“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Though the text has been isolated for the purpose of this study, it is important that it is not taken out of the context of Paul’s discussion on the topic of giving and receiving. Here is a verse a Scripture that has been abused by many in the ‘Prosperity’ teachering to swindle money from those that follow them. How easy it is for some to take this verse out of its setting and use it to promote greedy lifestyles amongst those who squander their money on themselves and give no thought for the work of God!
Regardless of what some teach on this subject, we can be certain that God knows all about our every need and promises to supply what is required. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8) … “(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Matthew 6:32). This truth must be seen in accordance with God’s will rather than our desires. It has been said that God supplies our needs not our greeds, for some do have the “love of money” and the things it can buy (1 Timothy 6:10) but it is always at the expense of their spiritual life. “They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalm 106:13-15) … “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3).
Notice that Paul says “My God shall supply all your need.” Our focus ought not be on our daily need, no matter how important we think it is, but upon the God who is able to provide for us. The Lord Jesus warned against becoming fixated with food, drink and clothing, the things we spend our money on, for we cannot “serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). Instead we must put God first in everything, and when we do so we will find that, as our Heavenly Father, He will give us what is needed for spiritual and physical well-being. “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:26-34).
God never forgets our sacrificial giving, but how sad it is that some believers think that He obligated to give them a hundred for every one banknote they put in the offering. Their prosperity is the wealth of this world rather then the “riches in glory by Christ Jesus”. They have £ and $ signs in their eyes instead of love for the Lord. We might not become rich in the things of the world, but we have greater riches stored up for us. We might have to suffer deprivation and persecution for Christ’s sake, but we have the glories of His presence awaiting us in Heaven. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:20) … “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Hebrews 11:26) … “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12). The “riches of his grace” are of greater worth to the believer than all the treasures of the world. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
These “riches” are the eternal reward for being open-handed here on earth. God promises to give “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven” to all who serve Him in this life (1 Peter 1:4). Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 11:1-2, “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth”.
Our “riches” are “by [in] Christ Jesus”, for He is the best resource a believer will ever have. Jesus was the world’s richest Person, yet He often had no place to sleep (Matthew 8:20). Paul here starts and finishes this verse by focusing upon God; “My God” – “Christ Jesus”. By trusting in Christ, our desires change from being selfish and greedy to wanting everything He prescribes for a healthy Christian life. All we want is to live for Him and receive whatever blessing He purposes to give, even if it is only the power to face our problems in faith as the apostle Paul did. God always gives “according” rather than ‘out of’ “His riches”. Therefore we are confident that we are backed by the full weight of Heaven’s resources when we labour for Christ. What we do for “the least”, we are doing it for Him and will be eternally blessed for it (Matthew 25:31-46).
Our Redeemer is also the “Good Shepherd” who has already given us the greatest blessing possible, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). He knows exactly what His sheep need. “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). We cannot but remind ourselves that Psalm 23 describes the wonderful way in which the Lord is there for us. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” The closing words of Psalm 23 remind us of another of Jesus’ promises found in John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Paul includes this statement in his letter, not to promote greed and seeking after material things, but to encourage the believers who sacrificially give to those in need. He is basically saying, “I could never repay you for all you have done for me, but my God will abundantly bless you, if not here, He certainly will do in glory.” If we, like the Philippian church, look after the needs of others, then God will look after ours. He is always greater than our biggest need. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38) … “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20). Hopefully we will never be ‘filthy rich’ (see Titus 1:7, 11; 1 Timothy 3:3, 8; 1 Peter 5:2), but we can be assured that we will never be without the means to live if we love the Lord. “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).
In closing, one commentator suggests that Philippians 4:19 can be described as a banknote drawn upon the bank of faith:
“My God” – the name of the banker.
“Shall supply” – the promise to pay.
“All your need” – the value of the banknote.
“According to his riches” – the bank’s resources.
“In glory” – the address of the bank.
“By Christ Jesus” – the signature authorising the payment.
Hudson Taylor said, “When God’s work is done in God’s way for God’s glory, it will not lack for God’s supply.”