Many men of the Old Testament were remarkable leaders, pioneers, and patriarchs in our early faith. One of these men was Abraham. He is known by many as the “father of faith.” And he bears this title because he was willing to adventure into the great unknown, taking one step at a time with God regardless of the human and natural consequences. When God invited Abraham to depart his hometown of Ur to go to a land he had never seen, he simply trusted God and launched out into the great venture of his life. He had no road map or awareness of the obstacles he would encounter along the way, but he understood that if God asked something of him that He would also provide for him. God provides, time after time.
Thus, it was no different when God told him to adventure into the unthinkable—a human sacrifice of his only son Isaac on the Mountain of the Lord. Yet, strangely enough, Abraham did the unthinkable; he quickly obeyed. He took his son and the wood they needed and climbed the mountain immediately. Isaac’s inquiry on the way up the mountain still startles mothers and fathers today: And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God provides for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:7-8)
God Is the Provider—Not Us
Abraham walked into a teachable moment that men need to learn. God is the original and only Provider. God provides for the needs of all mankind. He owns all things. He knows all things. He sees the future of all things. So he provides exactly what we need to be given and when, since he owns, knows, and sees all things from beginning to end. He can provide all that we need at the given moment we need it, which is why Jesus instructs us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” It is through a daily and regular provision that God keeps us reliant on Him and from becoming reliant on self. The prophet Jeremiah says it like this:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
Every man has needs. The question is whether we look to ourselves as the source of those needs or trust God for them. Wise men understand that God provides. But often we believe we, “the man, the leader, the husband, the father” are the provider. Are we called to be responsible? Yes. Are we called to act like men? Yes. Are we the original provider? No.
Self-reliant men do not stand for long before the Lord, and Abraham was the father of faith because he understood there was one who provided, and he, Abraham, was not it. Yet Abraham was a virtuous, strong, wealthy man of God who understood this one thing; God is the source of all things. He is Lord of my life; therefore, I must quickly obey. Here are three things a great man remembers.
God provides to faithful men.
I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds. ~ Jeremiah 17:10
God loves to provide. It’s His great joy. And God is generous in the way He provides—love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness come in endless quantities because His supply is unlimited. However, in light of this, our response should be the free sharing of His riches with the world. But often, we selfishly withhold these resources. And God never entrusts a man who withholds his free and generous resources. Instead, He seeks men who can steward them appropriately, and He searches their hearts, even tests them along the path of life, and gives according to their ability. While God loves us regardless of our conduct, He provides to those who conduct themselves rightly—these are His faithful men.
God provides what brings Him glory.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
Man exists to bring glory to God. As a result, God provides for us in ways that give us more opportunity to draw attention to His glory. This may well mean that He will choose to provide for our needs in ways we don’t expect. The Apostle Paul lived with a deficiency that he asked God to remove. God declined because He wanted Paul and those around him to know that God’s “grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul responded, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9.
As God’s man, Paul understood that God’s strength came not from his power but the Father in, through, and by his weakness. This is counterintuitive for most men, but Paul accepted God’s decline because he knew that God provides what brings Him glory. And God is not looking for self-reliant men who want to bring glory to themselves. Instead, God is seeking God-reliant men in whom our weaknesses bring attention to God’s ever-expanding glory. This is a hard-learned lesson for many men because we misunderstand the grit and gumption that God seeks.
God is the provider, and the means of provision, man must trust.
God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son. Genesis 22:8
Whatever needs you may have, God is the source of satisfaction for those needs and the means of meeting those needs. We as men need to invest our whole life in trusting Him to do this perpetually. And for many men, this is challenging, humbling, and often does not work the way we want. Yet we must learn to pray for His provision, and trust He is listening. We must learn to wait for His response and trust His timing. We must learn to not play the follower and let him provide to bring glory to His name and not ours. God is the only reliable provider we have, and as we do this, those around us learn the character of a God who provides for us and can provide for their needs as well. As Abraham said, walking up a mountain where human sacrifice plagued his mind, “God will provide for himself.”
We live in an uncertain world. Our source of income could end tomorrow. Our investments could take a catastrophic dive. Our health could change in an instant. While life looks secure today, tomorrow might be different. Whether secure or insecure, we have a God who provides. Whatever your need, trust Him, and He will be faithful to you.
This article is an excerpt from Vince Miller’s book, 20 Lessons That Build a Man’s Finances.