God’s Open Hand

“The Lord helps the fallen 
and lifts those bent beneath their loads. 
The eyes of all look to You in hope; 
You give them their food as they need it. 
When You open Your hand, 
You satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭145:14-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

There was a time when God literally opened His hand to feed the Israelite nation as they floundered in the wilderness between Egypt and their Promised Land. A food they called “Manna” was found on the ground every morning; it contained all they needed for life and satisfied their physical needs for an unbelievable 40 years. There were times when they grumbled about its sameness, even yearning on occasion to return to Egypt where there were leeks and garlic, but nevertheless God fed them. And before we try and take the moral high ground and say how we would have been much more grateful, imagine all we had to eat was porridge. Every day. For 40 years. Hmmm…

Today we are presented with a bewildering array of different foods. Supermarket shelves bulge with fare of all kinds. During the pandemic, there have been hints of the fragility of the food supply, with empty shelves driving headlines at times. Sadly, we too easily take for granted the availability of food, forgetting that our provision is all through God’s grace.

The verses before us today paint a picture of our total dependability on our loving, Heavenly, Creator God. Firstly, we read that He sustains us, even in times of adversity, when life is hard, when we are crushed under loads to heavy for us to bear on our own. And when we look to God, in hope that He will come through for us, we find that He satisfies us with all that we need for life. He satisfies our hunger and thirst. Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, and there, embedded in what we have come to call the Lord’s Prayer, we find, “Give us today our daily bread.” Another translation reads, “Give us today the food we need”. Jesus thought it important enough to include the petition for food in His prayer guidance. 

We must have a continual attitude of gratitude for God’s provision. Our very existence is in His hands, and when He opens them we benefit. Before His throne of grace today we’re thankful. Deeply thankful. David, the Psalmist, finishes his Psalm with these words, “I will praise the Lord, and may everyone on earth bless His holy name forever and ever.”‭‭ That is the only thing we can do; God has done so much for us.

The River

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” Psalms‬ ‭46:4-5‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

Psalm 46 continues in the “God is our refuge” theme, and with verses 4-5 we can build a picture of an impregnable city where God lives and where a river of His grace and mercy sustains the joyful occupants. And the allusion to the “break of day” implies a continuing infallibility in His protection.

But where does God live in our lives? Do we live in an impregnable spiritual fortress, our own spiritual “city of God”, impervious to the cut and thrust of human life here on Planet Earth? Or do we grow faint with worry when the enemy appears on the horizon, our walls crumbling at his first attack? Or even get anxious when reading a news story? As Christians we live in a continuum of two kingdoms – the kingdom of the world and the Kingdom of God. But because of our physical presence on Planet Earth, we are susceptible to enemy action, our satanic opponent always looking for a chink in the walls of our God-sustained fortresses. However, we would do well to remember that God’s kingdom contains all the resources we need to sustain us in our earthly existence.‬‬

But what about this river? This resource in God’s kingdom that contains an unlimited supply of everything we spiritually need? Do we allow it to flow elsewhere while choosing to live in a desert of our own making? Our wonderful Heavenly Father knows what His children need and He puts on our tables the richest of foods, the most refreshing of drinks. So sad that many choose rather to go out and find their own food and drink, putting up with products and experiences that never satisfy. Jesus said in John 4, referring to the water drawn from a well, “…Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” That’s the water I want to drink.