the bethlehem provider.

all throughout history, the bible gives us account after account of God as the ultimate provider.

he provided the ram in the thicket to be the sacrifice for abraham and isaac. he provided boaz to be the kinsman redeemer to love and protect the moabite widow ruth. and what about that dry-land escape route through the red sea for moses and the israelites, and the perfectly-portioned manna that fell from heaven each day that they wandered in the wilderness? when there is a need, God will meet it.

but the greatest provision story occurs in a small, forgotten town in the hill country of israel. one ordinary night, one extraordinary family. the night that the world’s great, collective need was met, right on time, in the most gloriously sufficient way. and on this ordinary + extraordinary evening, God the Provider became Provision Incarnate.

just as micah had prophetically declared, {micah 5:2-5} sweet, unimpressive, too-little-to-be-worth-counting bethlehem became the setting for the moment heaven met earth – with the birth of a child.

rich ferreira, director of the joshua wilderness institute in hume, california, spoke to our class last week on the life of jesus in context with the history and culture of israel. a point he stressed was that “words have meaning”.
in the hebrew language, the meanings of words are very important. names, locations, and titles are significant based on the words used to describe them.

in hebrew, bethlehem is actually split up into two words: “bet”, meaning house, and “lehem”, meaning bread. so the full name is “house of bread”. when you read it like that, doesn’t it make so much more sense? isn’t God good? jesus, our great provision, was born into the very house of provision!

so jesus, the bread of life, {john 6:41,48} who came down from heaven at the perfect time, just like the manna that satisfied the israelites in the wilderness, was born from the house of bread. he is our bread of heaven; he is what we hunger for.

the thread continues past bethlehem. thirty-three years after the bread of life was born in the house of bread, jesus broke bread with his disciples at passover in the upper room. after washing his disciples’ feet, jesus said to them, “this is my body, broken for you” {luke 22:19}. and just a little while later, his body was indeed broken. our bethlehem child, our ultimate provision, broke himself for us and met our greatest, gravest need with one final breath of “it is finished.”

the past few weeks have been pretty horrible to say the least. i don’t need to get into the details, but it has been a rough ride. i have felt continually broken down again and again. this week, i experienced a turning point. i had been praying and worshipping and seeking counsel from my mentors, but i think i failed to be still and listen to what the Lord was saying. our speaker this week, the wonderful shay robbins, taught on intimacy with God and the role of the holy spirit. he reminded us that God is always speaking; we just have to listen. and when i stopped to do that, i found comfort and peace and strength to persevere. i found patience and grace and kindness. i found freedom from the burden of stress and insecurity and anger that i had carried for the past several weeks. i found life from the bread of heaven who was broken so that i did not have to be.

go to him hungry, expectant that you will walk away full. he is enough.

Marcus HarrisComment