The Provision by God
November 24, 2019 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
Topic: Prayer Verse: Luke 11:3–11:3
The Disciple’s Prayer
The Provision by God
Luke 11: 3
Theme: God desires that we honor Him by acknowledging our dependence upon Him for our most common needs.
I. It Is a Prayer for Grace – “Give”
A. The Reminder of God’s Benevolence
- As Jesus continues to provide us an “agenda for prayer,” He moves into the second portion of His instructions.
- In the previous section, we are told to prioritize God as we exhibit our love for Him, relationship with Him, and our desire for His purposes to prevail in this world.
- Essentially, this is a demonstration of how the summary of the Law is applied in our prayer lives – cp. Luke 10:27
- Jesus now brings us to the request pertaining to God’s provision of our needs “Give us each day our daily bread.”
- Literally, this request says: “The bread of ours the one that is for the day, give to us according to the day.”
- This, first of all, is an evidence of our awareness of God’s grace.
- Scripture informs us that God is the source of all things and He disburses His gifts to us according to His grace - Acts 17:24-25
- James, the half-brother of our Lord, teaches us that without exception, everything we receive is given us by God through His grace - James 1:17
- Paul confronts the haughty Corinthians by asking them if they have received everything from God, why do they behave as though they should be credited with their acquisition of them - 1 Corinthians 4:6-7
- Everything belongs to the Lord who is free to dispense whatever He would like to whomever He would like whenever He would like to do it - Psalm 24:1
- God had already demonstrated His ability to supernaturally provide bread to those who relied upon Him for 40 years in the wilderness as Israel wandered - Deuteronomy 8:16-18.
B. The Reminder of God’s Enabling
- Hence, we go to the Lord and express to Him our awareness of His grace when we ask Him to “give to us our daily bread.”
- However, such a request cannot become a mindset that produces laziness – God’s intention is that man work for his food – Genesis 3:19.
- Hence, even our wealth and ability to earn a living with which to buy our food is given us by the Lord - Proverbs 10:22.
- In fact, if a man refuses to work, or merely fails to show initiative to work, such people ought not expect to be given any food – cp. 2 Thessalonians 3:7-13.
- God gifts us all with the ability to contribute to the welfare of our families and our communities through gifts that He bestows and expects us to utilize to provide - Exodus 31:6.
- A biblical work ethic celebrates the strength that God gives to each of us, enabling us to work while celebrating through one’s work the grace of God and His provisions.
Do you rely upon the Lord to provide for your daily needs?
In what ways do you separate your work from God’s provision in your life?
How grateful are you for what God has provided to you as you go to Him in prayer asking for His grace through His provisions in your life?
I heard another pastor relate the following story: “In the old movie entitled Shenandoah, Jimmie Stewart plays a Virginia farmer during the Civil War. He's a recent widower. And on her deathbed, his wife made him promise to raise their seven children as good Christians. He tries his best to honor that request. In the movie there is an unforgettable scene - the large family is seated there at the dinner table and Stewart feels compelled to honor his wife's wishes and so he realizes he needs to pray before the meal. And he begrudgingly prays this prayer: "Lord, we cleared this land, we plowed it, sowed it, harvested it. We cooked the harvest. It wouldn't be here and we wouldn't be eatin' it if we hadn't done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank You just the same for this food we're about to eat. Amen."
One of my own children demonstrated such a lack of awareness of God’s grace when they asked me: “Why do we have to thank God for our food when we went to the store and bought it all with our own money?”
II. It Is a Prayer of Love – “us … our”
A. The Request for Those Relying Upon Us
- Not only is this prayer a recognition of God’s grace in our lives to provide for us, but it is also a prayer of compassion or love for those around us – a form of intercession “Give us … our …”
- In this request, Jesus is not speaking of asking for God’s provision and grace merely for oneself, but for others as well.
- This kind of concern for the provisions of others around you, particularly in your own family is expected by God - 1 Timothy 5:3-8.
- There is an awareness of the need to pray for the provision of God on behalf of our families as well as for ourselves.
B. The Request for Those Recognized by Us
- There are always those who are in need around us – and we cannot be such that we turn a blind eye to them or their need.
- There is a sense in which our means is designed to exceed our personal need so that we might have to share with others. – cp. Ephesians 4:28.
- One of the ways that we know that we are being materialistic or indulgent is when we do not have anything to give back to the Lord or to others who are in need.
- This heart is seen displayed in the sentiment or attitude that that Jesus taught us to have when we pray.
- This extends to anyone in your sphere of relationships – even outside of your immediate family or church family – cp. Galatians 6:10.
As God provides for you out of His grace, are you such that you consume all that He provides?
In what ways do you concern yourself with alleviating the needs of those around you?
Have you indulged yourself so far that you are stretched too thinly to be able to help others?
When you pray “give us each day our daily bread,” you are presupposing that what God gives to you will be in part for the benefit of others and not merely for yourself. Is this your heart or are you fairly self-centered in your desire for God’s provision and desiring to consume it all yourself – cp. James 4:3.
III. It Is a Prayer of Reliance – “each day … daily bread”
A. The Repudiation of Reliance on Self
- It would be helpful for us to make sure that we understand what “daily bread” refers to: “bread” is a general term that conveys not merely the physical bread, but what is necessary for life itself – whatever is needed in a day.
- We are dependent upon God for everything – Matthew 6:25, 34.
- The reliance on oneself (or on anything) instead of on God is a disaster - Haggai 1:5-7.
- Additionally, as we turn to other sources of provision, God is offended that we would not turn to Him – cp. Isaiah 31:1.
B. The Regularity of Reliance on God
- Jesus’ emphasis here is that there remain within our daily routine a reiteration of our reliance upon God – “each day …”
- One of the reasons that our reliance on God ought to be every day is that God can take away provision or wealth at any time – consider Job or the rich man in James 4:13-14.
- God’s servants remain reliant on Him every day and while doing so, exercise a spirit of contentment in what He provides - Proverbs 30:8-9.
- He remains faithful to those who truly look to Him - Psalm 145:15; Psalm 37:25.
- Ultimately, we understand that Jesus Himself is the greater bread – the “bread of life” – cp. John 6:33-35; 48-51.
What do you do to cultivate a daily awareness of your reliance on God to provide for your daily needs?
What are some things that you are tempted to rely on instead of turning to God: savings accounts or investments, medical doctors, your diet, essential oils, your boss, your parents?
As you engage in daily prayer, do you express genuine gratitude for what God provides you or do you tend to complain of all the things you do not have?