Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jesus taught that God is our Sustainer and Provider

May your [God’s] Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need
(Matthew 6:10-11, NLT).

The Jewish people knew the prophecies of a coming Messiah, whom they expected to throw off the nation’s oppressors, defeat her enemies, and restore Israel to her former glory under King David and King Solomon (called the “Golden Age of Israel Kingdom”). God had announced his Kingdom in the Covenant with Abraham (see Genesis 17:7-8), and pious Jews were still waiting for it – even today. So most Jews found accepting Jesus as the Messiah to be very difficult because Jesus preached a spiritual Kingdom, not an earthly, physical one. At least the physical one – future Kingdom – is coming soon but first, spiritual Kingdom.

When Jesus told his disciples to pray, “May your Kingdom come soon,” he was referring to God’s spiritual reign, not Israel’s freedom from Rome. To pray, “May your Kingdom come soon,” is to ask that more and more people will enter God’s Kingdom and to ask God to rule in their lives. It also reaffirms belief in the coming of a future Kingdom, when all evil will be destroyed, God will establish the new heaven and earth, and his glory will be known to all the nations (Psalm 110:1, Revelation 21:1).

Saying “May your will be done” acknowledge total submission to God’s rule, praying that God’s perfect purpose will be accomplished in this world (“on earth”) as it already is in heaven. With submission to God and his rule comes total dependence. The next request regards personal needs and provisions. “Give us today the food we need” or better “Give us today our daily bread.” “Food” or “bread” refers to food in general, though it could also refer to spiritual nourishment. Ask God for physical and spiritual “food.” Notice that we must trust God “today” to provide what he knows we need.

Think about this: Believers must trust God for provision and not worry. The fact that God provides daily food does not mean we should just sit back, relax, and wait for food (or money) to drop into our laps. We need to work to earn enough to pay for what we eat. Praying for daily food acknowledges that God is Sustainer and Provider. God gives us ability and opportunities to work. He provides.

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