This sermon was delivered by Pastor Joel Littlefield at New City Church, Bath, ME on March 11, 2018.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Every word in this little sentence carries meaning for us and we’re going to take it one piece at a time, looking with eyes towards Christ.
Matthew 7:9 “Which one of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him?”
God is that supreme Giver. Jesus is making a comparison between earthly fathers who are sinful, and a perfect heavenly Father. If you being evil can give good gifts, how much more…
This is not a blank check for whatever we want. It’s a pre-written check that says, “I will do all my will, all that is my good for you, and accomplish what I desire for you.”
The greatest motivator for coming to God is not that He gives us what we want, but that He will accomplish what is good for us. He invites us to join Him in that desire through prayer.
We’re asking for His will and not ours. We’re not expecting that He should, or even would, give us something that is outside of His sovereign will.
To say “Give” is not to demand from God, but to humbly request. Whether it’s for food, or clothing, or some other daily provision, we come at His mercy. And whether He gives or not, whether He gives when we ask for it, or not at all, He knows what we need before we ask. And if we ask for something that we do not need, even if it seems like the most practical and pressing thing, to say “Your will be done” Is to walk in true freedom.
The greatest of men must be beholden to the mercy of God for their daily bread, – Matthew Henry
This is a reminder that we come, not just for ourselves, but with the whole Church of God in our minds. Think of Jesus who thanked His Father for the bread, then multiplied it for others to eat. Admittedly, It’s hard to think about more than just ourselves when we’re the ones in need of bread. But it’s still Christlike to do so. And it’s the very mindset that belief in the Gospel will give you.
When you know your Heavenly Father cares for you eternally, and has given you eternal life through Jesus, then you are truly free to care for others.
When you pray, give us this day, you’re coming with a willingness to carry others burdens through your fervent prayers.
The word “us” is also a reminder of our need to be around other people. If you’re never in a situation that calls for an “us” kind of prayer, then you’re missing out on a very important aspect of the Kingdom, that is, that you are part of the family of God. You’re not alone in your needs.
To say, “give us” this day, is ultimately to come to God with a mind having been saturated with the Gospel, so that we come with a mind for the good and provision of other, and not only ourselves. Remember that the Gospel takes those who were once alienated from God because of sin, and joins them together as one family through the blood of Jesus.
I want you think of what kind of discipline it would take for you to pray only for what you need today, and do not worry for a moment about tomorrow or next week, or your plans for the summer. I don’t mean don’t plan at all. But when it comes to trusting Jesus, you know as well as I do that’s it’s enough to worry about today alone.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”
They do not gather into barns. The birds of the air do not have a retirement plan or 401K or money that’s earning interest in the bank. They simply have what they need each day.
“We are here taught to acknowledge our entire dependence on God for the supply of our daily necessities.” JC Ryle
Exodus 16:4 “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.”
The Lord wants our trust daily. He will test you until you trust Him with the kind of trust that rests in Jesus. Do not strive in your own strength, but walk in the Spirit. To rest in Jesus is not a call to laziness, but to the most productive lives we could ever live. Trusting Jesus for the needs of each day means you will work hard at loving others, laying down your life for others, all for His glory and praise.
OUR DAILY BREAD
It’s the meat of our request. It’s not extravagant. Bread is the food both of beggars and of kings. It was a staple in the Jewish diet and Jesus used it in many of His teachings to paint a picture of provision for the body as well as for the soul. Now which is more important? Which one can we truly not live without? Bread for the body, or bread for the soul? Here’s a hint – Jesus said that He is the bread from heaven who came to fill us with eternal life. He is the fulfillment of that Manna story in the wilderness. He is the miraculous provision in the midst of our sin and grumbling. He is the Sabbath rest that gives us rest from our toil trying to keep the law perfectly, and in whom we can rest daily for all that we need.
The ultimate sense of this prayer is to trust. Trust in Him. Trust in what He provides and nothing else. Go to Him for bread because He is the Bread from Heaven. He gave His very flesh to be beaten and bruised so that poor and weak sinners without a shepherd could be saved and filled to never hunger again.
When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”, we do not need to be discouraged if provision doesn’t come in the manner we want it to. What matters is that we trust the Father who sent living bread from heaven to save us. And He would do that, shouldn’t we then trust Him with everything?