And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king, a portion for each day, all the days of his life. (2 Kings 25:30)
Christians can be so easily tempted into the place of ‘never enough,’ the place where financial security and material possessions become the measure of our blessings. We rely on what we can see and touch to prove that God loves us and cares for us, and if we fall short of expected provision, it creates a rift, a misunderstanding between ourselves and God, a sense of disappointment, perhaps, that continues to fester inside. Bitterness creeps in, along with a sense of inadequacy, or perhaps even guilt – we’re responsible for shutting out God’s blessings. The place of ‘never enough’ is the place where we look at what we hold in our hand and see what it isn’t, rather than what it is. It’s the place where we see the small portion for today without seeing the promise for tomorrow, where we cannot see tomorrow’s harvest contained in today’s tiny seed. The real truth is that no harvest is really possible unless we learn to live in the always enough of God, the absolute truth and power of our daily portion.
The shift from never enough to the always enough of God is, first and foremost, one of choice.
The real truth is that we decide what to believe. This should be based only on what we find in God’s Word and not what we see in our lives. The whole essence of faith is believing when we cannot see. If we could see, what would be the point of having faith? Today’s verse is a wonderful reminder that we can and should have faith for the always enough of God, for the daily portion we need today. Jehoiachin was given a daily portion that provided him with everything he needed, every day, for the rest of his life. It’s important to note that he remained in captivity. His daily portion did not include his freedom, but it did include everything he needed for each day.
This is a critical fact, the place where we so often go wrong in our faith for the always enough of God. We assume that it will include everything we think we need rather than everything God knows we need. My perception of my need is usually very different to God’s certain knowledge of my need. It’s unlikely that we will ever, in this life, actually come to a place where my perception and God’s knowledge are in complete agreement. That’s because we, in our human frailty, tend to separate our needs and focus on those that are obvious, with financial security top of the list. God, on the other hand, approaches the issues from a completely different persepective. He is always concerned, first and foremost, with our salvation and the condition of our souls. The always enough of God will include and focus on those things we require to bring us closer to Him, to increase our faith, and to lead us into His plans and purposes.
It’s an unavoidable and inarguable reality that we require money to survive in this world – and with inflation and everything else, we require more of it every day. Even without extravegant desires and plans, we are forced by the world into a place where finances have become the single most important focus of our lives. This truth is reflected in our churches – various prosperity gospels proliferate, people are manipulated into giving, false promises of ‘great harvests’ and abundance are promulgated, and the eyes of God’s people are increasingly turned toward Mammon out of the simple desire to survive and provide for our families. In all this pressure and stress, we so easily lose sight of the always enough of God, thus digging ourselves deeper into the hole.
So what, then, is meant by the always enough of God? Surely, if we cannot provide for our families, if we cannot get out of unwanted debt, if we cannot ensure financial security in our old age, this cannot be considered always enough? In one sense this is absolutely correct. It’s fact and undeniable. But it’s also short-sighted. It’s not the facts that are the issue but our attitude towards them. Jesus made some remarkable statements which put the issue of finances very firmly into the realm of ‘not important.’ Consider the sparrows and the lilies of the field are two, but it’s well worth digging into the gospels and discoverning just how He really felt about money. In order for our daily provision – which God promised even as far back as manna in the wilderness – to be real, we need to consider the reality that money is actually last on the list. To God, it’s a tool rather than an objective.
The always enough of God includes so many things, but it does not include immunity from the trials, tribulations, and hardships of life. Nowhere does Jesus promise smooth sailing – I always remind myself that the disciples endured a good dose of the storm before Jesus stilled it. He acted when the time was right, not when they thought they needed it, and that was when they had learned that they needed Him, that He alone was their salvation. Financial hardship is but one of the trials we may be called to endure, and sadly, it’s often the only one that will bring a change of heart. It’s all too easy to have faith when there’s money in the bank. Take it all away, and we quickly learn that our plans and purposes are for nothing, that our effort achieves nothing, and that God alone has the power to sustain us.
These are the daily needs included in the always enough of God. Strength, grace, mercy, wisdom, faith – to mention only a few. Whatever situation we’re in, God will first provide what we need to bring us to our correct place in Him. The little seeds we see in our hand and which we perceive as never enough are, in fact, the mustard seeds of faith. If we see what we have rather than what we don’t have, faith stirs, and with it, and abundance of provision that exceeds our expectations. How often have we got through a difficult time and looked back, only to realise that we could never have done it in our own strength? The always enough of God enables us to get through it, and we will always find ourselves stronger and wiser in Him.
Our daily provision is the seed for our harvest. Every blessing we receive today needs to be sown. It needs to be buried in our hearts and watered with thanksgiving and the Spirit. It needs to root in our spirits, grounded in Jesus Himself, and push forth new growth to His glory. It’s a slow process, and we endure the howling winds, the crushing storms, and the barren deserts all the while. These serve to make the growth a little stronger, to push the root deeper, and to bring us closer to God. In Him, all things are possible, and the always enough of God ensures that, each day, we sow for an abundant harvest. Our finances are incidental. God knows we need money in this world, and has already made plans to provide. But we need to first sow the things of the Kingdom before He will trust us with abundant wealth.
Jehoiachin learned to be satisfied with his daily provision because he received it from the hand of the king. That is how we enjoy the always enough of God – we know that we have received it from the hand of the King, and we know, by faith, that it is enough for that moment. As an example, my daughter and I endured a terribly difficult time of every kind of hardship rolled into one, but we received a remarkable blessing. God gave us the ability to find something to laugh about in every single seemingly impossible difficulty. While laughter didn’t fix the problem, it stirred the joy of the Lord inside. It changed our focus. It really is true that the joy of the Lord is our strength. While the joy is real, we find the strength we need to endure. When we endure with our eyes fixed on the source of our joy, our perception shifts and impossible things become possible. The daily provision of a seemingly ridiculous ‘blessing’ worked a miracle in our lives. It transformed us from the place of never enough – a very real and difficult place – to the place of the always enough of God.
Never enough and always enough represent the very real place of confrontation. It’s the place where we evaluate the tiny seeds we hold in our hand and decide what to believe. It’s the place where we make a life-changing decision of faith. It’s the place where, faced by overwhelming storms and difficulties, we stand still and look with eyes that see the always enough of God. In the eyes of the world it’s foolishness, but in God’s eyes it’s wisdom from Him. So often, frustrated by all the things we couldn’t do, my daughter and I would dig deep for the joy of the Lord. Then we would look to see what we could do in the sure and certain knowledge that God had provided what we needed for right here, right now.
The world teaches us to look ‘long term.’ We find ourselves constantly planning for tomorrow – usually in our own strength – and so living in a future that has no foundation. God is not concerned with tomorrow – Jesus says clearly that it has problems of its own. He is concerned with today. The always enough of God is for this moment, the one we find ourselves in right now. And as we live in the always enough of God, we will find ourselves sowing from our daily provision – the ability to offer comfort, even though our own hearts are breaking, the strength to avoid anger, even though we’re justified, the courage to stand for the truth, even though everything around us contradicts it. Then, one day, as we emerge from the storm and the darkness into a place of green pastures and still waters, we look back in amazement, and we see that the always enough of God for yesterday provided a harvest of grace for today.
Thank You, Lord, for Your abundant blessings, and forgive us for all those we overlook in our wrong perceptions. Help us to see Your provision for today rather than focusing on our perceived need for tomorrow. Grant us the faith and the grace to stand firm in Your promises, knowing that in everything, You have provided and will work all things to our good.