csibiblestudy


Learning to trust God each day for our needs
November 5, 2012, 4:10 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book

In Matthew 6:11 we read, “Give us this day our daily bread”. 

Let’s review our definition of prayer:  “prayer is talking to my Father in a close intimate way to let Him know of my specific needs, admitting to Him my total helplessness apart from Him, and declaring my total dependence on Him”. 

The next section of the Lord’s Prayer deals with praying for our provision from God.  After focusing on who God is and asking Him to make His priorities our priorities, we are to bring Him our requests about our daily needs.  Remember, that He is concerned about all your needs, both the small, common, everyday needs and the big, special burdens.  There are four basic lessons that Jesus is teaching us concerning our daily needs.  In examining these four lessons we also learn the importance of examining the daily discipline in our lives.  The four lessons we learn are:

  1.  “Give”- We come to God and put our full trust in Him to supply every need.
  2. “Us” and “our”- We come to God as a part of a body, and not as individuals.
  3.  “This day”- We learn to be content by living one day at a time, confident in God’s ability to meet our everyday needs.
  4. “Our daily bread”- We pray for our physical needs to be met each day as well as remember that all that we have is provided by God.

When we receive Christ, the Bible teaches us that we become new creatures and old things, including mindsets, attitudes, and philosophies, are passing away.  They are being replaced with new things, including a new way of looking at life and the needs of life.  We are to renew our minds and we do so by going to God’s word and finding what He thinks about our lives.  Remember, we have asked God to make His priorities, or what is important to Him, also important to us.  Now we are to put into practice this total trust of our lives in the everyday needs of life.  As we work on our relationship with God, we learn to depend more on God to provide our basic needs each day.  The psalmist reminds all creation of our dependence upon God in Psalm 104:27-29,    “These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.   That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.  Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.”   These verses sum up all men’s lives.  The conclusion of this summation is that all wait on Jehovah God for our needs to be met.  All God must do is simply open His hand, and they are filled with good.  We all must recognize that since we didn’t come into existence by ourselves, we cannot maintain existence by ourselves.  If God withholds Himself, then man is confused.  If He, the Giver of Breath, should withhold breath, all die.  We are all totally and completely dependent upon the goodness and love of God.  God feeds all, rich and poor, great and lowly, powerful and weak.  God provides food for all each day.  It is comforting to know that He is personally interested in our needs as well.  However, we are faced with two big obstacles to praying and living “give us this day our daily bread”.  In order to pray and live this, we have to have faith that allows us to live one day at a time.  Instead of living for the future, we live in the presence and trust God for supplying my needs each day.  That gets a little scary.  We struggle with trusting God completely and find ourselves gripped with fear.  Remember, fear is the opposite of faith.  For whatever reason, we start doubting God’s willingness and ability to provide our daily needs each day.  We would much rather He give us enough to see us through the rest of our lives without every having to worry about daily needs.  A second reason it is tough to pray this is because we stop praying for needs and start praying selfishly for our wants because we start comparing what we have with what others have.  We want a lifestyle full of things that we have gotten through hard work and blessings instead of being content to have our needs met each day by God.  When we live day to day, we realize that we haven’t fulfilled the American dream.  We want the new car that others get, or the big screen tv which often means other new stuff to get the perfect entertainment experience.  We find it difficult to pray “give” because it somehow diminishes us and our importance.

The word “give” focuses us on a new way of viewing life.  From the Bible, our new relationship with God includes two opposite positions.  We are His children.  As our Father, He is responsible for us.  Every need we have is met by God who gives us what we need.  We are also His servants.  Likewise, a servant is given everything he needs by his master.  The concept of coming to God and putting full trust in Him to supply every need is a difficult one to embrace.  The concept of “give” is the heart of this petition.  By what right can we ask God to “give”?

Turn to Psalm 37 to find God’s promise to give us our basic needs.  Verse 3 states, “trust in the LORD and do good”.  Salvation is believing God and results in good works.  In a sense this shows our doctrine of salvation, we trust and God works through our surrendered lives to do good.  Verse 3 continues “so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed”.  Be what?  Fed.  It appears from the passage that this is talking about physical food.  That’s pretty practical.  But notice in the passage that in order for this provision to be given, we have some responsibilities.  Verse 4, “delight in the Lord”, “commit your way unto the Lord”.  Verse 7, “rest in the Lord” and verse 8 tells us “cease from anger, and forsake wrath”.  In verse 18, we are promised “in the days of famine they shall be satisfied”.  In this section, we also see a comparison between the righteous and the unrighteous.   The unrighteous is described as being “cut off” in verse 9.  In verse 12 the wicked is mentioned and later in verse 13, we are told “the Lord will laugh at him; for he sees that his day is coming”.  Later in verse 20, the wicked shall perish and God’s enemies will be burnt up like the fat of lambs, which really burns.  A great illustration of this is seen in the life of Elijah.  God, during a time of famine and drought, fed him, first by a raven and then by a poor widow.  It was a feast, but it kept him alive.  God gave him what he needed.  Back in Psalm 37, we read the climax of the passage in verse 25, , “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed (doing what?) begging bread.”  We can pray for God to give, because He has promised that He would.  Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, we read of God taking care of those who are His.  We can pray “give” because He has promised He would.

God tells us to pray “give us this day our daily bread” because He doesn’t want us to become preoccupied with our physical needs.  How often do we struggle with this?  I know that I do.  I find myself with a real need and I find my thoughts always coming back to this need.  I can’t delight myself in the Lord, because I am trying to work out ways to supply a need.  I come up with all types of plans and schemes to solve my problem.  I pray about it, but reveal my lack of faith by then looking for solutions myself.  God knows my needs and He promises to take care of them.  He wants me to focus on His kingdom and His righteousness.  I am to invest in His will and His kingdom.  Remember we just have prayed, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”  God promises to supply.  But how?

God may choose to supply food, shelter, or clothing by a supernatural act.  In the wilderness, God provided food by a supernatural act. We can also have our needs taken care of by working.  Back in Genesis 3:19, God tells us to earn our bread by working.  Work actually started in the Garden of Eden.  God wants us to be fulfilled and work is a way of doing it.  However, the fall complicated life.  We now look at work as a way of supplying our needs instead of worship.  So we focus on what we can get out of work instead of what we can give in work.  In everything we are to glorify God.  He gives us strength, abilities, health, and opportunities in which our needs are met through His work.  In the church age, He may choose to work through His people.  In James 2, we read that we are to do more than pat those with a need on the back and tell them we’re praying.  If we have within our means the ability to help others, we should be sensitive to God’s leading.  God often used His people to meet the needs of His servants and those who are unable to meet their own needs through work.  They may be sick, disabled, or have lost a job.  It may be that God has blessed you and He wants to work through you to meet needs of brothers and sisters in Christ.

The second lesson is found in the words “us” and “our”.  These are the seekers of this provision.  Notice it is not “me” and “my”.  God wants to remind us that the church of our God is not isolated and separated.  When I pray “us” and “our”, selfishness disappears from my prayers.  God wants me to see that I am a part of His family.  The prayer; “Give us” embodies all the Christian community.  How can I enjoy my abundance when my brother has less than enough?  It just encompasses that whole concept of sharing.  That’s why we are to pray this way and live this way, even if we are tremendously blessed by God.  We are reminded that everything we have is a gift from God.  We are also reminded of those who are our family in Christ.  God the Holy Spirit often speaks to us through pray.  When I pray this, God may put someone on my mind with whom I can share my abundance.

Few of us in this room have ever had to pray for one day of God’s provision, because He has so generally supplied our need even before we ask for His intervention.  In our world, there are people who pray each day for God to provide one meal of eatable food.  If by His grace we don’t have to worry about eating at least one meal per day, be thankful for His provision.  In American, someone at the poverty line of $11,000 per year is still wealthy enough to be in the top 14% of the global income distribution. There are more than a billion people around the world now living on less than $1 per day.  Except for the grace of God, we could be one of that billion.  Be thankful for His provision.  Even though we are tremendously blessed, we need to remember that if for one moment God would close His hand of provision, we are all in trouble.  Blessed or not, God is the One who puts the food on the table.

The third lesson is found in the phrase “This day.” The exact meaning of this phrase “this day” means for the coming day.  In its simplicity, in its moderation, in its very beauty is an expression that says one day at a time, Father, I accept Your provision. It stresses the contentment that comes when we live with a day by day confidence in God and don’t worry about the future.

Most Christians who worry, worry about what hasn’t happened, yet. We worry because we’re not too sure God’s going to provide our daily bread tomorrow. We are fearful because we doubt  His word. This doesn’t eliminate saving for the future. We need to see big pictures and when God blesses us, then we need to invest either in our future in this world or in our future in the world to come.  We also need to be content to trust God to meet our need in the future. We play the “What if Game”.  We say “what if this happens?” or fret about things maybe happening.  God wants us to remember that we live one day at a time.  Make sure that for that one day, you are bringing glory to God by doing what He designed you to do instead of being a slave to something out of your control. We only ask for physical provisions for this day.

Finally “bread” is the provision of our daily needs.  Here “bread” is referring specifically to our physical needs for each day.  God has to begin with the physical. It thrills me to know that God, the God who is the God of infinite celestial epochs, God who is the God of space, God who is the God beyond time, the God of eternity, God who is the infinitely holy God of the universe who holds all the whirling worlds and the spinning stars in the palm of His hand, that same God cares that my physical needs are met, that same God is concerned with the fact that I have a, a meal to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to rest. It thrills me that that God, that infinite eternal God has come to earth in terms of His caring love, and is concerned that the needs of my life in a physical way and your life be met, and He even sets certain conditions for them being met, we’ll get into that next week. But bread is all of that physical area. Martin Luther had it right when he said, “Everything necessary for the preservation of this life is bread, including food, a healthy body, good weather, house, home, wife, children, good government, peace.” End quote. He saw all of the physical elements of life, the necessities but not the luxuries of life. I don’t think that we can ask God for the luxuries of life based on this verse, but for the necessities. What He chooses to give us by way of luxury is at His gracious hand. But He promises to give us the necessities. You remember back in Proverbs chapter 30? In verses 8 and 9 he says, Lord, don’t give me so much that I forget You, and don’t give me so little that I steal and dishonor Your name. Just give me food that is convenient for me. I … think that’s the heart of this. It isn’t self-seeking, give me more and more and more and more, it’s just saying, Lord give me what I need.

Let us remember that we each face “needs” every day.  Maybe we are struggling with paying bills or have a medical condition or a relationship conflict.  To whom do we go in seeking answers to these needs?  As our pastor stated in a recent sermon and blog, “You will never seek God to do something in your life you believe you can find somewhere else.”  When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” we are seeking something to put on us (clothes), something to put in us (food) , something to put over us (place to live). In our world today, we might also need a car.  As Christians, we need to feel needed so we might also need a ministry.  Again we go back to praying that God makes His priorities for your priorities.  We might feel like we need a big house because all our friends have one, but what we really need is a small apartment.  Maybe, we want steak each day and God reminds us that vegetables and fruit are better for us.  We need to make sure what are “needs” and what are “wants”.

One question we might ask, is since God knows our needs and He never forgets, why pray each day?  If we don’t have needs, when why do we need to pray this?  The essence of the prayer is really an affirmation that all our substance comes from God.  I’m saying, God, I want to let You know that I realize that You are the source of my life, my food, my shelter, my clothing. It is that constant affirmation. When I call out to the Lord I say, Lord, hear my prayer and answer, and don’t I know that He will and always has? Yes, but He wants me to affirm that confidence because that exalts Him. I may not have to say, Oh God, I don’t have any food for my family, where is it going to come from? But I will ever and always say, God everything I have and all that I share with those I love comes from Your good and gracious hand. And so for us it is an affirmation of the source of everything. A precious thing it is to know that, that our God cares about our physical needs. So bread is the staple of life. And though we may not always be on the edge of hunger we are always to be thankful for all of it comes from Him. The verse that tells us to seek the kingdom of God first follows a verse that tells us that God knows what we need. So why pray each day?  D.L. Moody once said that we can’t stock up on grace for the future but we must draw from it from day to day.  Daily bread is a tangible part of God’s grace.  We are to ask for it, not because God forgets or wants us to beg, but because we have a short memory and often forget that it is Him who supplies our every need.  When we pray for Him to meet our daily needs, we will eliminate pride because we haven’t blessed our lives, He has.  We have been blessed because of His choice, not our hard work.  It also helps eliminates materialism.  Within each of us is a desire to fit into this world system.  John describes this desire as the result of three inner desires in I John 2.  Within each of us is the lust or desire of the flesh, the lust or desire of the eyes, and the pride of life.  God described these inner desires, the desire to experience anything we want with no restraints from a Higher Authority, the desire to possess anything we want regardless of the price, and the desire to be important, regardless of the method use to get there as inner manifestations of our old sin nature.  Notice the second one.  We have a natural tendency to want a life full of stuff.  Advertisers appeal to this inner desire through commercials which speak to our inner need to possess things.  When we daily go to God and remember that He supplies everything we have need of, our minds are turned from focusing on the stuff toward focusing on Him.  If you are bringing all needs to Him, whenever you are confronted with a big need, you will do, like Daniel, what you always do, pray.  Be specific in your needs. In this prayer, our focus is on God receiving glory with the requests to make God’s name holy, to let His kingdom come, and for His will to be done.  God is the supreme issue and then our needs.  We can’t pray for our needs until we have God in His proper place.  A proper understanding of this passage is that by giving us our daily bread, as well as forgiving our debts, and leading in our lives, God is glorified.  When we pray, give us this day our daily bread we are asking God to glorify Himself in our lives for all to see in our lives.  When God provides food or drink and we put it into our body, remember that when we eat or drink we are doing it for the glory of God.  In a real sense, we eat for God’s glory first and then for our benefit.  When we realize that the food we eat is a gift from God, then we can be thankful to the One who provided it, appreciate the taste, and be grateful for His display of love.

Prayer then, beloved, focuses on God as the one who supplies. It acknowledges that He is the source of all our physical needs and it teaches us to live one day at a time in the confidence that He will meet these needs. What a great, great, petition it is. I trust as we pray every day we will pray in confidence that we can focus on the spiritual levels because God is graciously caring for the physical. Oh, don’t get bogged down in the physical. Don’t get your thought patterns at that level. Don’t lose your joy and your opportunity by getting all wrapped up in the mundane. Set your affections on things above. Seek ye first the Kingdom and let God take care of the rest.

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