Thanks for writing. I always love to hear that I'm stimulating a lot of thought. :)
Why if God anticipated so much distortion or misunderstanding did he not write a more explanatory bible?
I think this is the question that ties all your questions together. You sense the inadequacy in using the Bible to answer all your questions, just as I did many years ago. Honestly, I have to say that my asking that same question you are now asking was one of the best things that could have happened to me. The reality is that the Bible was never meant to be what most people think it is. If it was, then we would have had a more explanatory book.
What I'm saying is that written revelation is an inadequate revelation of God. I'm not saying that this makes it wrong, or false, or bad - just that it is bound by the limitations of human understanding. It also does not mean there are no answers to many of the questions we ask. Actually, our false expectations of the Bible are what often cause or confuse many of those questions in the first place.
But first, if the Bible is an inadequate revelation of God, what is the adequate revelation of God? Plain and simple: Christ. It is through sending Jesus that God made Himself known to us. No, not just because He demonstrated love, but because He made the WAY to Him through Jesus ... for HE is the explanation of God. More than anything, I hope you understand this in a very real and living way.
The ONLY way to regard what Jesus said about "material provision" is in the light of grace. He starts off by telling them not to lay up treasures for themselves upon the earth, but in the heavenly realm. You see, they had no concept of the nature of these incorruptible, un-steal-able treasures ... only that they knew what it was to watch all their earthly treasures be destroyed. Jesus was not speaking of a future place that had the same kind of stuff we have here, only a longer-lasting version of it. No, he was speaking of the very realm of God. And the "needs" he spoke of were not some relative concept based upon our distinctions between wants and needs, because we can - and often do - argue ourselves into either lesser or greater degrees of these supposed needs. The needs are simply the necessities of an earthly body in an earthly place versus the lack of necessity in the realm of God. His words were never intended to to create a whole new way to worry or to become a measuring system of worth or spirituality ... and definitely not to begin a health and wealth prosperity teaching. Fleshly wisdom makes a mess of every single thing the Bible ever said. Heck, all the people Jesus spoke to remained dirt poor by our standards, even after the Spirit was given. But the Spirit was the substance behind ALL those heavenly treasures - the REAL STUFF of life - he spoke of, while the earthly things were merely needs required by living here on earth, things which God also takes care of as long as we live here.
Now, we can make all kinds of assumptions about why we have no money or why we might lose a job. I think sometimes we are just looking for another way to explain something we actually know the cause of. Take money. How many times do we not have money simply because we spend it faster than we make it? It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that more cannot go out than comes in. And losing a job? Sometimes it's just not a suitable job for us, or maybe we're just not doing what we were hired to do. I've learned that I don't need to validate such losses by saying it's about something other than the obvious. But to say that God is doing it to pay us back for our sins is not only not valid with the reality of Christ, it is also not a very honest look at the reality of the circumstances. Sure, there are a lot of unexplainable and unfortunate situations, but I don't think things are anywhere near as complicated as many make them out to be. Just because life seems to turn against me doesn't mean that God has. Wherever I am, and whatever I go through, my REAL life is hidden in Christ and my true reality remains unaffected. The amazing thing is that God causes all things to work out for good FOR US who are in Christ ... even, or should I say, especially when they don't appear that way.
As to your last batch of questions, I think you got yourself into a tailspin. :) Simply stated, you are saved by the life of Christ. When his life came in you passed from death into life. Our acknowledgment - whatever that may mean to many different people - has nothing to do with saving us. The oft found statements of "saved by grace", "saved by faith", etc, etc, are not claiming the particular thing we needed to do but are more obviously describing the miraculous nature of the reception, in that they claim that we had NOTHING to do with it. Grace means that it has nothing to do with the recipient, but everything to do with the giver ... it is merely designating the recipient as having been GIVEN this deliverance. "By faith" carries the same sense to it, for faith does not describe a decision made, or an intellectual choice we come to, nor does it describe the one thing we were given to do, but instead it describes that miraculous reality we came to even though we were not looking for, nor desiring HIM. When we say that we were saved by grace through faith we are declaring that we had absolutely nothing to do with this amazing deliverance.
Remember, God did not come up with the sinner's prayer or the altar call or the usual things we associate with being saved - that's man's attempt to get a handle on the miracle. Hey, I was just a dumb religious kid like many others who tried so hard to understand what happened at salvation ... and mostly, it was about dissecting an experience, or series of experiences, to determine exactly what it was that I DID to get God's stamp of approval on me. What I discovered was there are many fleshly stamps of approval attached to the stuff of God. But what good are those?
Well, this should give you quite a bit to chew on. Write back and let me know what you're thinking!! :)