Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
In this passage, Joseph’s brothers fear that with their father gone, Joseph will retaliate and harm them. But Joseph had encountered God in the midst of unwelcome circumstances, trusted in His provision, and experienced the reality of God working through him to save many people. His awareness of God’s provision gave him the capacity to show kindness to his brothers.
- Where in your life have you seen God work in and through you in spite of devastating circumstances?
- How easy is it for you to treat those who have harmed you in the past with kindness?
- Is there a relationship that is defined by hurt that you would like to lift up God?
Gracious God, as humans living among one another, we are recipients and perpetrators of hurt, intentionally and unintentionally. As those places of hurt come to mind, we lift them up to you. Thank you for holding our hurt gently and pulling us close. Through your grace and compassion, help us to find healing and forgiveness, and trust that whatever has happened, you will intend it for good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.
We have a compassionate God, who listens to our complaining and doesn’t wait for us to ask nicely. The instructions of God around picking up just enough manna for each day is echoed by Jesus in his instructions on how to pray - “give us this day our daily bread.” There is a posture of trust that God is inviting us to that acknowledges Him as Our Provider, and all we have – possessions, relationships, gifts – as His provision.
- Where do you see God’s provision in your life?
- Are there people in your life who you may see as your provider, rather than God’s provision?
- Take time to ponder the difference between provider and provision.
Gracious God, you are our Provider, giving us good things while at the same time inviting us to keep our eyes on you. Give us this day our daily bread. We depend on you for what we need each day. Help us to live in the reality that all we have, all we are, all the relationships we enjoy – all are your provision, your gifts to us, drawing us closer to You. Keep our focus on you as we trust you each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers,
fire and flame your ministers.
There are some psalms that declare God as the provider and list the many ways we live in and enjoy his provision around us. The psalmist uses beautiful imagery in an attempt to get to the majesty and glory of our Provider God. Worship invites us to transcend our daily tasks and activities and opens wide our hearts with wonder at the infinite greatness of our God.
- Are there places you go where you sense God’s greatness?
- What words come to mind as you seek to worship God?
- What can you do today to create space in your day to acknowledge God’s majesty and greatness?
Gracious and majestic God, there is no other one like You. As we go about our day, living in the work of your hands, lift our minds and hearts to you in worship. As we worship you, align our lives with you that all we do, say, think, and imagine is an expression of worship for who You are. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
You set the earth on its foundations,
so that it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they flee;
at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys
to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.
We’ve learned a lot about the natural world since these words were written. In our scientific minds, it is easy to cancel out the wonder of how creation works, seeking instead to explain it away. As we worship God as our Provider, we bring our minds, bodies, souls and spirits to experience and express our conviction that behind all things, explainable and unexplainable, is the God who spoke all things into existence.
- How do you reconcile the scientific explanations of nature with God’s creative work on earth?
- What questions do these verses stir up in you?
- How do these verses invite you to a greater trust in God?
Gracious God, we acknowledge that you stand above the heavens and the earth, unchanged by what we learn and discover. In the mystery of why and how you chose to create, give us a sense of awe that allows space for what there is to learn about our creation and to worship you as the ultimate Creator and Sustainer of all we enjoy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills,
giving drink to every wild animal;
the wild asses quench their thirst.
By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation;
they sing among the branches.
From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
God shows no partiality when it comes to providing for his creation. Animals and birds alike share in the worship of God for his provision. We can learn from the simpler in creation how to be satisfied with the fruit of God’s work when we stop and acknowledge Him as Creator, Sustainer, and Provider. Each birdsong we hear is an invitation to worship.
- When was the last time you heard birds sing?
- How does the fruit of God’s work satisfy you?
- How can you make it a practice to experience the fruit of God’s work? What would that look like?
Gracious God, Provider of all we need, we worship you for your provision, your gifts, your creation which we inhabit and which you delight to sustain for us. In this time when there are so many material and temporal things to grab our attention, give us the presence of mind and heart to turn to you and find our satisfaction in you, our Provider, and express gratitude for what you have given us, our provision. In Jesus’ name, Amen.