The people of Jesus’ day were very familiar with the Old Testament. They knew about God’s miraculous acts for Israel while they wandered in the wilderness under Moses. During that 40-year period, God provided heavenly manna daily for His people. God strengthened them, and fed them from His hand every single day throughout their unexpected trek through the wilderness. When Jesus mentions a petition for “daily bread” in His instructive prayer, this historical background is clearly in view.
Should we forsake this Old Testament context we leave ourselves blind to what Jesus is trying to remind us of in this prayer? Just as the modern line “take me out to the ball game…” makes us think of baseball, Jesus’ remarks about “daily bread” would have pointed His disciples back to the manna in the wilderness.
The manna was a daily reminder for the people of God that it is only from the hand of God alone that we receive all that we need. Moses warning came forward to the people in these words: “take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments…lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them…then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 8:11-12, 14 ESV). Much like ourselves, we often forget about God’s faithfulness once our crises are over. But God, speaking through His prophet Moses in Deuteronomy 8:11-12, said in effect, “When I provide for all your needs, do not forget who I AM, what I have done, and what I’ve commanded.”
God reminded the Israelites that the only reason they are alive and well is not because of their savvy or brilliance, or their mere will to survive, but it is all due to the grace of God alone. God willed for them to receive His mercy rather than His holy wrath. In other words, God wanted to remind them simply that He loved them and His love sustained them, not because of who they are, or what they have done or what they will do, but it is only because of who the LORD is as a faithful covenant-keeping God.
Everything we receive is a gift from God’s hand. God has designed you to live with Him, under Him and His Word. You are designed to be dependent on Him for all things, and it is when we fail to realize that dependence and when we fail to honor God truly as the One “from whom all blessings flow” that our lives are going to get messed up; ruined even. Dependence is not a bad place to be, as long as the one we wait upon is God Himself. So often people look to their talents and abilities and belittle others who fail to have such gifts. But such outbursts of hubris and vain-arrogance reveal a childish ignorance that fails to recognize that all we have are gifts from God; gifts that we have honed and properly appropriated, but gifts nonetheless. Our ultimate success can never be rooted then in our abilities, or strength or wisdom; we cannot look inwardly for hope.
Instead, we must look to the cross of Christ and see that the last thing we need is what we can produce. The Good News of God’s saving love in Christ is that from beginning to end, it’s all about Jesus living the perfectly obedient life and dying the most savage death, so that we could live forever with God with our sins forgiven and our polluted hearts and minds cleansed by His Spirit. Where do you need God’s provision in your life? I’ll encourage you that you are far needier than you know, but our God is far more gracious than we could ever imagine. Ask Him to provide for your needs, physically, emotionally, relationally but first spiritually, for until we are made right with Him every other relationship will be askew and every provision unable to rightly fill the void in our hearts for Christ our King. For more articles like this check us out at http://www.CRCalexandria.org.
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