As I ponder today’s title, “The Lord Provides in the Wilderness,” I can hear the subtle whispers of my heart, exposing what’s true: I want God and His provision, but I don’t want wilderness seasons for me or for those I love. This is because, when I consider wilderness seasons, I only perceive a lack. I see no room for an abundant harvest.
But what if seasons that feel barren are birthing the very characteristics that make us more like Jesus? What if our wilderness brings forth a kind of fruit that the barren ground of our insecurities and unanswered questions couldn’t possibly imagine? What if our perceived lack leads us to a greater dependence on God’s provision? Isn’t that the best place to be? Postured to receive God’s provision and not my own.
As unexpected wilderness seasons have arrived, so has the much needed reorientation of my theology—both what I perceive and what I believe about God and His provision. And I can’t help but wonder, as I lean closely into today’s narrative, if maybe the Israelites’ struggle looked much like mine—like ours.
Today’s passage offers you and I the same invitation in our wanderings that was presented to the Israelites thousands of years ago—to turn our gaze and look to Him, the One who provides not just material substance but His sustaining grace, even in the dry and weary wilderness.
As Aaron was speaking to the entire Israelite community, they turned toward the wilderness, and there in a cloud the LORD’s glory appeared.
The radiant glory and abundant provision of the Lord appeared even in the gloomy darkness of the wilderness. Day after day, month after month, year after year, the Israelites were positioned to trust God—to look upon His manifest glory through the miraculous rain of bread from heaven day by day (Deuteronomy 8:3). In Egypt, they’d had to work tirelessly to earn their bread, but God brought them to a wilderness to remind them their daily abundance comes only through Him. They could not earn it, and they could not live off yesterday’s manna nor faith. God’s people were called to trust Him daily as they partook of the daily bread. If only they had continued to fix their gaze and looked to Him in every circumstance (1Corinthians 10:1–5). And if only we would fix our gaze and look to Him.
In our wilderness do we turn our gaze and look to God’s provision for us, Jesus Christ, the bread of life—the more sufficient and sustainable bread that came from heaven? Do we perceive this daily abundance, even in dry, barren seasons? Behold, Jesus Christ, our sacrificial provision for all our days!
And we, like the Israelites, don’t have to earn it, but we do have to bring our trust daily, believing that the Lord provides in our wilderness, causing the barren ground of our souls to produce eternal, abundant fruitfulness through the Spirit.