“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1.20 NKJV).
Two nights in a row just before the new year, I woke up with the thick smell of cooked meat filling my room. It was all around me and so strong that it was impossible to ignore. It didn’t smell bad at all, but the last thing I wanted to think about was eating a buffet of tantalizing meats at 3 in the morning. I smothered my face in my pillows, and they literally smelled like they had been dipped in a large vat of boiling beef bouillon.
Half asleep, I tried to wake up my husband. “Do you smell the cooked meat?”
“What?” he mumbled.
“Cooked meat!” I said louder. “It’s everywhere!”
Blurry eyed, he sniffed and went back to sleep. He was use to me waking him up with some sort of epiphany. But smokey flavored meat? This was completely weird!
I woke up the next morning with all my pillows on the ground. I must have had tried to get rid of the smell during the night. I smothered my face in each pillow like I had done during the night, half expecting to find a lost turkey leg or lamb shank. There was nothing. I wash my sheets weekly, and they smelled of my essential oil laundry detergent–sweet and fresh, not smokey and savory.
God was trying to tell me something, but I had no idea what.
The following night in the wee hours of the morning, the overwhelming smell of cooked meat came back. It was so strong that I expected a brisket to be right in front of my face. I woke up my husband. Again he was completely asleep.
“I smell cooked me again!” I exclaimed.
He woke up and sniffed the air and went back to sleep. He knew I was experiencing something and trusted God would show me eventually. God always does.
The next morning, I sniffed my pillows again and nothing.
I usually do my Bible reading and prayer in the morning, but this particular morning, I wanted to get all of the Christmas decorations up before New Year’s Eve (the following day).
My family and I got everything packed away and then we met my husband’s sister and her family for lunch. My sister-in-law could tell my mind was occupied.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“God is trying to show me something, but I didn’t do my quiet time this morning. I need to ask Him some questions,” I answered. I could feel the weight of God’s presence willing me to sit with Him and seek clarity.
When I got home, I had about 30 minutes to figure out what was going on. I’m reading the Bible through again (from Genesis to Revelation), so I asked God if I should just continue where I left off (I had finished Exodus the day before) or did He want to bring me somewhere else. He told me to continue with my daily reading.
I was starting Leviticus. And to my surprise, cooked meat was on the menu.
“The Lord called to Moses from the Tabernacle and said to him, ‘Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you present an animal as an offering to the Lord, you may take it from your herd of cattle or your flock of sheep and goats'” (Leviticus 1.1 NLT).
If you read all of chapter 1 of Leviticus, you are inundated with the pleasing aroma of meat. The sacrifice was to be cut into four pieces (head, fat, organs and legs) and placed on the fire as an offering to God as His “special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord” (Leviticus 1.13 NLT).
And God gave me the word of Hearty Provision for this year. Here is what He told me.
The offering of the animal represents our time, investment, energy and work that we have given Him over the past year. Not just a side portion of time or a measly investment of resources or a bit of our energy — it is our best offering of excellence to Him (our best and unblemished sacrifice).
We gave God our everything — our mind (the head), our vigor (the fat), our emotions (the organs) and our walk (the feet). And we laid it all at the altar for Him.
And He not only sees what we have done for Him, it is a pleasing aroma to Him. It is pleasing not because our excellence would even measure up to His perfection. It is pleasing because all that we offer Him has been dipped in the redemptive and perfecting Blood of Jesus Christ. We gave Him our very best (which could never be good enough), but through Jesus Christ, our efforts are greatly pleasing to God.
And God is so pleased by our actions motivated by faith. We received nothing from the world for our efforts, but we did it because He is faithful to fulfill every single promise He has given us, and we have believed because He is faithful.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10.23 NIV).
So when I say that the year 2019 will holds Hearty Provision, I don’t simply mean anyone can touch hands, agree and expect it. God can and will provide. But Hearty Provision comes to those who have laid their very best at God’s altar. They have believed, worked and given God every ounce of themselves over to their promises by faith, and He will respond to our obedience spurred by belief.
For them, God sees your work. He smells your sacrifice. And He is pleased by your faith. He will provide all that He has promised you. You have fought the good fight. You have battled against all odds. You are weary, yet strong. You have been wounded, yet have overcome. God will provide for you in accordance to what you have laid at His altar. His best for yours.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6.38 NIV).
You will sit at the table of God’s provision and feast.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” (Psalm 23.5 NIV).