God the Provider

Each day in November, the Everyday Truth blog is looking at a different name for God and providing a family devotional for you to use with your kids. The goal is to keep our hearts focused on giving thanks to God during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.

I think vending machines are a great invention. What's not to like about being able to get what you want to eat whenever you want it? I also like fast-food restaurants and pizza places that deliver. All I have to do is think about what I want, order it and suddenly it appears in very little time. I can have a hamburger, a pepperoni pizza or a candy bar in minutes. Instant gratification.

Did you know God is not a vending machine, a fast-food restaurant or a pizza delivery place? I bet you did. But do you also know that a lot of times we treat God like He is one of those things? We decide what we want, we ask God for it, and we expect Him to provide it. Then we get mad if He doesn't.

The Bible tells us that God is Jehovah Jireh, which is Hebrew for provider-God. Matthew 7:9-11 says "“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" These verses tell us that God loves us so much that He provides what we need.

However, God is not Santa Claus or a short-order cook. We can't just order up what we want and expect Him to deliver that new, red Porsche or the shiny new bike that we want. God provides for our needs, and sometimes we get those confused with our wants. That doesn't mean that God doesn't ever give us what we want, but sometimes what we want and what God knows is best for us aren't the same thing. And that's when we can start confusing God with a short-order cook.

God only wants what is good for us -- the things that are part of His plan. Sometimes that means that we don't necessarily get what we want, but God always provides for the things that we need.

Right now, ask your mom or dad if you can have a box of matches. The answer is going to be "No." Matches are not a bad thing -- they are extremely useful in the right circumstance. However, playing with matches is dangerous. It can cause a fire and could cause someone to be hurt or killed. It's the same way when we ask God for something that might cause us harm -- even though we might not be able to see the harm it can do. God sometimes tells us "No" so He can protect us. He also doesn't give us everything we want because He has a better plan in mind.

(Parents, try this activity to get this point across. Offer your child $1. Tell them they can have the $1 now but they will pass up the opportunity to get something better if they take the $1. After they decide, offer them a $5 bill if they chose not to take the $1. Point out that sometimes God doesn't give us things when we ask for them because He has something better in mind -- like the $1 and the $5 bills.)

Have everyone in your family take a moment to list off three things that God has provided that they need. See if you can think of a time when you didn't know what to do, but God provided everything you needed at that moment.

God provides for us in so many ways. He gives us friends to laugh with, play with and share with. He gives us families that love us. He gives us a home and food to put on the table. And, most importantly, He gave us Jesus, who provides us with a way to have a relationship with God through His own death.

As you close out your time today, write down on your leaves for your Thanksgiving tree ways that you are thankful that God has provided for you. Pray together and thank God for those things. Then hang your leaves on your tree.