Introduction “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”

Introduction to “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”

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"Our Father Who Art In Heaven"

By Ron Christian

"This, then, is how you should pray:

"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

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“Thy Kingdom Come” Part I

"Thy Kingdom Come". (Part 1)

"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"


CHAPTER 4 – OUTLINE

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Thy Kingdom Come". (Part 1)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Let Your Kingdom come". (Matthew 6:10)

INTRODUCTION:

"To grasp what is meant by the Kingdom of God is to come very close to the heart of the Bible's gospel of salvation." (John Bright)

PROPOSITION:

Before we can appreciate Jesus' teaching of the Kingdom of God, we must spend considerable time studying the development of the idea in the Old Testament.

I. Misinterpretation of the 'Kingdom of God'

A. Development of the Messianic Concept

1. Formulation of Messianic Concept

2. Prophetic Development of Messianic Concept (8th century prophets)

3. Exilic Development of Messianic Concept

4. Post-Exilic Development of Messianic Concept

B. Development of Covenant Concept

1. Israel's Election

2. Israel's Covenant Obligation

3. Israel's Abuse of Covenant

4. Israel's Rejection by God

CONCLUSION:

Herein lies the misinterpretation of the 'Kingdom of God' – identifying the coming Messiah as a great son of David, and assuming that the Kingdom of Israel is the Kingdom of God. It was with these two false conceptions that Jesus had to deal in His teachings regarding the Kingdom of God.

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CHAPTER 4 – OUTLINE

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Thy Kingdom Come". (Part 1)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Let Your Kingdom come." (Matthew 6:10)

INTRODUCTION:

Says Barclay: "The phrase 'Thy Kingdom of God' is characteristic of the whole New Testament. There is no phrase which is used oftener in prayer and in preaching and in Christian literature. It is, therefore, of primary importance that we should be clear as to what it means." (Barclay's Matthew; v. 1; p. 210)

Mark's Gospel begins with the significant words: "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of God, and saying: 'The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.'" (1: 14-15) Jesus often spoke of the Kingdom of God and spoke of it as being of paramount importance. And yet Jesus merely assumed that all who heard the phrase would understand it, as indeed the Jews did. However, to modern man, the phrase has little meaning.

The importance of understanding this phrase cannot be emphasized enough. Indeed, as John Bright has pointed out, "To grasp what is meant by the Kingdom of God is to come very close to the heart of the Bible's gospel of salvation." (The Kingdom of God; p.7)

One cannot appreciate the phrase – The Kingdom of God – as it is used in the New Testament without some understanding of the Old Testament history behind this concept. In fact, it is this concept – The Kingdom of God – which gives an overall unity to the Bible. It is this concept, with all of its development that ties the Old and the New Testaments together.

PROPOSITION:

In this message we will seek to trace the development of the concept through the Old Testament, and show how the idea of the 'Kingdom of God' was misinterpreted. Before we can appreciate Jesus' teaching on the Kingdom of God, we must spend considerable time studying the development of the idea in the Old Testament. To appreciate its proper interpretation, we must first seek how it was improperly interpreted in the Old Testament.

I. Misinterpretation of the 'Kingdom of God'

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To understand how the idea of the 'Kingdom of God' was often misinterpreted in the Old Testament times, we must trace the development of the Messianic concept, and we must also note the development of the Covenant concept.

A. Development of the Messianic Concept

1. Formulation of Messianic Concept.

The formulation of the Messianic concept was wrought about through the wistful longings of the Israelite people during the dark days of their nation's decline. Israel wistfulling longed for a king who would reign like King David. David was Israel's greatest king and it was David who reigned during the Golden Age of Israel's history. David was idolized as the ideal king who gave Israel military, political, material, and spiritual success. Ever after David, the people of Israel looked back upon his age as the ideal age and upon David as the ideal King.

R.V.G. Tasker well summarizes the early beginnings of the Messianic idea. "At first after the establishment of the monarchy, because Utopia is usually fashioned after the form of government familiar to the dreamer, it was thought that the Kingdom when it came would be inaugurated by an ideal king born of the lineage of King David, who would be the visible representative on earth of God Himself, God's anointed one, or 'Christ,' who would always seek to do God's will, ruling in no self-seeking spirit, but solely for God's glory. So the coming of the Kingdom is usually associated in the days before the exile with the coming of a Messiah, a son of David, a Christ." (The Nature and Purpose of the Gospels; p. 63)

2. Prophetic Development of Messianic Concept (8th century prophets)

At the time that the great 8th century B.C. prophets (Amos, Micah, and Isaiah) spoke, Israel had descended to a level of complacency and indulgence. Society was sick with many diseases – social injustice, personal indulgence, religious corruption, political violence. Religious ceremony was a substitute for sound, ethical practice. There was a naive confidence that God was for Israel and therefore there was no reason to be alarmed.

It was the prophetic duty to shake the people out of their complacency and to warn them of God's justice and judgment. A few heeded; most didn't. It was the prophets' thankless job to tell Israel that God's judgment would be severe on the unrepentant nation, and that Israel's enemies would be God's instruments for that punishment! God's

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purpose would not be frustrated however, for there would always be a purified remnant through which God would work out His purposes.

Because the period of the eighth century (B.C.) prophets was a period of national decline accompanied with the decay of the monarchy (which up to this time had been the source of inspiration for the Messianic concept), "It was very natural that, when these prophets painted their word- pictures of the Kingdom of God, less emphasis should be given by them to the king of the house of David who should inaugurate it, and that the description of that blessed Messianic age should be given in more general terms." (Ibid; p. 66)

The description of the Messianic Age was given in more general terms mainly because there was a lack of confidence in the possibility of a human agent having the ability to inaugurate the Kingdom of God. In this uncertain time, when the foundation of the monarchy was quaking and cracking, there was the feeling that no son of David could establish the Kingdom of God, but that only God Himself could bring salvation and deliverance. During this eighth century the 'Kingdom of God' became less and less associated with the monarchy and with a human agent, and was described more and more in general terms with God Himself as the agent for its establishment. As Tasker says, "The idea of a king, the son of the house of David, falls more and more into the background." (Ibid; p. 66)

3. Exilic Development of Messianic Concept.

During the period of the exile the idea of a coming Kingdom underwent the most profound changes. The destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, the exile of the majority population, and the resultant consequence of no longer being able to worship according to the old ways, all were happenings which caused a radical re-thinking of Messianic idea. As Tasker says, "It was obvious that the old narrow Messianic hopes of an earthly king reigning at Jerusalem had to be modified under the momentous changes, which had taken place in the national life … But with the exile in Babylon, not only did the cultus of the Temple services cease, thereby opening the way for the emphasis laid by Jeremiah and Ezekiel upon personal religion, but the monarchy ceased as well … The more such prophets stressed their teaching of the new covenant, in which God dealt immediately and directly with each individual soul without any mediator, the more clear it became that the Kingdom of God could not be inaugurated by any being who in the least resembled an earthly king, even the great King David; but that it would only come by the direct intervention of God." (Ibid; pgs. 66, 67, 68)

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4. Post-Exilic Development of Messianic Concept.

In the early post-exilic period, the Jews realized that the Kingdom of God could not be inaugurated or established by a human being, but that God Himself or some mysterious divine being appointed by God could only establish the Kingdom of God. In the book of Daniel, the description of a son of man is given. This mysterious son of man is given. This one is described as coming on the clouds of heaven to receive the kingdom: "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13, Daniel 7:14) It was this title – Son of Man – which Jesus preferred more than any other Messianic title. It was the term used to designate the Divine being who would inaugurate God's Kingdom.

In later post-exilic times – the period just before Christ came to earth – laws were codified (arranged in systematic collections) and religion became more legal, formal, and rigid than ever before. "The old idea of the Messiah as an earthly king who would slay his enemies, not only lingered, but became again the most popular one … No longer were the prophets but the scribes of the Pharisees the religious teachers of the multitude; and they were laying upon men's shoulders burdens too great to be borne." (Ibid; p. 71)

We have endeavored thus far to gain a better appreciation of the Messianic concept as it developed throughout the Old Testament history of the Israelite people. One is justified in carefully tracing that development when one realizes that much of Jesus' teaching about the Kingdom was built off of Old Testament concepts. To understand what the Jews believed about the Messiah and about the Kingdom of God, is to better appreciate Jesus' teachings regarding the Kingdom, for Jesus was a Jew and He spoke in Jewish categories, assuming that His Jewish hearers had an understanding of popular Jewish concepts. What has been said, is for the purpose of supplying basic and popular Old Testament concepts which will aid us in developing a proper understanding of the New Testament idea of 'The Kingdom of God'.

Before we can discuss the New Testament idea of 'The Kingdom of God', we must further lay the foundation. To better prepare us for a study of the New Testament phrase 'Thy Kingdom Come', we will look at one other Old Testament concept – The Covenant.

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B. Development of Covenant Concept

1. Israel's Election.

At the very heart of Jewish faith was the belief that Israel was God's chosen people. "The Bible story traces this history of election back to Abraham, but it was in the Exodus events that Israel saw her real beginnings as a people. The memory of the Exodus towered over the national consciousness for all time to come." (The Kingdom of God; p. 27) God elected Israel as His special people through whom He sought to accomplish His purposes in history. "And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians." (Exodus 6:7) The writer of Deuteronomy says to Israel: "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." (Deuteronomy 7:6)

2. Israel's Covenant Obligation.

God made a covenant with Israel. Israel was chosen by God from all the nations of the earth as God's special instrument through which He would work out His purposes. However, it is important to note that Israel was not chosen on the basis of her own merit or on the basis of any inherent worth that she possessed. God's covenant relationship with God was an act of God's grace and love and was not made with Israel because she was any better than any other nation.

Israel's Exodus from Egypt was the outstanding event of God's grace and favor by which Israel became solidified as God's chosen people. It was this great historical act of mercy which was meant to constantly remind Israel of God's loving kindness.

God's covenant with Israel was a bilateral contract – not between equals – but nevertheless a contract involving mutual obligations. God promised to deliver Israel from her enemies and to preserve her as His special instrument, if Israel would simply pledge loyalty and show gratitude to its God.

Israel enjoyed an unprecedented privilege – the honor of being God's chosen people and of enjoying God's protection and defense. However, Israel's covenant with God assumed a major obligation – Obedience and Gratitude.

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3. Israel's Abuse of Covenant.

What was the main failure of Israel? Israel failed because of her preoccupation with her special election combined with an accompanying disregard for her covenant obligations. "In short, the whole notion of covenant and election had been made a mechanical thing, the deeply moral note inherent in it blurred and obscured. It had been forgotten that the covenant was a bilateral obligation, requiring of its people the worship of Yahweh alone and the strictest obedience to his righteous law in all human relationships. Or if the obligation was remembered at all, it was imagined that lavish sacrifice and loyal support of the shrines discharged it … And religion was accorded an altogether pagan function: to coerce the favor of God by the sedulous manipulation of the ritual so that protection and material benefit might be secured for individual and nation." (Kingdom of God; p. 64)

Israel was substituting lavish sacrifices for moral rectitude and justice. No amount of religious ceremony can take the place of justice and righteousness.

21 "I hate, I despise your religious feasts; 
I cannot stand your assemblies. 
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, 
I will not accept them. 
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, [a] 
I will have no regard for them. 
23 A way with the noise of your songs! 
I will not listen to the music of your harps. 
24 But let justice roll on like a river, 
righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:21-24)

Israel failed because she failed to be guided by her covenant obligations – brotherly love, mercy, justice, humility, and gratitude. No amount of religious ceremony could substitute for these qualities.

6 With what shall I come before the LORD 
and bow down before the exalted God? 
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, 
with calves a year old? 
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, 
with ten thousand rivers of oil? 
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, 
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

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8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. 
And what does the LORD require of you? 
To act justly and to love mercy 
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:6-8)

Not even the prophetic challenge could crack Israel's naive and false confidence in her special election. Israel failed to realize that her covenant relationship was not automatic and mechanical but that it was bilateral and moral. Israel failed to realize that her special election involved moral imperatives. Israel's election was for responsibility. Therefore, to flaunt these responsibilities brings special judgment. Said God to Israel: "You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities." (Amos 3:2)

4. Israel's Rejection by God.

The exile proved to Israel that her covenant with God had moral stipulations and requirements, which, if flaunted or disregarded brought their judgment and punishment. God's rejection of the Israelite state taught the Jews that the Kingdom of Israel was not identical with the Kingdom of God. How shocking was God's prediction of Israel's destruction: "Behold the eyes of Lord Yahweh are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth." (Amos 9:8 a; Bright)

God's rejection of Israel by God is not final or complete, for God will always have a purged remnant through which He will accomplish His purposes. As the pages of Old Testament history pass over into New Testament reality, we learn that the Church of Christ – the New Israel – becomes that cleansed remnant through which God works His redemptive purposes.

CONCLUSION:

We have traced the Messianic concept through the main periods of Old Testament history. The Messianic concept took on various forms with the ebb and flow of historical events. We briefly summarize those various forms: (a) After the formation of the monarchy and the ascendency of David to the throne of Israel, Israel's glory declined and her territory became the battleground for sectional strife. During these days of darkness and decline, Israel's hope of a Messiah was described in terms of a great son of David. (b) Because the monarchies was cracking at its very foundation, and because Israel's kings were corrupt, the coming Kingdom was described in more general terms with less emphasis upon the coming Messiah as a great son of David. (c)

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During the exile, the monarchy was destroyed and confidence in a human agent as the establisher of the Kingdom was shattered. If the Kingdom of God was to ever be fully realized, God Himself would have to be the Agent and Inaugurator. (d) In the early post-exilic period it was thought that God would appoint some mysterious being – the son of man as Daniel called him – who would establish the kingdom. (e) During the time just before Christ came on the scene of history, the Messianic concept had relapsed into the old idea of the Messiah as an earthly king who would slay his enemies. It was this concept of the Messiah that was popular when Jesus came forth into Galilee preaching about the Kingdom.

We have also traced the development of the covenant concept. (a) The Jews believed that they were the chosen people of God. They were elected by God. (b) Israel's covenant with God involved obligations as well as privileges. (c) Israel's failure was her naive preoccupation with election at the expense of forgetting her covenant obligations. (d) God's rejection of Israel proved to Israel that she was not the true Kingdom of God.

Herein lies the misinterpretation of the 'Kingdom of God' – identifying the coming Messiah as a great son of David, and assuming that the Kingdom of Israel is the Kingdom of God. The former mistake was corrected at times during Israel's history but was continuing to persist as the New Testament narrative was begun. The latter mistake was corrected by the exile but the rudiments of this false conception were still existent in the New Testament. It was with these two false conceptions that Jesus had to deal in His teachings regarding the' Kingdom of God. With the background of this message, let us not attempt to understand the true meaning of the Kingdom of God, as Jesus taught it. To this subject we move in the next message. (Thy Kingdom Come – Part II)

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“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

"Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"


CHAPTER 7 – OUTLINE

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Give us today bread/or the coming day" (Matthew 6:12)

INTRODUCTION:

"In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus teaches us to bring the whole of life to the whole of God, and to bring the whole of God to the whole of life." (William Barclay)

PROPOSITION:

We will look at both the meaning and the application of this petition.

I. Meaning of the Petition.

II. Application of the Petition

A. Man Is Dependent Upon God

1. God provides for the Present.

2. God provides for the Future.

B. God Is Dependent Upon Man

1. Man must work for provisions.

2. Man must supply provisions.

CONCLUSION:

If all people are to be provided with the basic necessities of life, we must remember that man is not only dependent upon God, but that God is also dependent upon man.

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CHAPTER 7

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Give us today bread for the coming day" (Matthew 6:12)

INTRODUCTION:

Thus far we have studied that part of the Lord's Prayer which focuses attention upon God. The first three petitions of the Lord's Prayer are:

"Our Father in heaven let your name be held holy: 
Let your Kingdom Come; 
Let your will be done, as in heaven, so upon earth."

These three petitions all contain something about God: (1) God's love, (2) God's family, (3) God's power, (4) God's holiness, (5) God's Kingdom, and (6) God's will.

The last three petitions of the Lord's Prayer are:

"Give us today bread for the coming day; 
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; 
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One."

Says Barclay about the second part of the prayer: "The second part of the prayer, the part of it which deals with our needs and our necessities, is a marvelously wrought unity. It deals with the three essential needs of man, and the three spheres of time within which man moves. First, it asks for bread, thereby asking for that which is necessary for the maintenance of life, and thereby bringing the needs of the present to the throne of God. Second, it asks for forgiveness, thereby bringing the past into the presence of God, and of God's forgiving grace. Third, it asks for help in temptation, there by committing all the future into the hands of God. In these three brief petitions, we are taught to lay the present, the past, and the future, all before the footstool of the grace of God … But not only is this carefully wrought prayer a prayer which lays the whole of life in the presence of God; it is also a prayer which brings the whole of God to our lives. When we ask for bread to sustain our earthly lives, that request immediately directs our thoughts to God the Father, the Creator and the Sustainer of all life. When we ask for forgiveness, that request immediately directs our thoughts to God the Son, Jesus Christ our Saviour and Redeemer. When we ask for help for future temptation, that request immediately directs our thoughts to God the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Strengthener, the Illuminator, the Guide and the Guardian of our way … ln the Lord's Prayer Jesus teaches us to bring the whole of life to the whole of God, and to bring the whole of God to the whole of life." (Barclay's Matthew vol. 1; p. 199)

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PROPOSITION:

It is the first petition of the second half of The Lord's Prayer which we will look at and study today: "Give us today bread for the coming day." Let us first note the real meaning of the petition, and secondly, let us see what is necessary in order for this prayer to be answered. We will look at both the meaning and the application of this petition.

I. Meaning of the Petition

In Barclay's commentary on this passage, he has noted several explanations that have been given for this petition. "(1) The bread has been identified with the bread of the Lord's Supper. (2) The bread has been identified with the spiritual food of the Word of God. (3) The bread has been taken to stand for Jesus Himself." (Barclay's Matthew; p.21S) All of these explanations have their point of truth. However, it is not a spiritual explanation which is the best explanation for the meaning of this passage.

This petition is a simple petition that God will provide food for the coming day. The practical, obvious meaning is the best meaning. As Charles Allen once said "Why try to spiritualize this petition? After all, even a saint must eat. Even our very prayers would die on our lips if we did not have food to sustain our bodies. Jesus preached to the people, He healed the sick, He forgave their sins, and He also used his marvelous power to feed them real bread. Study our Lord's life. You will see He knew something about the everyday struggle to make ends' meet. He knew the meaning of the widow's two mites, what a disaster the loss a coin might be, wearing clothes which were patched. He knew about shopping in the grocery store to try to stretch a budget to feed the family. He talks about the housewife who must buy two birds which sold for a penny … In the gray dawn of the morning we see Him on the seashore, His disciples had been fishing all night. Now they were coming in, and the Lord was prepared for them. What did He prepare? A prayer meeting. They needed prayer. A majestic and overwhelming revelation of Himself? They had lost faith in Him. No, He prepared breakfast." (God's Psychiatry; p. 111)

To us affluent Americans, it might be harder for us to understand the urgency in this petition. We have so much but some have so little. It is probably only the man who has really been hungry who can truly understand this petition. Kagawa was such a man. A Japanese Christian man who had a great love for Japanese people, could sympathize with their hunger for he himself experienced hunger pangs. Writes one about Kagawa: "When Kagawa moved into the slums of Kobo he learned that hungry, cold and sick persons need religion in action as well as religion in words. As he shared his meager food allowance with three indigent friends he knew hunger. He, like the others, could not work nor think of much else than the gnawing pangs of hunger. Later, he said that it was then that he began to understand the Lord's Prayer, 'Give us this day our daily bread.' If you have food and know no hunger you can never understand the Lord's

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prayer." (Kagawa, Japanese Prophet; by J.M. Trout; pgs. 18, 19) Kagawa testifies to this when he writes: "The wolf of poverty unceasingly pursues me – I who am harassed by the devil of disease. All too well do I know the terribleness of the tug of this wolf's tusk. Hence I am over fleeing at breakneck speed. I cannot tell how far I will make good my escape, but, having somehow succeeded until now, it seems probable that in the future, too, flight will be possible. Come on, 0 Wolf of Poverty! Come on! I will keep just one step ahead in this furious flight … If God but grants me strength to keep just one step ahead in the flight, I shall continue my present course. When one is on one's mettle it is possible to keep very near to God. And since nearness to God is for me the greatest of all blessings, despite the frightfulness of this wolf, I will flee until I fall. As regards the far future, that is in God's hand. Here, blind as I am, though driven to bay by the wolf, with faith in God's guidance I will run through the dark to the uttermost of my strength. As long as I can make good my escape, my life will be victory-crowned." (Ibid; p. 23, 24)

Hunger is a very present reality everyday to many people in many countries. The traditional Chinese greeting is, "Have you eaten today?" Writes one person about the adverse conditions in Haiti: "In 90 percent of the houses the people suffer from some kind of disease, the most prevalent being tetanus and tuberculosis (also malaria). About 60 percent of the children die at an early age due to malnutrition. It is heartbreaking to see so many people thin, hungry, and dying of malnutrition, especially children going to bed crying with empty stomachs, without hope for the next day." Conditions in India are also very bad. Says Thomas Rayner, "I can hardly take a morsel of food without thinking, 'How can I eat my bread alone'? I know that 30 percent of India goes to bed every single night of the year without one grain of rice or other food in their stomachs."

When we consider the vast starvation in the world, it is tragic to know that in the United States it is now possible to buy low calorie diets for overweight dogs! How lacking in compassion we Americans are! As Franklin Field says, "Hardening of the heart ages people more quickly than hardening of the arteries." It may be that it is hard for us to understand the relevancy of this petition in the Lord's Prayer, simply because we are so fat with our affluence.

II. Application of the Petition.

What is necessary in order for this petition to be answered? When we pray 'Give us this day our daily bread', we should be reminded of two things: (a) Man is dependent upon God, (b) God is dependent upon man.

A. Man Is Dependent Upon God

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It is hard for us to realize that man is very dependent upon God for present and future provisions. In appreciating how this petition – 'Give us this day our daily bread' – is answered, we must realize that man is dependent upon God.

1. God provides for the Present.

It is common acknowledgement that we would never have bread if man had to depend upon his own technological achievement and scientific research. It is God alone who gives life to the seed, fertility to the ground, water for the soil, and sunshine for the plant. Man can analyze life, but only God can give life. Man can harvest the crop, but only God can grow the crop. Man is dependent upon God for his basic necessities. This petition – 'Give us this day our daily bread' – has been answered for us, is being answered for us, and will be answered for us, simply because the God of all life cares and provides for man.

"Back of the loaf is the snowy flour, 
And back of the flour the mill, 
And back of the mill is the wheat and the shower, 
And the sun and the Father's will."

(God's Psychiatry; p. 113)

If God can clothe the flowers of the field in garments of unparalleled beauty, and if He cares for the animals of all creation, how much more does he care for man, the crown of His Creation. God cares for the present needs of the animals; how much more does he care for and provide for the present needs of man. God has provided for the present needs of the world. As one said, "The problem of the world is not that there is not enough to go round; there is enough and to spare." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 220)

2. God provides for the Future.

When Jesus teaches us to pray for our 'daily' bread, He is teaching us to trust Him for the future. We are meant to live one day at a time and not to worry about the future. Said Jesus, "I tell you, therefore, do not worry about your life, about what you are to eat, or what you are to drink; and do not worry about your body, about what you are to wear … So, then, do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will worry about itself. Its own troubles are quite enough for the day." (Barclay's Matthew 6:25, Matthew 6:34) Says Barclay in comment to Jesus' teachings, "Jesus is not advocating a shiftless, thriftless, reckless, thoughtless,

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improvident, attitude to life; He is forbidding a care-worn, worried fear, which takes all the joy out of life." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 258)

God will provide for the future. We can rest assured in that. Many of our worries concerning the future are useless and needless. The story is told of a London doctor who "was paralyzed and bed-ridden, but almost outrageously cheerful, and his smile so brave and radiant that everyone forgot to be sorry for him. His children adored him, and when one of his boys was leaving the nest and starting forth upon life's adventure, Dr. Greatheart gave him good advice:" 'Johnny,' he said, 'the thing to do my lad, is to hold your own end up, and to do it like a gentleman, and please remember the biggest troubles you have got to face are those that never come.'" (Barclay's Matthew; p. 262)

We are to face the future by facing each day as it comes. God will provide for the day's needs. God gave Israel manna, one day at a time. The secret to facing the future is to trust God one day at a time.

If God cares for the animals of the field and air and supplies their daily needs, how much more will God supply the needs of our future. One Jewish Rabbi said, "I have never seen a stag as a dryer of figs, or a lion as a porter, or a fox as a merchant, yet they are all nourished without worry. If they, who are created to serve me, are nourished without worry, 'how much more ought I, who am created to serve my Maker, to be nourished without worry." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 260)

When we pray 'Give us this day our daily bread,' we are acknowledging our dependence upon God who provides for our present needs and also our future needs. However, in fully appreciating how this petition is answered, we must also realize that God is dependent upon man.

B. God Is Dependent Upon Man

1. Man must work for provisions.

It would be foolish to think that this prayer will be answered by man folding his arms and waiting for God to answer it. Prayer without human co-operation and work is useless and futile. God does not answer our prayers 'for' us, but God answers our prayers 'with' us. Divine power and human initiative join together to achieve results. God gives life to a seed, but it takes a man to plant the seed. God gives growth to the crop, but it takes a man to cultivate, irrigate, and to harvest the crop. Barclay cites a story to illustrate this. "There was a man who had an

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allotment; he had with great toil reclaimed a piece of ground, clearing away the stones, eradicating the rank growth of weeds enriching and feeding the ground, until it produced the loveliest flowers and vegetables. One evening he was showing a pious friend around his allotment. The pious friend said, 'It's wonderful what God can do with a bit of ground like this, isn't it?' 'Yes,' said the man who had put in such toil, 'but you should have seen this bit of ground when God had it to Himself!' God's bounty and man's toil must combine." (Barclay's Matthew, vol. 1; p. 220)

2. Man must supply provisions.

God has provided enough food for all of the world's inhabitants, but it takes men to distribute the food to the people of the world. Before this prayer can be answered for all people, there is need for more human cooperation. There is enough food for the whole world, but instead of it being distributed, much of it is being wasted. Says Barclay about this: "In America granaries overflow with corn; in Brazil they fire locomotives with blocks of surplus coffee. The problem is not the supply of life's essentials; it is the distribution of them. This prayer teaches us never to be selfish in our prayers. It is a prayer which we can help God to answer by giving to others who are less fortunate than we are. This prayer is not only a prayer that we may receive our daily bread; it is also a prayer that we may share our daily bread with others." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 220)

"If I have eaten my morsel alone" - 
The patriarch spoke in scorn; 
What would he think of the church, 
Were he shown Heathendom, hugh, forlorn, 
Godless, Christless, with soul unfed, 
While the Church's ailment is fullness of bread, 
Eating her morel alone?...

Ever of them who have largest dower 
Shall Heaven require the more; 
Ours is affluence, knowledge, power, 
Ocean from shore to shore; 
And East and West in our oars have said, 
"Give us; give us your living Bread"; 
Yet we eat our morsel alone.

"Freely, as ye have received, so give." 
He bade, who hath given us all;

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How shall the soul in us longer live, 
Deaf to their starving call, 
For Whom the Blood of the Lord was shed, 
And His Body broken to give them Bread, 
If we eat our morsel alone?"

(Alexander, Primate of Ireland; Compassion Quote; Taken)

Said A. J. Gordon, "I have long since ceased to pray, 'Lord Jesus, have compassion on a lost world'. I remember the day and hour when I seemed to hear the Lord rebuking me for making such a prayer. He seemed to say to me: 'I have had compassion upon a lost world. Now it is time for you to have compassion. I have given my heart. Now give your heart." Said Job, "If I have withheld the poor from their desire … or have eaten my morsel myself alone … lf I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering … then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone."

A humble Scottish woman had lived for many years on porridge that she might give to missions the cost of her comforts and luxuries. One day a friend gave her a coin to 'buy a chop,' he said. She looked at it awhile, and then said, 'I have got on very well on porridge so far, and I think I'll just stick to it.' And so the coin went for missions. The minister was telling this at a missionary breakfast, and a comfortable-looking woman got up and said, 'Well, I never have done without a chop for Christ's sake, and so I shall begin today to sacrifice by giving $1,000 to missions.' Others followed suit, and before that breakfast was over, $12,000 had been contributed to missions."

A noted philanthropist, John Howard, once said, "We must learn to give up our luxuries to supply the comforts of others, our comforts to supply their necessity, and even our necessities to supply their extremities."

God wants all people of every country to have bread and He has provided enough bread to feed all mouths in the world. It is up to us to distribute that bread. How can we distribute that bread? By giving money to missions.

CONCLUSION:

This petition – 'Give us this day our daily bread' – is a petition that must not be merely spiritualized. It is a simple request that God will provide the basic necessities of life.

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If all people are to be provided with the basic necessities of life, we must remember that man is not only dependent upon God, but that God is also dependent upon man. This petition means that we are to distribute what we have received in order that the less fortunate will be provided with daily bread.

"Love is the bread that feeds the multitudes; 
Love is the healing of the hospitals; 
Love is the light that breaks through prison doors; 
Love knows not rich, nor poor, nor good nor bad..."

(George Edward Woodberry)

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