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Nathan Shaw: "Accessing Provision to Transform Nations"

Nathan Shaw, Dunedin, New Zealand
Jan 27, 2024


God knows what our needs are before we even know we have needs. Recently He showed me three different ways that His provision comes to us. Each type of provision writes a different lesson on our hearts.

1. Provision That Just Arrives

After Mary gave birth to Jesus, wise men from the east visited with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These were extravagant gifts worth a substantial amount of money. Joseph had no idea an angel of the Lord was about to instruct him to take Mary and the infant Jesus and flee west to Egypt.

Consider: The wise men had traveled a huge distance from the east, and then Joseph was instructed to flee west. The journey was dangerous, but we can imagine that the fact the gifts had come from so far east would have strengthened their faith as they fled Israel to live in Egypt (Matthew 2:1-15). Nothing was done to obtain the gifts; from Joseph and Mary's perspective, the wise men simply turned up with them.

Elijah boldly told King Ahab that there would be no rain except at Elijah's word. God immediately instructed Elijah to flee to a remote valley. In the valley, Elijah was sustained by a small stream and by food that was brought to him by ravens (1 Kings 17:1-6)! Elijah did nothing to receive the food; it just turned up. A profound and important lesson was written on Elijah's heart: When humans are unwilling, unavailable or unable to provide, God can even use something as unlikely as ravens to do His bidding. (Photo via Flickr)

2. Provision through Supernatural Miracles

Sometimes large crowds would flock to Jesus even though He was in remote locations. Jesus was compassionate toward the crowds and didn't want to send them away hungry. Firstly, He assessed what they did in fact have. In one instance, it was five loaves and two fish (Matthew 14:13-21). In another instance, it was seven loaves and a few small fish (Matthew 15:32-39). Secondly, He gave thanks to God and started distributing the loaves and fish. The loaves and fish multiplied as they were distributed. Thousands were fed. Many in the crowds had come desperate for physical healing. They discovered that God cared enough to heal their sick bodies and provide sustenance for the long journey home.

Elijah depended on unclean ravens to deliver food each day. This prepared him for an even greater miracle of provision—one that would cause him to depend on a foreign widow. Elijah instructed the widow to take the last flour and oil that she had and make a cake for him, and then for herself and her son. For the duration of the famine, the flour and oil never ran out (1 Kings 17:8-16). God not only cared about His covenant prophet, He also cared about a foreign widow and her son!

3. Provision through Direct Initiative

Jesus was just one of a multitude of Galileans on the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. As He neared Jerusalem, He needed a donkey colt in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy (Zechariah 9:9). Surprisingly, the colt didn't just turn up. In fact, Jesus had to take direct initiative to obtain it. He instructed two of His disciples to go into a nearby village where they would find a donkey with a colt. They were instructed to untie them and bring them to Jesus. If anyone inquired about what they were doing, they were simply to say, "The Lord needs them," and they would be sent right away. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the colt—an event now known as the "Triumphal Entry" (Matthew 21:1-11).

Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dreams. Seven years of great abundance would be followed by seven years of extreme famine. Joseph was given wisdom, favor and authority to implement a solution for the impending crisis. Grain was stored during the seven years of abundance so that the nation could survive the seven years of famine. The provision of grain was far more extensive than merely rescuing God's covenant people; Egypt and the surrounding nations were all spared (Genesis 41:1-36). The provision for the years of famine came about because Joseph took direct initiative to build storehouses and gather grain. In so doing, Joseph fulfilled ancient prophecy (Genesis 12:1-3). His example inspires entrepreneurs to this very day.

God's Ultimate Purpose

It is important to remember that God's thoughts are not our thoughts, and God's ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). We can so easily miss God's provision because we expect it to come in a predefined way. When we know who God truly is, we are less likely to confine Him to the box of our narrow thinking. Why, after the wise men generously gave gold, frankincense and myrrh, was Joseph then instructed to make a dangerous journey to Egypt? Why didn't God simply protect and hide them while they remained in Israel? Why didn't someone just turn up with a colt for Jesus? Why did Jesus have to take direct initiative to make it happen? Why did God lead Joseph to build storehouses and gather grain? Why didn't He simply instruct Joseph to break the curse of famine over the land? It is not our privilege to always understand God in the moment, but it is our privilege to learn His ways over time. (Photo via Rawpixel)

God's provision comes in different ways. Sometimes it just turns up; sometimes it comes through the working of miracles; sometimes it comes when we take direct initiative. We cannot always predict God's means of provision, but regardless of how He does it, He is always writing profound lessons on our hearts.

In this season of intense shaking, God is teaching us to access provision not only for ourselves, but also for many others. Accessing provision and transforming nations go hand in glove. As we respond to God in simple obedience, He will use us to bring about His redemption among the nations. In the process, many ancient prophecies will be fulfilled.


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Nathan Shaw
Heart of David Ministries

Nathan Shaw helps bring individuals and churches into dynamic encounters with God's indescribable love. Over the last twenty years he has been instrumental in ushering in significant moves of the Spirit in over ten different nations. Many have experienced life-changing prophetic encounters and dramatic visitations from God. Nathan is the author of two books: Passion and Fire and Unto the Least of These. Nathan is senior pastor at Fire and Destiny Centre, Dunedin and Celebration Church, Mosgiel.


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