By David Stahl

          Although the LORD does not withhold provision from us as His children (we just think He does at times) we should ask of Him concerning our needs.  Then we can express our thankfulness to Him and others who helped when He responds, but if He does not reply when and how we think He ought to (in these times) well . . . not knowing should be enough for us. Whatever we may need we are to first sow to that to the LORD believing that He will multiply it back to us – not just the seed that was sown, but many times more.  Of course our greatest need is not things, but more of His Spirit in our lives. Often we do not receive from God because we have stepped out from under God’s umbrella of dependence for our lives.  Many Christians quote, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:19) expecting more than the  moon and stars, but God’s riches are more than money, jewels, cars, houses, jobs, our health, power, influence, favor, all of those things that stir our senses and move our emotions.  Oh no God’s “riches in glory by Christ Jesus” are:  righteousness, truth, integrity, wisdom, a Godly character, the ability to render righteous judgment and so much more.  I do not see any earthly riches here. My friend no farmer would plant seeds in order to harvest the same amount as was sown.  One seed planted for one seed harvested this is foolish even for a non-farmer like me.  Rather the planter expects an increase greater than what he plants; maybe 60 , 80, or 100 fold.  So too this principle is spiritual. What we want we must give that away expecting to get more than what we plant, but (here is the rub) if not what will our reply to God be? Some believers expect to harvest a crop of financial blessings yet they have failed to first plant seed.  They may even say, When my ship comes in, I will give thousands for your ministry.”  I then wonder if they had sent their ship out as they fail to give from the resources they already presently have. This type of thinking and Christianity is NOT what the Bible teaches.  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians,   “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: and10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)”  (2 Corinthians 9:6-8,10)  Notice in verse 10 that it is the LORD who provides and that He provides two things; seed for sowing (we have no seed unless the LORD gives it to us) and bread for eating.  We will never get beyond having our basic needs met, if we do not sow seed. Now I am not talking about money alone, but sowing of our abilities, talents, and intentions. If we eat the seed there will be nothing to plant and therefore no increase.  Again I do not see anything in these verses that talks about physical earthly things like cars, houses, jobs, etc.  The increase of the seed here the LORD gives and we are to eat of is the righteousness He works in us. It is our righteousness we give away. But who wants to eat from the tree of righteousness? You can answer that question for yourself. We all want God to bless us, but what do we do when God is silent during these times? Are we willing to be like the three Hebrew Children and say, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”  (Daniel 3:17-18) Can we say, “But if not” now there is a place of faith in God.  It is easy to have faith in God when all is going well, but allow God to put us to the test (God is good at making us eat our words) and He will see what we are really made of.  You know often the path to His provision is through dry places (what I like to call the wilderness) and what do we do when the river of blessings run dry?  It is not in the times that flow with milk and honey God is closely scrutinizing our lives oh no, but in the times we allow (it is up to us) Him to lean into us with both feet and give us a gut check to see where we stand with Him.  And during this time if God does not answer we need to have enough of God in us to be still and silent holding our request before Him with a pure conscience.  Timothy tells us, “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” (1 Timothy 3:9) “Holding the mystery of the faith” where? In our heart and thoughts until God gives us the enlightenment. We must look at the LORD’s long-term plan and maybe be willing to go through a bit of tribulation in order to reach the promised land of understanding and knowing, otherwise we may quit.  We must believe first the LORD will arrange our circumstances.  He will make a way through the impossible as we align ourselves with Him and His will for our lives. Second the LORD will allow us to go through a time of testing and humbling because He is more interested in what we are becoming than in what we are doing for Him in the sowing. And third when we reach our promised land we must not forget the LORD. We may be sure that the LORD will take us through these three stages for our own good and for His glory.  Lastly this not needing to know everything goes to the heart of our walk with the LORD. If we need not know everything then God does not have to bless our every whim and desire.  We will be content and happy as a clam with our mouth shut knowing God knows and He will take care of things for us.  Man is a nosey, curious beast and sadly the church feeds this selfish desire by teaching some things that makes man even more inquisitive. In Luke Jesus gives us a warning to be careful in this area.  Jesus said, “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”  (Luke 11:9-10)  Now many denominations teach if God does not answer keep on knocking, seeking, and asking, well that is NOT what Jesus was saying. Jesus was really saying (just read the words without trying to make them all spiritual) ask and it shall be given you. Jesus was saying if you ask and even keep on asking you will receive something, but it may not be the thing you need at the time you need it. If you seek and keep on seeking you will find something, because everyone that seeks findeth. If you knock and keep on knocking something will be opened to you.  Now it may not be what God wants for you, but to some Christians it will not matter.  I am not saying not to ask, seek, or knock, but I am saying to be careful, take heed, because God knows what we need before we ask, seek, or knock.  Ask, seek, or knock and leave it with God’s good graces and if we get no answer we can hold it in our heart before the LORD. I do not know about you, but when our kids were growing up and they kept bugging me for something my resolve not to give it to them stiffened. Other times I just gave them something knowing that it would work a better purpose developing their character.  The more we know the more we want to know and the more we know the greater chance we have in getting off track.  There are many unanswered questions in the Scriptures and that is out of God’s arrangement, but it is funny how man cannot be happy not knowing and just trust God. One of the greatest signs of spiritual growth and development in us is not needing to know everything and leaving the unknown things to God’s sovereignty and will. I have been holding many things before the LORD for years and I know in His time and His good graces He will be able to unlock the secrets I have in my heart and unfold the “riches of glory in Christ Jesus.”