purpose way beyond simply taking care of our needs. Yes, He has promised to love, protect, guard, guide, teach, provide, etc. But this is only the beginning. The larger purposes of His kingdom are always His primary focus, but He blesses us abundantly along the way. To grasp this, we need to understand that Israel’s purpose in going out was to become a people of God who would reveal Him to the world. They could not have done this in Egypt.
The reason why they had to go out was to become a people set apart for God. They had to live separated from the world so there could be no doubt or diminishing of God’s glory. The same is true for believers today. We are to live in the world but apart from the world. This means a deliberate going out of the world. Our verse today says ‘when you go’ not ‘if you go,’ so there’s no doubt that He intends us to leave ‘Egypt’ and live set apart. Divine provision and restoration is released when we go. We don’t receive it first then go but step out in faith in the certainty that He has promised it. He responds to our obedience with favour, and favour manifests in perfect provision. But it means that we must make the decision to go and then act on it in faith.
When divine provision seems lacking.
I have learned by the long, hard road – and unnecessarily so, but I was fearfully stubborn – that remaining even partially in Egypt creates a spiritual blockage that delays divine provision. This isn’t an issue for condemnation, because the reality is that we are human and will work through our fleshly side for the rest of our lives. There will always be something that we need to leave behind. The truth is that God won’t withhold all provision and restoration until we’ve got it all together and are perfect. That day would never come. We already have all we need because Jesus bought and paid for it on the cross. The problem, though, is that there are parts of us which still hang on to Egypt. If there is any worldly or fleshly are we refuse to go out of, provision for this going out won’t manifest.
God is love, He is gracious, and He showers us with His favour, but His spiritual principles continue to operate. I’ve learned now that if divine provision seems lacking, I need to look at what I’m hanging onto. To go out means to separate utterly from something. It isn’t a half-hearted compromise. It’s a constant choice between living as people of God or simply claiming to be people of God. Had the Israelites not obeyed God’s instructions and followed each command, the provision and restoration would not have materialised. To go out in the purposes of God requires that we must first live in the purposes of God. This means to willingly let go and not look back. It’s a kind of Red Sea separation, utterly complete so that there is no chance ever of returning to the slavery we have been delivered from.
Divine provision is provision for life.
God’s purpose is that we should live life – His life – in all its fullness and abundance. The material and financial things of this world are simply the means to this end. They’re a tool to empower us, one small part of His divine provision. Our purpose is to live set apart, separated from the world, and complete in Him. Complete means lacking nothing. This life is the life of the Spirit. It’s regeneration and the greatest gift of restoration available. New birth is the first step in divine provision. It’s access to life in Christ and all the manifold blessings that are our inheritance in Him. But it’s all for the purposes of the kingdom. Everything is given to enable us to live as His people, in His service, and for His will. It’s not about us but about His sovereign, perfect purposes.
But we must first go out from the past and the slavery from which He has delivers us. We must yield and let go, and we will never go empty-handed. Divine provision is promised and will not be withheld. It may not take the form we expect but will always be perfect and in abundance. When we go out, it will be in the certainty of His promises.
Thank You, Lord, for Your grace and favour that releases Your supernatural divine provision into our lives. Help us to go, to take the first step in faith as people called to live set apart and separated unto You for Your purposes. Strengthen us to leave the things of Egypt behind and relinquish the old bondages in exchange for new life in Jesus. Teach us to live it to Your glory, so the world will know the power and majesty of Your Holy name.