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Affirming God’s control, sustaining grace

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By Dave Henning / August 9, 2019

“When Jesus raised the bread and fish up to heaven and said a blessing over them, he was affirming God’s control over the situation.  He was emphasizing that God’s sustaining grace provides for all his creatures, day in and day out.”- Tina Boesch

“Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the universe, who in His goodness, grace, loving kindness, and mercy nourishes the whole world.  He gives food to all flesh, for His loving kindness is everlasting.”- Opening of the Birkat Hazan

In Chapter 7 (“Blessing Around the Table – Shared Abundance”) of Given, Tian Boesch talks about the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand.  Apart from the Resurrection, its the only miracle recorded by all four Gospel writers.  Furthermore, Matthew, Mark  and Luke all recorded that Jesus looked up to heaven and said a blessing over the bread and fish.

Yet, none of the Gospel writers recorded Jesus’ words of blessing.  Perhaps, Tina suggests, that’s because they knew the blessing by heart – the Birkat Hazan.  The words of this blessing probably began to take shape during the time of Ezra.  However, the form of the prayer, Tina notes, crystallized during the Talmudic period.  A time when the Jewish people wrote down their oral teaching and traditions.

Also, this tradition of blessing God for provision goes all the way back to giving the law on Mt. Sinai.  There, Moses delivered this clear directive: “When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.”- Deuteronomy 8:10, NASB

Therefore, the blessing focuses on God, who provided the food, rather than the meal itself.  Because when we bless God, we acknowledge that He alone is the source of the blessing.  And, day in and day out, God’s sustaining grace provides for every one of His creatures.

Today’s question: What Scriptures aid you in affirming God’s control and sustaining grace?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Supernatural provision in the context of community”

About the author

Dave Henning


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