I never thought the choice between provision and promise was mine. God decides that stuff after all, right? It’s more convenient to think so. If things go wrong I can blame it on Him, say it wasn’t His will, absolve myself of any personal responsibility, but like everything else in life, the decision to walk in provision over promise is, in fact, my choice.
Provision is defined as necessary supplies, especially for a journey. Promise is an assurance that something will happen, an indication that something will turn out successfully. Provision isn’t risky – it’s safe, predictable, comfortable. It’s knowing that you have enough for your needs right now; it’s swimming in the shallow end with no interest in what lies deeper. Promise however, is dangerous. It’s full of hope, belief, abundance. It’s a chance to step out, gain more, go to new places.
The Israelites sent spies to the Promised Land – only two of twelve saw promise over provision. Ten were scared, content, comfortable with just having needs met; two were confident, hungry, filled with hope and trust in God. Provision doesn’t have faith or hope – it lives by what it sees. Promise is pregnant, expecting, hopeful – it lives by faith.
The ten without hope were struck down and died of plague for grumbling and spreading a bad report about God’s promised land. But the two who believed, Joshua and Caleb, were the only ones of their generation who entered into the promise. What’s the difference between the ten and the two? Choice. Ten chose provision; two chose promise. Hope, faith, trust – these are choices we make every day: live in fear, predictability, mundane; or stretch, grow, swim into the deep unknown fully confident that He is there waiting.
Promise is bold, full of growth, requires work. It demands commitment, is sometimes painful, and forces courage. Fear is a feeling; courage is a choice. We have to choose between provision and promise and act accordingly – faith without works is dead. Nothing worth having comes easily. God honors our faith and commitment, every word He says is true, but we have to do our part. Our actions reveal our beliefs. What do yours say about you? Provision or promise?
Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times – not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. – Numbers 14:21-24 (NIV)