What Does God Want Us to Learn in Times of Need and Times of Plenty?

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I recently read that there are two tools God uses to bring about spiritual maturity. (I can’t remember where I read it.)

  1. God gives us less than we think we need or deserve.
  2. God gives us us more than we think we need or deserve.
Of course, this is the assumption behind the prayer in Proverbs 30:8-9.

“Two things I ask of you, O Lord;

do not refuse me before I die:

8Keep falsehood and lies far from me;

give me neither poverty nor riches,

but give me only my daily bread.

9Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you

and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’

Or I may become poor and steal,

and so dishonor the name of my God.

There are inherent dangers with either having less or more than we ought.

If there are dangers, the key question is why would God give us less or more?  What would God want us to learn in our poverty or in our wealth?

The Lessons Less Ought to Teach Us

Immediately following the exodus from Israel, God lead his people into the desert (Ex. 15:22).  God knew that there were things his children could not learn unless they spent time with him in the desert.  When there was a lack of water, people had to turn to God.  When there was a lack of food, people had to turn to God.

In the desert, you cannot survive without complete dependance on God.

The desert is God’s kindergarten for the spiritual man.  In the desert, God makes absolutely sure we’re able to give the correct answers related to his provision.

In the desert, if a man asked, “Who provides every good thing you have?” The answer is God.

God even expresses his reservations that in the land of plenty people might forget him.  They might begin to deceive themselves that all they have comes from their own hand.  He leads his people into the desert to be sure they have the right understanding about his kingship, sovereignty, and rule.  Once they’ve learned the lessons of faith, trust, and dependance, they are ready for the second growth area – giving them plenty.

The Lessons More Ought to Teach Us

Our God is a good God, and he wants us to live life to its fullness.  In the garden, God provided Adam with everything he needed on this earth.  In fact, when God saw that Adam lacked something – a companion – God provided a woman by his grace.  The garden was a place full of plenty.

When God delivered his people, he wanted them to live in a land flowing with milk and honey.

It’s in God’s nature to want to shower his blessings on his people.

When we have more than we deserve, God seeks to give us more resources from which we can praise him.  Ultimately, all good things he’s given us are for his praise, honor, and glory.

God allows those of us with more to participate with him in the growth of the kingdom.  He blesses us with the charge to stand with him in reflecting his goodness and greatness on this earth.

If you are in a time of plenty or a time of need, I challenge you to ask God: what is it you want me to learn in this stage of my life? 



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