I’ve been thinking about God sending the Israelites into the wilderness for 40 years to discipline them for their unbelief. On Sunday a picture of the desert was projected on a screen in church, and what struck me most was how utterly barren it was.
There is no way the Israelites could provide anything for themselves. They couldn’t raise crops or pasture livestock. They couldn’t barter with the hostile neighbors for clothing. Yet we’re told that God provided manna to eat, water to drink, and clothing that didn’t wear out.
It ties in with Jesus’ teaching much later to “consider the lilies” in Matthew 6. Don’t worry about tomorrow, he tells us; God provides for the birds and the flowers, and he will provide for you.
Even if outward circumstances are reduced to the most barren desert conceivable — freedoms withdrawn, income reduced, all visible reference points of security or identity lost — God provides for his children. For nations? Personally I don’t think so. But for his children who trust him, he provides for every need.