Formations 11.07.2021: God Will Take Care of You

Leviticus 26:3-6; Philippians 4:10-19

I remember an old hymn that people rarely sing in church anymore, at least in the churches where I have worshiped. The first verse begins, “Be not dismayed whate’er betide; God will take care of you.”

We owe it to ourselves to rest in this promise. God cares about us and has our best interests in mind. God sees and provides. And it’s never a bad idea to remind ourselves of these truths and even sing about them in our worship.

But what does it really mean to confess that God will take care of us? In the Bible, this provision comes in many different ways. In this week’s passage Leviticus 26, it’s obvious and abundant: rains, abundant harvest, peace, and safety.

In Philippians, God takes care of Paul in more subtle ways—and these ways don’t preclude the possibility of want and privation. He is grateful for the good things that come, but he also knows how to be content when he has little, or nothing. He isn’t so proud as to reject help from others, welcoming it as yet another expression of God’s grace. He has more than enough, even in prison.

In Leviticus 26, the biblical writer asks us to envision a peaceful land where God walks among the people. In Philippians 4, Paul expresses assurance that God will provide for his every need. Leviticus implies a life of constant prosperity for the people of God, while Philippians acknowledges that the life of faith might involve having little as well as having plenty. Both passages speak of God’s provision for human need, though we will experience this blessing in different ways at different times.

How can we hold these two sets of biblical promises in tension? In what sense can we confidently say that “God will supply every need of yours” (Phil 4:19)?

Discussion

• When have you experienced God’s provision in a time of need?
• When have you learned the lessons of contentment that Paul speaks about?
• How can we credibly affirm these promises of provision to those who suffer great need?

Darrell Pursiful is the editor of Formations. He is an adjunct professor at Mercer University and an active member of the First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia.

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