When God Meets Our Needs by Pastor Abidan Shah

WHEN GOD MEETS OUR NEEDS by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

whengodmeetsourneedsIntroduction: We have reached the 5th message in this series on the Lord’s Prayer called “Talking to the Father” and today’s message is titled “When God Meets Our Needs.”

Matthew 6   9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Overall Background: We’ve come to the midpoint in the Lord’s Prayer and so far we have looked at the first 3 lines known as the “Thou Petitions” – “Hallowed be thy name,” “Thy kingdom come,” and Thy will be done.” Now we will look at the next 3 lines known as the “We Petitions” – “Give us this day our daily bread,” “Forgive us our debts,” and “Lead us not into temptations but deliver us from the evil one.” Before we can proceed, there is something very important that we need to understand. Scholars have argued for sometime over the reason for this shift from the “Thou” to the “We” Petitions:

  • Some have insisted that the shift tells us that prayer is not just about focusing on God’s Name, God’s Kingdom, and God’s Will but it is also an opportunity for us to bring our personal petitions to God for daily needs, forgiveness, and protection. It’s a reminder that God is not just some transcendent being who is unmoved by our daily struggles but He’s our Heavenly Father who genuinely cares about His children’s needs and deserves our daily gratitude.
  • Others have argued that the “We Petitions” are much more than what appears on the surface. They are not as much about our personal needs here and now as they are about our spiritual needs in the coming kingdom. So “Give us this day our daily bread,” is really about Jesus, the bread of life, satisfying us one day with eternal salvation, “Forgive us our debts,” is really about the final forgiveness at the last judgment, and “Lead us not into temptations” is really about the future preservation through the tribulation. Hence there is no real shift.

Question: Who is right? Are the “We Petitions” just about daily personal needs or are they also about future spiritual needs? They are both. This morning when we look at the first “We Petition” – “Give us this day our daily bread,” we find that, first, it is about our daily physical needs; but then, it is also about our daily and future spiritual needs.

Question: Do you believe that your Heavenly Father cares about your daily needs? Do you come to Him as a child and ask Him for your daily bread? Do you also believe that you need spiritual bread from your Heavenly Father? Are you daily feeding upon Jesus, the bread from heaven? Are you looking forward to the grand feast to come in heaven? Here’s another question – Are you Saved? Have you ever tasted the bread of life?

Today’s message has just 2 points: physical bread and spiritual bread —

 I. PHYSICAL BREAD

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

Background: Why did Jesus mention bread instead of any other food item? Because bread was the basic ingredient of every meal, especially in the ancient Mediterranean diet. In fact, bread was a synonym for meal. It was a symbol of life. The importance of bread is sometimes hard in our culture to understand where we can jump into our vehicles, drive down to the nearest grocery store, and pick up a loaf of Sunbeam or Wonderbread for 99 cents. God forbid if we have a storm, then everyone wants a milk sandwich! In the time of Jesus, it was not that easy to get bread. For starters, wheat and barley were the grains used to make bread, wheat for the wealthy and barley for the poor. Wheat required at least 20-25 inches of rain. Both wheat and barley were of the hulled variety and had to be threshed, winnowed, and even pounded to separate the grains from the hulls. Then the grain had to grounded into flour using a rotary mill. (Growing up, I had to go to the mill once a month for my mom and grandmother.) But back in those days, it took at least an hour or two every morning. Ladies – this was your job! Then, it had to be kneaded with yeast and baked in a clay oven called a “tannur.” That took another hour or so. By the way, this is just the bread! You still had to prepare the rest of the meal.

The point is this – it was a lot of work to get to the point of having bread on the table. Nonetheless, the Jewish people had an acute sense of awareness that God was responsible for their food, especially their bread. He is the one who sent the rain. He is the one who protected their crops. He is the one who gave them a harvest. Hence, God deserved their utmost thanks. In fact, listen to the 9th blessing in the Tefillah – “Bless this year for us, O Lord our God, and all its varied produce that it be for our welfare; Provide dew and rain as a blessing on the face of the earth. Satisfy us with your goodness, and bless this year like other good years. Blessed, are you, Lord, who blesses the years.” As we’ve noticed in the past few messages, the Lord’s Prayer is in many ways similar to the Jewish Prayers from the time of Jesus. So when Jesus teaches His disciples to pray – “Give us this day our daily bread,” He is reminding them to give God all credit.

Application: How desperately we need the same spirit today. God is the source of our daily needs. He is the one who gives us the strength, the wisdom, the ability to live and enjoy life. Do you take a moment daily to thank Him for life? Or do you take all the credit for your success? All that you are and all that you have is by the grace of God.

But there’s something more – Unlike the Tefillah, the Lord’s Prayer is not concerned with just the year’s harvest. It is focused on each day’s bread. It may seem trivial but this is very important. Jesus is teaching His disciples that the prayer is not just for the end of the harvest but every single day they should depend on their Heavenly Father. Daily they should come to God as a little child looks to his/her parent for sustenance.

Application: Do you live every day looking to God for His hand of blessing in your life? Do you ask Him daily for what you need? Have you learned to be content with God has given you for today? I Timothy 6   6   Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. Philippians 4 11 “…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Can you say that?

II. SPIRITUAL BREAD 

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

Background: At first glance it seems as if this petition is only about physical bread or daily needs but its not. The reason we know it’s more is very subtle. Many of you may not know but this simple petition is probably the most contested one in the entire Lord’s Prayer because Jesus used a Greek word in it that’s not found anywhere else in the Greek Bible or in all Greek literature. It’s the word “epiousias,” which some of our Bibles have translated as the adjective “daily.” For the past 1800 years church fathers and scholars have been arguing over the true translation and meaning of this word! In fact, the Greek church father Origen (2nd-3rd CE) suggested that Matthew and Luke must have invented this word. I don’t have the time to go into all the suggestions for what it means. The reason it is so complicated is because, more than likely, Jesus used the Aramaic phrase “debar yom beyomo” (Remember: Jesus spoke in Aramaic) to allude to Exodus 16:4 “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day…”

This petition was not just about the bread that comes out of the ground. It was also about the bread that came out of heaven. It was a reference to the Manna, which came to represent spiritual bread. Listen to Psalm 78   23 “…He had commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven, 24 had rained down manna on them to eat, and given them of the bread of heaven. 25 Men ate angels’ food; He sent them food to the full.” Jesus picked up on this in His preaching and teaching. Listen to John 6   32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” 35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst…”

Now do you see that when Jesus said “Give us this day our daily bread,” it was not just physical bread but also spiritual bread? It was about Jesus being our bread of life. Daily we feed upon Him and His Word, the Bible. Human beings are more than physical beings, flesh and blood. They are also spiritual beings, spirit and soul. We need more than physical food. We also need spiritual food. Just like the physical bread gives us physical life, so also, the spiritual bread gives us spiritual life.

What was the response of the Jewish leaders? 41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Listen to Jesus’ response – 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” The point is this – When we pray “Give us this day our daily bread,” we’re not just asking God to meet our physical appetite but we’re also asking Him to meet our spiritual appetite in Jesus Christ.

The greatest need of people today is not physical bread but spiritual bread. Do you remember when Satan came to Jesus after He had fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness and tempted Him, saying, Matthew 4   3 “…If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Jesus is the bread of life. His body was broken for our sins. On the night before He was crucified, He celebrated the Last Passover with His disciples. Listen to what He said – Luke 22:19 “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’” To this day, in Jewish homes, the father blesses the meal and then begin by breaking the bread and passing it. By the way, you don’t cut the bread because it represents life. Cutting it would be killing life. Isn’t that amazing that Jesus is the true fulfillment of the bread?!

Invitation: Are you going through some need in your life? Are you asking God to meet it? Are you feeding on the spiritual bread Jesus Christ? Is He your life? Are His Words in your heart

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