Provision to Prison

Provision to Prison

21 January 2021

Jim Stephens

Reading: Exodus 1-2; Psalm 88; Luke 21

8 Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. 9 He said to his people, “Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are. 10 We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more. If we don’t, and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us. Then they will escape from the country.” 11 So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor. They forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses as supply centers for the king. (Exodus 1:8–11 NLT)

God’s provision for yesterday can become your prison today. I know that sounds a little edgy, but consider the situation: Jacob and his family were nomadic herdsmen who lived off the land and followed the pastures through the seasons. When the famine came, they moved to Egypt and became farmers who lived near the Nile and grew crops and irrigated their pastures from the river. They settled down, built houses, and got comfortable in a controlled environment. When a new king came to power who perceived them as both a resource and a threat, they were subject to bondage because they had lost the ability to move with the seasons.

This can happen to us, too! In a time of need or a season of life, God may provide a relationship, a job, an income, an idea, and we joyfully embrace it as God’s gracious provision. Over time, circumstances change, and people change. God may want to lead us out into the adventure of following his seasons of blessing and provision, but we get comfortable and dependent on the place, position, or pattern. Then we’re stuck!

The past provision may become a present prison. It becomes a prison if it keeps us from taking the risk, stepping out of the boat, and fully living the faith-life in the season God has for us today. So let’s thankfully enjoy today’s provision. But don’t let it become tomorrow’s prison!


Father, I thank you for past and present provision. You have faithfully provided for me and my family for all these years. Some of your seasons of provision have been as miraculous as manna and others have been more like the irrigated land by the river. I thank you for all of it. Please don’t allow me to confuse the provision with the provider. Help me to trust you and not the present provision. Help me not to get so comfortable that I lose the ability to sense your leading, to follow your direction, and to risk stepping into the high adventure of faith! Amen.

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