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  • Writer's pictureRick LoPresti

The exact amount

People tend to see God through the lens of their own self-perception. The way we see God is often the way we see ourselves. People that struggle with forgiving themselves see God as hard and merciless. Generous people see God as such, while other people are stingy because that is their worldview. "With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury (2Sam 22:26-27)." God hardened Pharaoh's heart against Israel, but Pharaoh also hardened his own heart (Ex 7-14). Jesus said God forgives those who forgive (Mt 6:12-15, Mt 18:21-25). "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded (Jam 4:8)." While we certainly need God to initiate His will in us (Phil 2:13, Heb 12:2), God also expects us to make some moves toward Him. That is how relationships work.

Some people see the world as random and unguided. That is largely because they do not want to be accountable to God. However, that worldview also affects their view of everything including God. They either try to get around God's authority by denying Him altogether or by having a false concept of how He is. They say God is not precise. An example is deism, which says God created the world but then disengaged Himself from active involvement in the events of the world. This is not how the Bible describes God at all. He is actively involved in the affairs of this life. Jesus dealt with this very issue. In the sermon on the mount, He said that a common bird and even the grass are cared for by God (Mt 6:24-34). He also said that not one sparrow falls to the ground without God and that He numbers the hairs on our heads (Mt 10:29-31). There are approximately 100,000 hairs on the average human head, and there are almost 8 billion people in the world today. That is about 800 trillion hairs. That is a lot of attention to detail, especially because that number is in constant change every day. People are born and die. Old hairs fall out and new hairs grow.

Some people see God as spontaneous, and others see Him as a precise planner and organizer. He does both, but a familiarity with the scriptures and an application to observations of nature show us that God is very precise. Genesis chapter 1 is not loaded with a lot of what some would call detailed scientific data, but it shows that God was very precise in setting up the world. He created and set in motion very complex and inter-related organisms and systems. He put the sun and moon at exactly the right distances from the earth to sustain life. Minor changes would end life on earth. Although the sun and moon appear to be the same size in the sky, the sun is much bigger and the moon is much closer. This is why eclipses occur. God can be spontaneous is some situations, but overall He is a precise planner and organizer. Just look at the very detailed account of the building and use of the tabernacle in the wilderness (Ex 25-40).

We can either believe what God has shown us about Himself in the Bible, nature, and our own experience; or we can view Him through a distorted lens made by our faulty human understanding (Jer 17:9-10, Rom 8, 1Cor 1-2, etc.). God knows how to provide exactly what we need and can handle. He is a "Goldilocks" God - not too much and not too little, not too early and not too late. He always gets it just right. When He provided manna in the wilderness for Israel, He knew exactly how many people there were and exactly how much each person would need (Ex 16). He sent it at exactly the right time of day (Ex 16:16-18). He even took the Sabbath into account and sent double manna on Friday so they could rest the next day.

When Israel left Egypt, God told them to spoil the Egyptians (Ex 3:22, Ex 12:35-36). They took jewels and other treasures. This was more than fair because Israel had served Egypt in hard labor for over 400 years. However, God had a plan in that too. Those things became materials for the tabernacle where Israel met with God. The tabernacle was the basis for the temple which Solomon built about 400 years later. Both of these systems and places pointed toward the plan for New Testament salvation which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Gal 3:24, Heb 8-10).

Sometimes it is obvious to us that God is working. Sometimes we struggle in our faith toward Him because it is difficult to see how He is at work. At those times we have a choice. We can trust in what the Bible says. For those of us who have already realized God's provision in the past, we can remember His faithfulness and be encouraged that He is still faithful. WE can also choose to let our hearts and circumstances cloud our view. God will provide exactly what we need when and how we need it. All we need is faith expressed in obedience to His word.

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