What does it mean when it says “God guides, he provides?”
God has made us the solemn promise that he will never abandon us – “God guides, he provides”. He assures us that we will find peace and hope through his provision. God has made a promise that those of us who turn away from our sins and believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, will not be condemned to eternal punishment in hell but will, rather, be granted eternal life in His heavenly kingdom.
We hear them all the time — feel-good and mildly comforting sayings that seem to have their root in Scripture, only for us to find out that they aren’t anywhere in the Bible: God won’t give you more than you can handle, this too shall pass, and if God closes one door, He’ll open another. However, it turns out that these sayings don’t appear anywhere in the Bible.
What do you make of the proverb that claims, “Where God guides, He provides”? Is it something that is found in the Bible, or is it simply something that people say to each other in times of difficulty to comfort and reassure each other?
Is There Any Mention of This Phrase in the Bible?
Even though this particular phrase of five words does not appear anywhere in the Bible, it is a condensed form of a longer Scripture that is found in the book of Isaiah. God reveals to His prophet in Isaiah 58 that those of His people who do not follow His ways will be punished, but those of His people who do follow His commands and act in a godly manner will be His light and walk closely with Him. This information is found in the book of Isaiah.
This verse is directed toward these individuals and says, “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a land scorched by the sun, and He will strengthen your frame.” You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:11). Other translations of the Bible, such as the CEB, use wording that is more specific regarding “guide” and “provide.” For example, the CEB says that “The Lord will guide you continually and provide for you.”
What on Earth Does That Mean?
Merriam-definition Webster’s of the verb “guide” is “to direct in a way, of course, to supervise or influence usually to a particular end, or to superintend the training or instruction of someone else.” God, in his role as our heavenly Father, does indeed direct our steps. He gives us instruction in the form of the Bible, as well as His commandments, which we should be sure to follow.
We are aware that by cultivating a relationship with God through prayer, obedience, and fellowship, He will guide us through both challenging and favorable circumstances. According to Isaiah 30:21, which is quoted here to bring this truth to our attention, “Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”
The meaning of the verb “provides” is “to make preparations to meet a need, especially to supply something for sustenance or support,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. For instance, when the Israelites were starving in the desert after they had escaped Egypt, God provided quail in the evening and wafer-like bread, which the Israelites referred to as manna, in the morning so that they would not perish from hunger (Exodus 16:11-16).
Therefore, the meaning of the phrase “Where God guides, He provides” is that if we follow God’s guidance and leading, then He will provide for our needs in the manner that He deems most appropriate.
Is This Meaning Found in the Bible?
Yes, the Bible teaches that we are to have faith that God will provide for us if we walk on the path that He reveals to us. However, we need to be careful about how we understand the word “provides.” For instance, some believe that God’s providence implies that He will bestow upon us prosperity and material blessings, such as a place to live and clothes to wear, an assortment of food, and physical well-being. Some people even believe that it means material prosperity as well as physical health for themselves and the people they care about. On the other hand, providence and prosperity are not always synonymous with one another.
God has made the promise that he will never abandon us. He assures us that we will find peace and hope through him. God’s promise to those of us who turn from our sins and put our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, is that we will not be destroyed but will instead be granted eternal life in His heavenly kingdom (John 3:16).
“God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus,” the Apostle Paul writes to these believers in the book of Philippians (Philippians 4:19). These riches are not earthly treasures, such as money or buildings, or other things that can be destroyed; rather, as Jesus explains, things of the spiritual realm are “treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-21) (Matthew 6:20).
However, if we walk following the guidance that God gives us, then He will provide for us. This entails walking in a manner that is following His ways and His will, following His direction and His leadership, and having faith in Him.
It’s about not letting go of your faith. According to the instruction found in 2 Corinthians 5:7, we are to “live by faith, not by sight.” Only in God should we put our hope, as well as all of our trust and expectations, for the future. If He directs us in a certain direction, then we must go in that direction even if, to our finite minds, it seems like a terrible idea. No matter what happens, we always obey what He instructs.
What are some examples found in the Bible?
In the Old Testament, God put Abraham’s devotion to the test by asking him to offer up his son Isaac as a sacrifice on the altar of the burning bush. Abraham did not wish to carry out these actions. Isaac was a late-in-life miracle baby who was born to Abraham and his wife Sarah when they were both in their advanced years. Abraham loved Isaac, and the boy was an answer to his prayers.
But Abraham had every intention of obeying God, and just as he reached the peak of the mountain and was about to carry out what God had asked of him, God told Abraham to stop and instead gave Abraham a ram to use as an offering in its place. Abraham bestowed the name “The Lord Will Provide” upon that location (Genesis 22:1-18).
Years later, God called David to do a battle with the giant Goliath. This presented David with a significant challenge. But God called David, and David answered God’s call; and with God’s protection along with a sling and a stone, Goliath was killed (1 Samuel 17:50).
Even much later, God commanded the prophet Jonah to travel to Nineveh and deliver a message to the people there that they were very close to being destroyed as a result of the great sin that they had committed. Even though Jonah ran away from God’s call at first, he ended up obeying in the end, and God used him to help the Ninevites recognize their wrongdoing, turn from it, and ultimately find salvation (Jonah 3:10).
The apostle’s Peter and John in the New Testament are described as “ordinary, unschooled men,” meaning that they should not have been able to argue Jewish law or speak so intelligently and boldly about the gospel. However, they were able to do all of these things. Yet they did, leaving a lasting impression on those who listened to them and influencing the faith of thousands of people (Acts 4:13).
What Does It Mean for Today’s World to Say That “Where God Guides, He Provides”?
In our modern context, this might take the form of a missionary being called by God to forsake her family and all of her earthly possessions to spread the gospel in a land far away. She answers the call, even though she does not have the training and may even have doubts about her ability to succeed. God provides for her by providing the tools, abilities, and people she needs to accomplish His plan, even though she may have doubts about her ability. Because of this, she can establish a large number of churches and effect positive change in the lives of tens of thousands of people for the glory of the Lord.
When God speaks to us and tells us to do something, we are obligated to pay attention and comply with what he says. And He will give us everything we require to complete the task successfully.
Does the Bible talk about similar ideas?
In numerous passages throughout the Bible, we find God exhorting his people to have faith in the way that he directs their lives, promising that if they do so, he will provide for all of their requirements.
In addition to the verses that are listed above, the following are some additional verses from the Bible that tell us that when we pay attention to the direction that God gives us, He will provide for us in some other way:
- Put your full confidence in the Lord, and do not rely on your understanding; instead, submit yourself completely to Him in everything you do, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- Take into consideration, then, both the severity and the kindness of God: severity toward those who sinned, but kindness toward you, on the condition that you continue to walk in his kindness. If you don’t comply, your access will be denied as well (Romans 11:22).
- Jesus also said, “Whoever drinks this water will experience renewed thirst, but whoever drinks the water that I give them will never experience thirst again.” The water that I give them will turn into a spring within them, and that spring will well up to eternal life (John 4:13-14).
- I will guide you and show you the path that you ought to follow; I will give you advice while keeping a watchful eye on you. Do not behave like a horse or mule, which have no intelligence but must be led by a bit and bridle, or else they will not come to you. Instead, avoid adopting the attitude of a human leader. Many calamities befall the wicked, but the unfailing love of the Lord surrounds anyone who puts their trust in him (Psalm 32:8-10).
The most important thing for us to do is to put our faith in God, follow his instructions, and be confident that he will provide for us in any circumstance, whether it be in this life or the life to come: the life we will spend in heaven forever.