Ask Great Things Of A Great God
By Rich Carmichael
In late July, the other Herald staff members and I gathered around the skids of envelopes and packages containing copies of the August Herald. We gathered there to ask for the Lord’s provision for the funds needed to get all of these copies into the mail and on their way to readers. I praise the Lord that you are now reading the September issue because that means that not only did the Lord provide the necessary funds for shipping the August Herald, but He has supplied for the September issue as well!
And not only has He provided funds for mailing, but He has also provided another set of messages for this new issue. Those of us in the Herald office never cease to be amazed at how the Lord helps us gather material so that the twelve blank pages we begin with each month become full of messages to help encourage, stir up and strengthen the church. May He work deeply in your life and ministry through these messages!
The Lord Has Unlimited Resources
As I think about the Lord’s provision, I recall a recent experience that He used to teach me more about His vast resources. One morning, after putting an ear of corn outside to feed two neighborhood squirrels, I began to think about the supply of corn available for these squirrels. Although my wife and I only put out one ear of corn each day, we have dozens of ears of corn in a large bucket on our back porch. We did not raise this corn or buy it, but received it as a gift from my dad who has a supply for squirrels in his yard. He does not raise the corn either, but has a generous farmer friend who allows him to pick corn out of his field for this purpose. So in a very real sense, it is not just my wife and I who are feeding the squirrels, but my dad and his farmer friend have a hand in it also. From the perspective of the squirrels, there is only one ear of corn at any given time, but I know that there is actually a bucket of corn, and even a field of corn available for them.
But it goes far beyond the farmer, my dad, my wife and me. I realized more fully that morning that the Lord is ultimately the One supplying the corn for the squirrels. He is the One Who causes seed to grow and bear fruit many times what was sown. He is the One Who provides the sunshine and rain that the corn needs. The corn is a blessing from Him. And He does not have just one or a few cornfields, but every cornfield belongs to Him – and every other field as well! Of course, He owns not only the fields, but the mountains, the seas, and all the earth. "The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains…" (Psa. 24:1). And beyond this, He owns the universe in which the earth is suspended! His resources are vast and limitless!
The Lord Can Meet Your Needs
There is no doubt that He can meet the need of every animal and every person that looks to Him. "The eyes of all look to Thee, and Thou dost give them their food in due time. Thou dost open Thy hand, and dost satisfy the desire of every living thing" (Psa. 145:15-16). The truth over and over in the Scriptures is that our God is a faithful Provider Who has endless resources to meet our needs. In fact, not only is He able to "supply all [our] needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19), He "is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…" (Eph. 3:20).
Jesus teaches us to take note of how our Heavenly Father feeds the birds and how He clothes the grass, and to have faith that He will do much more for us (Matt. 6:25-30). Jesus also reminds us to "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened" (Matt. 7:7-8). For if we, "being evil, know how to give good gifts to [our] children, how much more shall [our] Father Who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" (Matt. 7:11). We can ask with much faith because we know our Heavenly Father cares for us and knows what we need even before we ask Him (Matt. 6:8).
God’s care and provision for us, of course, goes well beyond our physical needs. Do you need comfort? He is the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3). Do you need grace? He is able to make all grace abound (2 Cor. 9:8). Do you need peace? He has peace available that surpasses understanding (Phil. 4:7). Do you need compassion? He is full of compassion and mercy (Jas. 5:11), and His compassions never fail and are new every morning (Lam. 3:22). Do you need protection? He has the power to "protect you from all evil" and to "guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever" (Psa. 121:7-8; 2 Thes. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5). Do you need strength? He is "abundant in strength" (Psa. 147:5) and can enable you to go "from strength to strength" (Psa. 84:7). Do you need endurance? He is the God "who gives perseverance and encouragement" (Rom. 15:5). Do you need the security of His presence? He promises that He will never desert nor forsake His people (Heb. 13:5). Do you need spiritual life? He gives it abundantly (John 10:10). Do you need wisdom? He gives it generously (Jas. 1:5). Do you know someone who is resisting salvation? God is able to do the impossible (Mark 10:27) and save to the uttermost (Heb. 7:25). Do you need help in overcoming temptation? He is faithful to provide a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). Do you need healing? He is the Lord "Who heals all your diseases" (Psa. 103:3).
Do you need to become holy? He is able to sanctify you entirely – spirit, soul and body (1 Thes. 5:23-24). Do you need cleansing from sin? The blood of His Son Jesus is able to cleanse you from all sin (1 John 1:7). Do you need righteousness? His "right hand is full of righteousness" (Psa. 48:10). Do you need hope? He is the God of hope Who can fill you with joy and peace so that you may abound in hope (Rom. 15:13). Do you need love? His love for you through Christ has breadth and length and height and depth that surpasses knowledge (Eph. 3:18-19). Do you need freedom? His Son has truth that will set you free, and if "the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). Do you need victory? "Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth…" (1 Chron. 29:11).
Of course, the list goes on and on. Whatever you need, the Lord has vast resources to supply. "O taste and see that the Lord is good…they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing" (Psa. 34:8-10).
Ask Great Things of a Great God
On page six in this issue we have printed a prayer from a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. Another prayer in that book calls special attention to God’s provision: "Nothing exceeds Thy power, nothing is too great for Thee to do, nothing too good for Thee to give. Infinite is Thy might, boundless Thy love, limitless Thy grace, glorious Thy saving name." The prayer includes a number of requests, and then ends with these words, "I ask great things of a great God."
He is indeed a great God Who has great answers to prayer. Humble yourself before Him and seek His face, His kingdom and His righteousness. Pour your heart out to Him and lay your needs before Him. Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7). Trust Him with all of your heart and He will certainly show Himself worthy of your confidence. His resources are limitless and His faithfulness "reaches to the skies" (Psa. 36:5).
"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You" (Psa. 9:10).