Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the word “provider” in the following way:
PROVI’DER, n. One who provides, furnishes or supplies; one that procures what is wanted.
I’d like to ask a few questions:
Who or what is the provider of our water? If we pay to get our water piped into our house, the company that does that is our provider.
Who or what is the provider of our food? If we go to a grocery store, the grocery store is (along with every part of the chain involved in getting it there).
Who or what is the provider of our clothing? If you get it from a retail store, the store and the manufacturers are.
I could go on; but if we’re paying someone or some entity for us to have the necessities of life, then by the definition above, they are our provider.
If we’ve placed a middle man between us and God’s direct provisions, then in reality we no longer look to God for His providence — we look to the middle man. Don’t believe that? In a town, if our water stopped flowing from the faucet in our house, what would we do? We’d call the water company — our water provider. If we would starve without the nearest grocery store having food to buy, then it is our provider.
To whom we look for your life provisions, they are our provider.
Gen 22:13-14 – “13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh [the Lord will see/provide]: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” (see John Gill’s commentary on vs. 14)
God provided the ram for the sacrifice, and we are to look to Him alone as our provider.
God providing temporily is really a “type” of His spiritual provisions (we eat bread — He is the bread of life (John 6:35); we drink water — He gives the water of life (John 4:14); etc.) In the same way God provided the ram above (also as a type), He provided a Sacrifice, a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, for His people; and we are to look to Him alone for salvation.
Further, God is the only source for all other spiritual provisions, such as spiritual graces, as the heart of man is desperately wicked; and everyone is dead in their sins until God, by His own sovereign will, graces and mercies, breathes new life into them. Did we conjure up our own free-will faith to believe in God, and that’s why He saved us? Then we were the provider of our faith (and thus our salvation?!) Do we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, have “power thoughts” for courage and strength, and declare we’re going to be meek and humble and not let the things of life get us down? Then we are the provider of our Christian graces.
The Bible says otherwise, and prevents any man from boasting of providing his own faith and spiritual graces.
And so, in the end, who is our provider?