Great Is Thy Faithfulness: A Theology of Provision
I love to sing old hymns. Their words lull my children to sleep each night and have comforted my own heart in the moments when I feel I can do nothing else. Their rich doctrine and melody move our hearts to think deeper on the words we sing. Lately, I’ve been stuck on one of the lines of one of my favorite hymns, Great is Thy Faithfulness:
All I have needed, thy hand hath provided, great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.
It’s in this phrase we see a glimpse of Jehovah-Jireh, meaning “The Lord will provide.” Abraham used this phrase to name the mountain where a ram was given in place of his son’s sacrifice (Gen. 22:14), but long before even that day, we can see the hand of the Lord’s provision.
In some of the first words spoken over creation, God revealed his provision. He created every plant, tree, and vegetable — yielding seed and fruit with seed, so that the world would be full of sustainable provisions (Gen. 1:11). We call them water cycles, food chains, ecosystems, and photosynthesis, but creation proclaims them as the provision of the God who rules over all.
In Psalms, we find that every creature on earth looks to God to give them their food in due season (Ps. 104:27). It is he who gives drink to every beast of the field and causes the plants to grow, both for animals and for men (Ps. 104:14). Jesus reiterates this truth as he points to the birds, who depend upon the providing hand of their God each day for their food (Luke 12:24). In every spider web filled with bugs, in each rainstorm that soaks a dusty ground, and in every breeze blowing against our faces carrying a seed to its new home, we get a taste of his provision in creation every single day…
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