Imagine that you do not have any spare money. You live from paycheck to paycheck or you owe significant debts. Then someone comes along and expresses their concern for you. They know a little of your struggles. They share that they want to support you in one area of your life so that you at least do not have to worry about that. They promise to provide you with the clothes you need to live and especially survive the winter. They go with you to purchase the clothes you need for the next year. They’re not the latest fashion nor the most expensive. Yet they will be more than adequate for hot summers, cool autumn and frigid winter. How might you respond to such a person?
Now imagine that you’re part of a group of ancient Israelites who have just been released from slavery to Egypt. The euphoria of your release overshadows the practical concerns of life as you leave. But then the realities of life have their way of pressing in on you especially because your leaders take you to the desert. That’s a pretty harsh environment to live in.
Then imagine that you discover you will need to live in the desert for 40 years. Where will you get food to survive? What clothes will you wear? How long will they last? There are no stores in the desert. You can’t run down to the mall to replace a worn out pair of jeans. You will only have what you take with you at the beginning of those 40 years.
It seems impossible. I wear cotton pants to work. A good pair last 2-4 years before it begins to fray at the ages and look washed out in its colors. I can certainly say that I don’t wear clothes that I got back in 1980.
So look at what Moses says to the Israelites at the end of their 40 years of wandering in the desert.
“And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-4)
God sustained the people for 40 years in the desert with the miraculous provision of food and miraculous protection over their clothes. Through the trials in the desert, He also shaped a people who would be ready to enter the Promised Land. To me, that shows a God who knows our needs intimately and completely, even our need for clothes. He supernaturally preserved the Israelite’s clothes for 40 years. The same God who showed such concern for His people then cares for us today. Jesus said – “If God clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30). God cares about everything in our lives and promises to provide that which we really need.
“Thank you Lord for your provision. You provide the basics of life – food; water; clothing and for our deepest needs – love; forgiveness; family; guidance; strength. Forgive our forgetfulness and help us to walk with faith in you today.”