A God who supplies every need

Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.  I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  —Philippians 4:16-19

This was just the message I needed to hear as I was planning to lead a short term mission trip.  I received a phone call that a member of our team could not travel with us due to a medical issue.  I was in desperate need of God’s wisdom and direction.  What a tremendous comfort to know that “He is the King with an abundant supply of riches.”


Evidently the Philippians’ giving to Paul created for them a “need.” In this arrangement, Paul would now be expected to reciprocate. They met his “need” (verse 16); and it would be his turn to give to them, and their turn to receive. But Paul is in no position to meet their need. He envisions God holding up his end of the deal, so Paul calls him “my God.” Paul had learned that his God meets needs. In verse 18, Paul said, literally, that he had been “filled” by their gifts. Now he says that God will, literally, “fill” every need of theirs. Contextually, the primary reference to need is a material one, but the word “all” means that other needs are in view as well.

God will meet these needs, literally, “according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” “Glory” is a reference to God’s sovereignty. He is the King with an abundant supply of riches. These riches are made available in Christ. The Philippians have already received God’s greatest riches in Christ: salvation. Paul says that God is not only able to meet needs but that he does so in a way that is commensurate with his riches in Christ. In other words, he is lavish.

Paul seems to be promising, at the least, that God will meet the needs of the Philippians because they have contributed to the gospel in a way that created a need for them. He doesn’t specify what constitutes a “need” in the Philippians’ case, nor does he say how God will meet their needs or when he will do so. God knows what constitutes the Philippians’ needs, and we are left to believe that he will meet those needs in his perfect timing in a lavish way.

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