Cared for Better than Lions (and birds)

The promises of God to His redeemed children are numerous, and He is faithful and true to keep every one of them. One promise, in particular, which we often rest upon is God’s promise to meet our needs. And if our memory is faint about how He has done that for us in the past then we should look to illustrations we see in the animal world.

For example, in Matthew 6, Jesus instructs us to look to the birds when we are worried about material provisions. He reminds us that, just as God provides for our feathered friends, He will meet our needs since we are of much greater value to God than birds (or any other creature that is not made in the image of God; i.e. that is not human). Therefore, we should trust God to care for us. But, this morning, I came across a verse that jumped out at me because it makes similar point, but in a different way. Like Jesus’s illustration, it includes something from the animal world. But unlike Jesus’s illustration, it makes its point by contrast not comparison.

For several months, I’ve been working slowly through Alex Motyer’s Psalms by the Day for my personal devotions. While reading and thinking about the second part of Psalm 34, I was struck by verses 9-10. Motyer’s fresh translation reads like this: “Fear Yahweh, you his holy ones, for there is nothing lacking to those who fear him. Even lions go in want and are hungry, but those who seek Yahweh lack nothing good.”

The promise is the same as that found in Matthew’s Gospel: God will meet our needs. But the illustration is different. Young lions sometimes are in want and hungry, but the righteous (believers who fear God) may rest in the Lord who has promised that we shall lack nothing we need. We should look to the birds because God always meets their needs, but we should also look to the lions which sometimes go hungry. God is faithful either way. Why? Because it is He who is sovereign over every one of His creatures. Notice that the psalmist took comfort in knowing that even if God sometimes lets lions go hungry, He will surely meet the needs of His redeemed children.

Now, the rub often comes from the difference between needs and “greeds,” between what sustains us and what entertains us. Knowing the difference between the two is something we must discern through applying God’s wisdom, and through prayer. God has promised to provide for those who belong to Him. His Word assures us that we will lack nothing we need. Today, take comfort in that truth.

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