Our Daily Bread

“Give us this day our daily bread…” (Matt 6:11)

Flat Breads
When I was a kid, I could tell when my mom was baking from halfway down the block. Even today, the smell of goodies fresh from the oven evokes a certain sense of comfort, abundance, blessing and love. There’s just something about bread that speaks to the human psyche. It’s something we share with each other in the spirit of fellowship, something for which many people around the world will stand in line for hours hoping to get, and something we long for in our daily lives.

Sometimes, we are forgetful about how lucky we are to have “daily bread” in our lives and how thoroughly God provides for us. I’m reminded of Exodus 16, which tells the story of the manna, and how the Israelites, who had been liberated from their oppression for just a little over 2 months, began grumbling and complaining. All they could think about was food, not how they had been miraculously saved from oppression, but how hungry they were, even telling themselves how much better it was in Egypt, because there, at least, they had their “daily bread.”

The Israelites were indeed hungry, and in a way that went far beyond their physical need for food, they just didn’t know it. Daily bread is more than mere sustenance. It’s a yearning to recover what was lost at the fall of Eden, an unconscious desire to hear the voice of God. In Matthew 4, after he had fasted for forty days, Christ was confronted by the “tempter,” who said, “If you are the son of God, order these stones to become bread.” Jesus replies by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, stating, “it is written, that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Today, we’re not so unlike the Israelites of Moses’ day. We, too, are hungry, to the point of starving. We pine for our youth, for that time when every word from the mouth of God seemed far simpler to believe, and far less complicated to hear. We search for it in churches that seem to be more like social clubs, than sacred spaces to “tabernacle” with the Lord. We listen to preachers who are more interested in teaching us “political correctness” rather than God’s righteousness. When we pray for daily bread, we’re asking God to provide us with more than a marble rye to fill our bellies, or a good story with some anecdotal truth attached, we’re asking Him to fill us with the everlasting bread of His holy spirit, His presence in our daily lives so that we may be counted among the blessed.

How blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! For they will be filled. (Matt 5:6)

~SLM

Thy Will Be Done

“Your will be done, on Earth as it is [done] in Heaven.” (Matt 6:10)

Sometimes, it’s really hard to conceive of the many ways in which God’s divine intention present in our lives, and this portion of The Lord’s Prayer is a reminder to us that no matter what, He’s in control. Many times in life, actually most times, things don’t go exactly the way we would have had them go, and when they don’t, we are quick to attribute the outcome to anything but God. After all, aren’t we told in Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good to those who love God?” We charge forward, convinced of our own righteousness, sure we know exaclty what God wants, and eager to prove that he is indeed on our side. We get so mired down in the outcomes we’ve imagined, so caught up in how we think things ought to go, that we forget to wait on God’s will to unfold.

Romans 8:28 goes on to say “to those who are the called according to His purpose.” It’s His intension that is at work here, not ours. Revelation 17:17 says that God puts it into the hearts of people to do what will fulfill his objectives, which means he plants a thought into their heads or lays something upon their hearts, which they are unaware has atually come from him. That’s why Caiaphas acted as he did. He was convinced that putting one man to death, rather than an entire nation was what God wanted, and he was right. It was the direction in which God was leading him, just not in the way he had imagined, and certainly not in the way he had convinced himself and the rest of the Sanhedrin to believe. In his view, that man was a blasphemer, and God would judge him [Caiaphas] righteous for his actions, right?

When we pray this, it’s not because we’re giving God permission to direct our lives, or the events that surround us, but in recognition of the fact that God is most certainly in the driver’s seat. Whether we’re intenionally aligned with it through humble submission as Christ was, or through stubborn self-righteousness like Caiaphas, it’s still God’s plan, still his will being done on earth as it is also done in Heaven.

~SLM