The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145:15-16).
The first thing that comes to mind when we read these verses is, “Oh, that’s the table prayer!” Granted, table prayers vary. But these two verses of Psalm 145 are among the favorite words of many a family’s mealtime prayer. Favorite or not, they express a foundational truth in regard to our Christian stewardship of God’s gifts.
The Psalmists writes, “The eyes of all look expectantly to You.” This may be a bit difficult to see from our earthly viewpoint as we find ourselves in the midst of a massive apostasy in our present culture. So the question we ask might be, “Who is looking to the Lord expectantly? Do the well fed, the avowed atheist, those of heterodox religions—do they truly look to the Lord?”
But alas the Lord has revealed it. Though there may be misbelief or other hindrances, they ofttimes do look to the Lord, not knowing who He truly is. We can then find a ray of hope for the unbelieving and sadly ignorant world that knows not the Giver of all.
What is that ray of hope? Surely, and according to God’s Word, most truly, the natural knowledge of God is alive and well in the heart of man. When this natural knowledge of God shows itself as we consider God’s divine providence, it gives you and me opportunity to witness to the Christian faith. For our part it is not only to know God’s divine providence but also to acknowledge and be conscious of it daily. Through faith’s eyes we see and understand God’s divine providence and recognize it for the joy it brings. We accept our gifts in thanks, confessing the greatest providence of all is our Savior, and seeking to share our faith with our families, our neighbors and others.
Jacob, later called Israel, realized this divine providence. As he surveyed his life, he saw the Lord’s gracious hand at work. While he confessed all his missteps and shortcomings, he also contemplated all the good that came to him—family, earthly life, and even wealth. He saw that he did not deserve it. But God in love and mercy provided it all. So, in his words we find another prayer we can pray as we carry out our acts of thanksgiving. We pray with Jacob, “Oh Lord, I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant” (Genesis 32:10).
Knowing He provides all, even when we don’t deserve it, invokes a response, a response of thanksgiving and true “in faith” giving. The bottom line is knowing that all we have and all we are is but “a trust O Lord from Thee.” We thus ask our Lord to guide us to plan and act accordingly.
In humbleness we confess that divine providence and Biblical stewardship are inseparable teachings brought together here in Psalm 145. The foundation for Christian stewardship starts with a heart of faith knowing and confessing that our heavenly Father provides all we need for body and soul, and we, in turn, gratefully give of our first-fruits in thanksgiving and praise of the One who does this.
Certainly in faith we do look expectantly to the Lord both in times of need as well as in times of plenty. He then reaches our ears and hearts here in this Psalm with this promise that His gracious hand opens to satisfy our desires and needs for earthly sustenance. What comfort we can take in knowing and believing and living under this promise.
An elderly friend of mine has a great way of showing his trust and thankfulness in God’s dear providence. If you were to ask him, “How are you doing?” he would nod his head up and down in a positive response and quietly say, “You know, I’ve been abundantly blessed.”
Martin Luther expressed it well for us as we consider God’s gracious providence. He wrote in the explanation to the first article after he lists all our blessings by saying, “and all this purely out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all which I am in duty bound to thank and praise, to serve and obey Him.” May we join our hearts to praise him and unite in our actions to glorify His name as we join in saying, “This is most certainly true.”
Evangelical Lutheran Synod