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The Lord's Prayer - Session 3 _Sunday AM

The Lord's Prayer Sunday AM
length: 105:23 - taught on Apr, 7 2019
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Class Outline:

Thy kingdom come.

 

The kingdom of God is the only true kingdom.

 

“The Lord is King, not borrowing this title from the kings of the earth, but having lent His own title to them; and not the name only, but having so ordered, that all true rule and government upon earth, with its righteous laws, its stable ordinances, its punishment and grace, its majesty and its terror, should tell of Him and of His kingdom which ruleth over all - so that ‘kingdom of God’ is not in fact a figurative expression, but most literal: it is rather the earthly kingdoms and the earthly kings that are figures and shadows of the true.” [Dean Trench, Notes on the Parables]

 

Because this is true, people have been able to survive on this planet. If it were not true, Cain and his descendants would have killed everyone and then themselves long ago. Everyone born into this world has the advantages of the external and temporal kingdom that has feebly attempted to copy the kingdom of God, and as far from that kingdom as the kingdoms of men are, they have been enough to keep the human race alive, and in some cases that come closer to the true kingdom than others, have even strived.

 

It should be stated that there are five facets of the kingdom of God. There are the universal kingdom in which God is always in control of history; the spiritual kingdom made up of all believers since Adam to the last one, the theocratic kingdom which is Israel, the Millennial kingdom which is the literal, earthly thousand year reign of Christ, and the mystery kingdom which is the one facet that was not revealed in the OT but was introduced by Jesus in Mat 13 just after He was rejected by Israel.

 

The focus of this prayer is the spiritual kingdom in our hearts.

 

But then, born-again, born of the Spirit of God, we are introduced to the eternal and peculiar privileges of Christ’s kingdom. And we come to find out that this kingdom is not to be material, is not to have visible boundaries on earth, but that it is within us.

 

Replacement theology states that the kingdom in our hearts replaces the promised material kingdom promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but that is not true. Our kingdom was a mystery, not prophesied or before known. Jew and Gentile would be one new man in Christ who would enjoy the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant, but not the material. In vein we seek for a visible Christ sitting on a throne in Israel during our age. But He is within us, our hope of glory, and His kingdom is within us. And He will come again to establish His spiritual and material kingdom in which He will reign for one-thousand years. 

 

The kingdom of God is a concept that includes three things: the right to rule, a realm in which ruling authority is exercised, and the reality of that authority actually being exercised.

 

The realm in our age is only the hearts of believers. The realm in the Millennium will be in the hearts of believers and also within the land boundaries of the Palestinian Covenant.

 

Only one King fulfills David’s idea of a king.

 

2SA 23:1 Now these are the last words of David.

David the son of Jesse declares,

And the man who was raised on high declares,

The anointed of the God of Jacob,

And the sweet psalmist of Israel,

 

2SA 23:2 ‘The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me,

And His word was on my tongue.

 

2SA 23:3 "The God of Israel said,

The Rock of Israel spoke to me,

'He who rules over men righteously,

Who rules in the fear of God,

 

2SA 23:4 Is as the light of the morning when the sun rises,

A morning without clouds,

When the tender grass springs out of the earth,

Through sunshine after rain.'

 

He is a poet and a warrior. He is meek and righteous and also terrifying. 

 

PSA 45:1 My heart overflows with a good theme;

I address my verses to the King;

My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

 

PSA 45:2 Thou art fairer than the sons of men;

Grace is poured upon Thy lips;

Therefore God has blessed Thee forever.

 

PSA 45:3 Gird Thy sword on

Thy thigh, O Mighty One, In Thy splendor and Thy majesty!

 

PSA 45:4 And in Thy majesty ride on victoriously,

For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;

Let Thy right hand teach Thee awesome things.

 

PSA 45:5 Thine arrows are sharp;

The peoples fall under Thee;

Thine arrows are in the heart of the King's enemies.

 

Who doesn’t long for such a leader or a kingdom where only righteousness dwells? As our own nation is precipitously declining, we must remember that the kingdom of God is in our hearts.

 

God’s kingdom differs from all others in that its King is the Most High God and that its subjects are all men who are willing to become its subjects, and all who desire to obey the will of God rather than any other. No man is subject of this kingdom by birth. All men who are of the second birth are its subjects.

 

JOH 3:3 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 

 

JOH 3:4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?"

 

JOH 3:5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

 

Any person born with natural privileges, no matter how great they are, is not born in this privilege. We are all born into this world with the king and queen of sin and death ruling over us, independent of material wealth and influence.

 

ROM 5:21 sin reigned in death

 

ROM 5:19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

 

ROM 5:20 And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

 

ROM 5:21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

The kingdom of God is not founded upon the material things of earthly kingdoms who seek protection and sustenance. The kingdom of God is within us.

 

ROM 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this —  not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.

 

ROM 14:14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

 

ROM 14:15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.

 

ROM 14:16 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil;

 

ROM 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

 

We did not enter this kingdom by some fortunate circumstance, but by faith in Christ as our Savior.

 

We are praying that this kingdom be established in our hearts, for though we are members of it forever, we may not yield our will to our King.

 

The power to yield our will to Him comes in the first petition, “sanctified be Your name.”

 

He is our Father and He has transferred us from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of His beloved Son. We are born again, new creatures, imputed with righteousness and all through the Son of God, the image of the invisible God, creator of all things, first-born from the dead, and preeminent in everything, who reconciled us in His blood. If after knowing all that, with faith, if you still do not desire to submit all things to His will, I would think you are lying about knowing it.

 

When we believed in Christ as our Savior, we became something that we were not before.

 

The kingdom demands that we abide by all its laws - the law of Christ.

 

Christ fulfilled the Mosaic Law. The kingdom within us takes possession of every department of activity of every region of actual life. We live as if we are walking in the physical kingdom in heaven. With opposition from sin, the evil of the world, and the fiery attacks from the kingdom of darkness, we must pray again and again, “Your kingdom come -” be established and built up in my heart.

 

PHI 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

 

PHI 3:10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;

 

PHI 3:11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

 

The kingdom of God will find expression from within us. That expression will go forth from within us like rivers of living water and influence the “kingdoms” (souls) around us.

 

The kingdom of God must influence other kingdoms around it, and in this age, by that we mean other souls around it. A lamp is not lit and put under a basket. If it is lit it will light up the house. The kingdom of God will dispel darkness, and some, wishing to remain in darkness will run from it, and others will be transformed by it.

 

The seat of the kingdom of God is Christ.

 

There is no greater blessing in life than having Him at home in our hearts. But perhaps it is an even greater blessing for the light of His kingdom to shine forth upon another kingdom/soul and transform it from the domain of darkness and into His glorious light.

 

We must understand that we are not praying for His kingdom to be on earth. That will come, but not in this age. It is the spiritual kingdom that we desire. It is in us, but we desire its effective rule over our hearts, which is our obedience in all things to the King. And in our age, the understanding of this kingdom is no longer a shadow as it was in the previous age. It is now revealed fully in Christ and we are in it, it belongs to us and the King belongs to us.

 

No doubt, when our resurrected eyes set upon the literal earthly kingdom of Christ, the Messianic or Millennial kingdom, it will surpass anything we ever imagined, but now, in our hearts, the spiritual kingdom is beyond anything we have ever imagined that could rule us in righteousness, grace, truth, and goodness.

 

We do not have to wait for death to experience this kingdom. The Holy Spirit has made us new and transferred us into it. And in it, we are conscious that we must always be subject to our King. All parts of our lives must be brought into subjection unto Him.

 

We also pray that our brethren have the kingdom ruling in their hearts as well - “on earth as it is in heaven.”

 

We desire it to be in all hearts and so we also pray for the eyes of the unbeliever to be opened. Governments don’t have to be changed, though we might wish that they were, but the hearts of individuals must be changed.

 

The desirableness of this kingdom is obvious. The appearance of the King Himself among us, and His manner of founding the kingdom, the blessings it yields to its subjects, and the final glory of which it is destined, all teach us to pray for its coming.

 

When the kingdom was made full, when the Son defeated the serpent of old, it is not without significance that this was done within the most powerful earthly kingdom the world had known to that time, and one that was seen as the epitome of human government. The glory of Rome was on full display when a humble carpenter defeated His enemy and forever took hold of His eternal kingdom. He came to Israel meek and humble and proclaimed that the kingdom of God was at hand. He was not anxious about its establishment nor concerned with all that might go wrong. He calmly proclaimed it as if it were a simple matter. When He fed the 5,000 Israel sat up and noticed and thought, maybe He could actually do it, and they wanted the kingdom of God, more than anything, and they thought for a time that they wanted Jesus, but when He clearly communicated how the kingdom was to come and how it had to be established in men’s hearts before it could be established on the earth, which was clearly at odds with the leadership at the time, they rejected Him. They wanted the kingdom but they didn’t want Him ruling it.

 

Everyone wants peace and hope and love, but not everyone wants Jesus Christ as God and King.

 

PSA 45:1 My heart overflows with a good theme;

I address my verses to the King;

My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

 

PSA 45:2 Thou art fairer than the sons of men;

Grace is poured upon Thy lips;

Therefore God has blessed Thee forever.

 

PSA 45:3 Gird Thy sword on

Thy thigh, O Mighty One, In Thy splendor and Thy majesty!

 

PSA 45:4 And in Thy majesty ride on victoriously,

For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;

Let Thy right hand teach Thee awesome things.

 

PSA 45:5 Thine arrows are sharp;

The peoples fall under Thee;

Thine arrows are in the heart of the King's enemies.

 

No other conqueror has been like this. He does not seek His own glory. He only seeks to raise us to His life, His kingdom, and His glory that He inherently possesses. He accepts all who believer, the weak, the simple, the poor, as well as the powerful, noble, and wise who understand that they are nothing before Him and need Him. He determined through His own humiliation to exalt us.

 

He became one of us, that He might be our King; He clothed Himself in our dust, that we might wear His royal robe; He lay in our grave, that we might sit on His throne; He founded our joy in the deep bitterness of His own soul, our kingdom in HIs own obedience and subjection. Has He not claim to reign over us?

 

In history, many kings of high quality have founded a kingdom under the most adverse circumstances, but it was always done with violence and always there was faction, plus, it was always short-lived.

 

The King took the most rebellious against righteousness and He made them a people so submissive that they might be called “living sacrifices.”

 

ROM 12:1 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

 

ROM 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

He took men who scorned Him and made them a people who freely loved Him, more than their own lives.

 

He took men who envied and hated one another and He made them into brethren who formed a community in which all possessions were thought as common property, even their own lives.

 

He made men, that when He left them, they were tempted on all sides by the enemy, threatened, allured, bribed, beaten, and some even killed, and they remained faithful and confident as if the King had never left them.

 

1PE 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

 

1PE 2:10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

 

They are a peculiar people of God.

 

Men begin life wicked, selfish, profligate, with a strong revulsion of soul from all good, and a headlong proclivity to whatever is sinful, their spirits all in disorder, and seeking no higher condition; they acknowledge Christ as King, and His laws bring harmony and orderly purpose into their lives; in the strength of loyal love to Him, they make successful war upon their own fatal desires, and have often so well understood what is due to Him, that they have spent their substance and their lives in toilsome and bloody service. 

 

It is no small thing that He can actually leave the administration of this kingdom in the hands of the converted and return to His throne in heaven, sure that the first generation would nurture faithful subject in the second generation, the second in the third, and here we are in roughly the twentieth generation heralding Him and His kingdom to the twenty-first. Does this show how good the subjects are or how sufficient is the King?

 

The King is unseen and His kingdom is not of this world, but it is so very real.

 

The kingdom allows any man regardless of genetics or environment.

 

Several times in history, one kingdom has attempted bind their world in a universal kingdom. Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, European Empires, USSR have all tried and all failed. They all find that they must kill all dissenters to have any period of success at all. The beast will also attempt the same thing on the grandest scale yet attempted, and three kings will rebel against him, and even after they are put down, he will constantly see war. The problem is that the bond was still outside of them and they were not unified within. In the body of Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave or free, barbarian or Scythian, but Christ is all and in all.

 

“Your kingdom come” is not only a petition for the spiritual kingdom to rule in my heart, it is also a petition for unity in the body of Christ.

 

We stand on common ground in a kingdom that excludes no one. In it we learn the deepest affinity for our Lord and our brethren. In it, strangers are lifelong friends. In it, we have thousands of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and children. We are united in the things that are of the deepest parts of life, making superficial unions, like dress, appearance, speech, and manner as silly and even laughable. If we are united in faith, love, mind, and purpose, we actually look very much alike on life’s deepest level, what need is there to look the same and talk the same as well? The kingdom’s unity is based on the foundations of life and not the superficial parts.

 

EPH 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,

 

EPH 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love,

 

EPH 4:3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

EPH 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;

 

EPH 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

 

EPH 4:6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

 

EPH 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.

 

All possess loyalty to their King, which lies at the core of them, above loyalty to even family and royal family. 

 

Shall we not pray then, that this kingdom come, obliterating all hostile distinctions, using all diversity of gifts for one common Lord, and putting one phrase in the hearts of all:

 

1CO 3:23 and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.

 

We will never know true security until we know the security of trusting our King and His government.

 

HAB 3:17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,

And there be no fruit on the vines,

Though the yield of the olive should fail,

And the fields produce no food,

Though the flock should be cut off from the fold,

And there be no cattle in the stalls,

 

HAB 3:18 Yet I will exult in the Lord,

I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

 

HAB 3:19 The Lord God is my strength,

And He has made my feet like hinds' feet,

And makes me walk on my high places.

 

No one in the kingdom is less loved or poorer or less blessed, as in other kingdoms. Some use and adore their blessings more than others, but all have equal privilege and equal opportunity. All are free from the curse of sin and death, all are loved with a love that casts out fear, and all are given a peace that surpasses understanding. Every need of every member is supplied, which provides enlightenment of mind, renewal of heart, comfort, strength, and every grace needed to bring us to the measure of the stature of the perfect man, in the full knowledge of Christ.

 

Some earthly kingdoms are so much better than others that people dream of immigrating to them. But all the earthly kingdoms must fade. The kingdom of God has been since before the world and will continue unstained long after this world has expired, and so it is the most desired by far. “Your kingdom come.” All other kingdoms, no matter how good they may be compared to others, once seen in their imperfections, will only make us hope for the real kingdom.

 

Do we need to pray that this kingdom be established in our hearts or not? Are we sufficient for our own need, for our own future, or are we not? Do we need someone to rule us, to help us against our enemies, to help us against ourselves, or do we not? Have not our eyes opened to the fact that thick between us and God there stand those that bar the way, sins and hindrances of all kinds, that must be swept away or overcome? Have we not tried to do this for ourselves, and found again and again that when the shout of victory may have been on our lips, we were prostrated in the dust of shameful defeat? Have we all not longed for someone stronger and more righteous than us to rule us?

 

MAT 12:42

something greater than Solomon is here.

 

What we daily find our need of is a ruler, and a ruler loving enough to give us all confidence in Him; firm enough to support us when we are weary, and compel us to the right path when we waver, powerful enough to do what man cannot do, to change our hearts and deliver us from evil.

 

We choose this Ruler when we pray, “Your kingdom come.”

 

Prayer alone is not the only means of establishing the kingdom of God in our hearts, or rather, establishing the unchallenged authority of Christ in our hearts. Mountains of study and striving to live the truth are needed, but as prayer always reveals, desire is also needed. We don’t petition properly when we don’t desire God’s will. Without the consistent prayer for it, a kingdom whose depth we could never fully reach, what does this say about our desire for it. Do we desire it, but not yet? Do we desire to fully obey, but not just at this time? And how about our desire for the establishment of this kingdom in others? Do we constantly pray for our brethren, for our unbelieving friends and family, for the Christ’s gospel through the church to the world?

 

 

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

 

First petition: sanctified be Your name

Second petition: Your kingdom come

 

By praying for these we have already desired the things that make for the third. We cannot desire God’s name to be holy and His kingdom to be established in our hearts and the hearts of others if we and they are not willing to obey Him. We cannot desire Jesus to be King of our souls if we do not desire to obey Him, to have His will done within us.

 

Can we say that we honor Him as our King if we don’t set His will above our own and every other?

 

However, to add this petition is not to repeat, though it necessarily follows the preceding two.

 

The three petitions are to one another as root, stem, and fruit; beginning, middle, and end.

 

In the sanctifying of God’s name, the foundation is laid for the establishment of His kingdom; it is the first opening of the human eye to the majesty of God. Then the kingdom is established, the heart of man prostrates itself before its King, forgetting and canceling its old laws, and rejoicing in its new allegiance. But it is not enough to stop there.

 

If God is sanctified and if His kingdom is established in my heart, its boundaries are enlarged, and its glory delighted in; there has to be an end or a purpose for all of this to be, and that is that the will of the Ruler must be done. We desire the dominion of Christ over all of our lives and the lives of others, to their good and ours.

 

God has a name. That name worked in order to deliver the world from its judgment and make it His kingdom. From that work God fulfilled His will. All things will be submitted to Him in the end. We of His kingdom desire that His will be the only will in us before the end.

 

We have to learn to look upon the kingdom of God as an absolute monarchy, wherein one will is supreme, and beyond which is the outer darkness, where all is confusion and dismay.

 

It is easily concluded that all of us struggle to obey all His will. Our flesh desires something else, or at least a compromise, but there is no compromise. This is an absolute monarchy and not a democracy. All believers struggle with their self-will and find themselves diverging their attention to their own evil desires, murmuring, complaining, and finding only pain in the end of it.

 

PHI 2:12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

 

PHI 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

 

PHI 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing;

 

PHI 2:15 that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,

 

PHI 2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

 

ROM 6:16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

 

God in patience allows this struggle. It is a shame that there are those out there, claiming to be in the kingdom of God, who tell other members who are struggling with obedience that they don’t belong in the kingdom. There are periods in our lives where we struggle greatly, though we acknowledge Christ as our King. More accurately, the struggle reveals your membership. What unbeliever struggles with obedience to Christ? Their disobedience doesn’t bother them at all.

 

ROM 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

 

ROM 1:29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,

 

ROM 1:30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,

 

ROM 1:31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;

 

ROM 1:32 and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

 

Every believer struggles with disobedience. Anyone can obey here and there, a few moments in a day, but the obedience we pray for all of today, tomorrow, and forever. Maybe we set our will towards His for today and we do well, and then tomorrow and we do well, will the sin nature sit back and say, “I guess I’m out of the picture. I will no longer temp him.” No, but in fact, the sinful nature will fight harder. As I am obedient day after day, I soon want a vacation of sorts. But the fact is that you can never leave His kingdom. All acts of unrighteousness are done by believers as they are in His kingdom. And this opens our eyes to the fact that sin and evil being done in us is like playing in mud in the most pristine home of which you are a guest. We are comfortable playing in the mud if we and everything around us is covered in mud. As sinners we were comfortable with sin. But we are no longer.

 

We know all the reasons we should obey. Yet temptation yields more and more of its strength as we resist it. Is it easier to resist strong temptation for a minute or an hour? Does it get easier with time? Actually, the answer to that is yes and no. No, it does not get easier in the short run, meaning in the hours of days of its attack. Yes, it does get easier in the long run, when I have learned to resist in the power of God’s word and Spirit over many temptations. It’s sort of like studying for a final exam over the length of the course, which makes the entire course harder and the exam much easier; and doing no study and cramming for that same exam the night before, which makes the course easier and the exam much harder. It’s the exam that gives us the grade. In the same way we could comfortably say that God isn’t keeping a scorecard on our sins and good works, making jots in each column. God is looking for people of a certain type or character. Am I an obedient subject or not? That cannot be determined by a few actions.

 

Despite the struggle, every believer comes to know that he only has one King and one kingdom and so he must submit all things to the will of God. Our own will will only have strength when we will the same things as God.

 

It is not “let go and let God,” at all. We don’t give up our will, we adjust and align our will. And so, every day, and I advise, many times a day, these three petitions are repeated with desire and knowledge, “Our Father in heaven, sanctified by Your name, Your kingdom come in my heart, Your will be done in my heart.” The prayer reminds us and feeds our desire.

 

Certainly, one of the main problems with obedience is getting into a situation while having forgotten who you are in Christ.

 

That hour deceives us because we walked into it deceived. We thought we were the same old people that we were before God did His work on us. We carried ourselves under the old form of the old man, and when we met the situation we acted accordingly. Sin resulted that likely led to other sins, possibly many sins, which always hurt us and others. Repeat the prayer several times a day and you won’t forget: you have a holy Father in heaven, thanks to the blood of Christ you are in His kingdom, and you must do His will. If you remember this day after day, it will become second nature and you will no longer think of yourself in any other way.

 

This also begs us to question if we know all His will, and that question drives us to consistent Bible study.

 

And also, we do not petition God in this prayer only as a reminder to ourselves. When we ask, He said He would do it. He will give us all His aid. In His infinite and supernatural way, God is answering this prayer in your life. He will sanctify Himself in you, He will make His kingdom inside you your only desire, and He will accomplish His will in you. He will do so in His own way and in His own time. We have to patient. We could never know what all it takes to fulfill these petitions in us, but He does. It cannot be done without our consent and our own will changing into conformity with His. We are not to live someone else’s life. We are to live our own life and that life follows all His will. 

 

His will is as loving as it is powerful.

 

Shall we be found dropping this petition from careless lips, as if the accomplishment of God’s will had little to do with us or the world we are in? Do I not have a part in His will? And if so, is it great and rewarding, and if so, should I know it fully and submit all my life to it?

 

PSA 139:16 Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance;

And in Thy book they were all written,

The days that were ordained for me,

When as yet there was not one of them.

 

PSA 139:17 How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

 

If we will a thing, we don’t just conceive of it and then wait for it to be done. We get on with it.

 

So, the will of God is not a thing to be spoken of, contemplated, waited for, but a thing to be done, and it is to be done by us, a right thing in a right way. Of course, it is His power and His wisdom that is working through us, so in the end, He alone has done all the good in this world, but when He does so through us, we have to be the ones doing it out of our own choice.

 

Another thing to understand about God’s will is that we don’t have to know all of it.

 

Meaning, in the grand scheme of God, it is not necessary that we know what all the scheme actually is.

 

We are to know our part in it, much as the disciples knew they were to stay in Jerusalem after our Lord’s ascension and receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, but they did not at that time know about the age of the church, God’s grand scheme. We only need to know the commands of God. We follow the King and let Him lead us where He desires. As He told us, be concerned for today only. The variances in our own live prove this. We all have the same commands but not the same circumstances. We are all told to be content, but all with different things. Some of us get 5 minas, others 2, others one. Some complain about having one and so wish to be excused, others complain about their five. Some complain that they worked in the field all day and another fellow only worked an hour and received the same pay. All complaining is unfounded and vain because these three things, God’s commandment, our circumstances, and God’s eternal purpose, all spring from one source, the will of God, and so all three harmonise in every life.  Let no one say, “I could do God’s will better somewhere else or if I was someone else.” Anyone who says that is speaking of something that doesn’t exist. Isn’t it God’s will that you are who you are and remain where you do? To say that you could do God’s will “somewhere else” is to completely step out of it. Jesus said what the Father told Him to say, did what the Father told Him to do, and went where the Father told Him to go. Be who you are and remain where you are and submit to God’s will in all things and you will find with clarity who God actually willed you to be in His eternal plan. In essence, only in this way can anyone discover their real selves, and God doesn’t make unremarkable things.

 

1CO 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.

 

1CO 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

 

When we pray, “Your will be done,” we pray that God may so rule in our own hearts and in the hearts of others whom we pray for. We pray that we may be gifted with wisdom, courage, and self-command so that we may effectually follow the design of God with the conduct of His nature. Praying in this way, we are ready and strengthened for all duty, whether overt and active, or unseen and passive.

 

This brings us great joy. We know it will be done. We know it will come to pass and we know that the path that the Lord is leading us on will lead us to the most remarkable places. No longer are there ordinary days, but extraordinary ones walking in the courtyards of the kingdom of God and obeying the greatest of wills.

 

I must come to discover, that as His child, I cannot come thus before God without some strengthening sense of the dignity and responsibility of a life connected with God, and fulfilling His will. I come to Him as my Father and my King, as if bringing my life in my hand, desiring that He would take it, and give it back to me molded to His design.

 

I stand alone with Him. Jesus told us to go into our room and shut the door and speak with our Father in secret.

 

I stand alone with Him, not confused by what other men are doing, not hidden from God’s will regarding me by the practice of the world; I know that here must be something which God has for me to do, else I would not have life to do it; and can I go straightway and forget that it is not my own will and the world’s work I have to do, but these only in so far as they are God’s will and God’s work? 

 

When I begin my day with “Your will be done” I must begin with a desire to know and execute God’s commands; I am under orders, I have a purpose to live for, am no longer open to every influence that may blow upon me, nor can I any more count this life mere vanity. What higher purpose can I have? This day must be a significant and great one.

 

Plus, we have a day of strength. Who can stop God’s will? If I am about it today, what can stop me when I have correctly discerned it? We carry with us from God’s presence the authority to carry out His will. We are like messengers with letters and orders from the King. This turns your world into the material of God’s work. You bring His will to your world and the gates of hell can’t come against it. On the other hand, if we said our three petitions in pretense without care or desire to do His will, then we are only offensive to the King and have mocked Him and we bring nothing but hypocrisy to our world. Jesus told a simple parable about two sons who were told by their father to go and work in fields. One said he would go and didn’t. The other said he wouldn’t go, but then thought better of it and did. He asked them, “Which one did the will of his father?”

 

“Your will be done … on earth as it is in heaven” There is no delusion that His will is done now, not only when I get to heaven.

 

We might get the delusion that God’s will will only be done in heaven and that holiness is an impossibility for us now. We must not skip over these two little words nor forget their significance when we pray them. We cannot say that because we are on earth, a cursed place filled with a lot of bad stuff and a lot of bad people, that we couldn’t possibly be held to the level of holiness that exists in heaven. That conclusion would be a terrible mistake and a delusion.

 

Certainly, holiness will be easier in heaven, but I suspect we won’t have to be praying for it when we’re there. It is here, “on earth” that this prayer counts, and we pray it knowing that God must perform it is us as we reach for it.

 

EPH 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.

 

EPH 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;

 

EPH 5:2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

 

EPH 5:15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise,

 

EPH 5:16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

 

1PE 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,

 

1PE 1:15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

 

1PE 1:16 because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

 

We are not to live as a subject more bound in heaven than on earth.

 

Are we praying that His will be done, sometimes? Have we come to a strong sense of our responsibility to our Lord, to His law, to our neighbor, ourselves? Here on earth we each have something to accomplish, and that for God, under His will. Is the manner of life I’m choosing the best for accomplishing that? If not, pray and change. I suspect, that if a believer’s prayers are only for show, even for himself, for pretense, then he won’t be praying daily for very long. Am I wrestling with God’s will in the hope of changing it into more conformity with my own. Only we need to repent. God never does. Don’t try to bring heaven down to you. Our part is not to give up because we cannot attain perfection, but to strive all the harder that we may come as near it as possible. It is one thing to attain perfection, it is another to desire it. It is vain to tell us we are too weak, to sinful, to reach perfection in life; such thoughts only incite us to put forth more earnest desire in prayer, study, diligent action. We live in the kingdom of the one and only King.

 

HEB 12:3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.

 

HEB 12:4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;

 

Though none of us will ever become consistently perfect in performing God’s will, and for that we have to wait until heaven, it must not escape our notice that there are some parts of the will of God that can only performed on earth.

 

JOH 20:29 Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

 

With that wisdom, and knowing that God has a will for my every day, we throw our whole energies into this present life, living out its duties with our might, empowered by the Lord, lifting us out of our attitude of doing the least necessary, to the attitude of making the most of our time in this day and to fulfill its purpose. Doing God’s will is not always easy. We could not expect it to be so.

 

This prayer becomes the spirit of heavenly service, though we be on earth.

 

Animated by the Holy Spirit, who is in us to will and to work to His good pleasure, our souls extend the light years to heaven’s way of working and we perform that work on earth, and in this way, the light of heaven shines through us. We also are praying for God’s heavenly will to be done in others on the earth, even for our enemies. We do not pray for their judgment, nor for God to overturn their personal will, but for their eyes to open to God’s will in faith in Christ, or if believers, to their inheritance in Christ, and be convicted and converted.

 

It should never be that the result of our being gifted with will and intelligence is that we rebel against God and revolt against His will.

 

The stars, the sun, the moon, the laws of nature all obey Him, and the elect angels all obey Him, yet we have a will in which we can willingly obey.

 

PSA 103:19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens;

And His sovereignty rules over all.

 

PSA 103:20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,

Mighty in strength, who perform His word,

Obeying the voice of His word!

 

PSA 103:21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,

You who serve Him, doing His will.

 

PSA 103:22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His,

In all places of His dominion;

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

 

Jesus prays this same petition.

LUK 22:42

"Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done."

 

Our minds need to be transformed. As we pray for His will we are praying also for the word to change our thinking and morph us more and more into Christ’s image.

 

ROM 12:1 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

 

ROM 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

Christ doesn’t bid us to pray for this and that good thing. He bids us to pray these three petitions first and foremost. If we sanctify the Father’s name, if we submit to the kingdom of God and its laws, and if we perform His will, submitting to the King, then whether we possess this or that good thing will matter little to us. Our joy will be made full, because before the one and only great King and the one and only great kingdom, we are in perfect harmony, which leads us to our next petition and the first one for ourselves, and it is the basest material blessing - bread.

 

 

Give us this day our daily bread - “Give me enough to live so that I may do Your will.”

 

Simple as bread is, we need it to live. Our bodies process sugar, whether it comes from carbs, proteins, or fats. So, is this a petition for God to keep us physically alive? Hardly. We must be careful to keep all six petitions together and not separate them.

 

Sanctified name of our Father, His kingdom established in our hearts, and His will done in our lives connect seamlessly to “give us our bread today.”

 

JOH 4:31 In the meanwhile the disciples were requesting Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."

 

JOH 4:32 But He said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." 

 

JOH 4:33 The disciples therefore were saying to one another, "No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?"

 

JOH 4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.

 

JOH 4:35 "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.

 

JOH 4:36 "Already he who reaps is receiving wages, and is gathering fruit for life eternal; that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.

 

JOH 4:37 "For in this case the saying is true, 'One sows, and another reaps.'

 

JOH 4:38 "I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."

 

Do I seek to do the will of God for grand earthly rewards? Gold, silver, precious stones, fame, prestige, etc.? The harvest Jesus told them to look to was the dozens of Samaritans coming down the hill towards them, whom the woman at the well had told that the Christ was there. “My food is to accomplish the work of God, serving these people right here, right now.” Should I put them on hold until I have finished my lunch?

 

Do I choose a life that best serves myself and then hope for some opportunities to serve God, or do I choose a life that serves God according to His will and His path given to me, and then know that all I need (bread) will be given to me?

 

PHI 4:11 Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

 

PHI 4:12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

 

PHI 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

 

1TI 6:6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment.

 

1TI 6:7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.

 

1TI 6:8 And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

 

1TI 6:9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.

 

1TI 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.

 

After leaving Canaan because of famine, going to Egypt and failing miserably, he returns.

 

Abraham goes back to Canaan, returning to the altar he built to God in Bethel. It would seem that Abraham understood that he never should have left and that his visit to Egypt had been a mistake. His mistake was to depend upon himself, lie and scheme to get the supplies he and his family needed, yet if he had remained in Bethel, though things may have gotten hard, he would have been provided for by God. God always gives us enough to fulfill our needs. We never have to leave His will in the hunt for sustenance.

 

If ever we leave God’s way and entered into some other way that diminishes our divine love towards others and leads us into injustice, unforgiveness, impatience, and disunity, our only hope lies in a candid and straight-forward repentance or turning back to the way of God and the pattern of divine love. We have to acknowledge the sin in order to turn from it as Abraham did and returned to Bethel, literally meaning the house of God.

 

The subjects of the kingdom desire God’s will over all things and desires to be supported in this life by God only for that reason. What do I need to do the will of God? Bread will suffice.

 

Can we see how this petition connected seamlessly with the first three completely annihilates any monetary lust?

 

I have seen Christians who claim to know the dangers of monetary of material lust, but who threw their lot into it nonetheless.

 

Some Christians think happiness is still in earthly treasure, and they are fooled into thinking that if the treasure comes from God, then it is a legitimate form of happiness. This is not true. The only form of God’s joy is found in doing His will alone. Bread is sufficient for this.

 

JOH 15:8 "By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

 

JOH 15:9 "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.

 

JOH 15:10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.

 

JOH 15:11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

 

This petition, “give us this day our daily bread” is a petition to keep us alive so that we may do Your will today. True, He keeps billions of people alive that don’t pray this, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be prayed by every one of God’s human creation. This petition sets my soul aright for dealing with all materialism today. It is an honest plea to God to give me only what I need and reveals that this mindset, which belongs to God, also belongs to me. “No matter what may come, give me my bread so that I can serve You in all of it.”

 

The accomplishment of God’s will is a lifelong prospect.

 

Sometimes our future seems quite gloomy and a mist hangs over it so that we cannot see its outcome. Some of our plans take years to accomplish and we are unsure whether success or failure awaits. Some of our plans are exciting and joyous and others are burdensome and difficult. Our prayer settles our minds to consider only today. God will supply our needs today and we will do His will for today and all things will work together for good, no matter how the plans turn out. Good is not always our good, meaning, what we wanted or expected. Good is always God’s good, which in the end is always our best good as well. When our faith and knowledge has that thought nailed down, we will have the will of God always as our main purpose, and the outcomes of our plans and future, though we still desire them to evolve a certain way, always as a secondary purpose.

 

Asceticism wants things to always turn out bad, Christianity always wants things to turn out good, but the result is always secondary to the will of God.

 

This petition views our meat, drink, and raiment from the heavenly side. From that side they cannot become a source of joy or addiction. Not that I don’t enjoy them, but that they are not the source of my joy. Not that I don’t need them, but that I am not addicted to them. Too many people look at these earthly things and the spiritual things as a child might and think it has to be either one or the other, which leads to self-righteous ascetic prigs who believe nothing earthly can be enjoyed. As C.S. Lewis says, “if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them.”

 

Therefore, this petition is not as easy as it first seems, in fact, it is one of the most difficult to pray. It is the petition that least of all can be prayed from an earthly mind, for it comes from the directly opposite quarter to all earthly desires, and meets them on that very ground to which they most tenaciously hold.

 

This is the petition of those who seek first the kingdom of God and know that all things, all needs, will be added to them.

 

MAT 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

 

MAT 6:34 "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 

This petition is against selfishness and materialism. It is against the passions and desires of the flesh. It is against shutting up the flesh or quieting its nagging and bothering by feeding it what it wants. “All I need is bread Lord, it is Your will that is my true food, and Your will invades every moment of today.”

 

Let us not fear to pray it. And though we sin against it, let us remember that we are forgiven and cleansed and loved by our Father, and so let us embrace it though we have broken it.

 

And let us have faith that as we pray it day after day that God will fulfill it.

 

LUK 11:1 And it came about that while He was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples."

 

LUK 11:2 And He said to them, "When you pray, say:

 

'Father, hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

 

LUK 11:3 'Give us each day our daily bread.

 

LUK 11:4 'And forgive us our sins,

For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

And lead us not into temptation.' "

 

LUK 11:5 And He said to them, "Suppose one of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves;

 

LUK 11:6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him';

 

LUK 11:7 and from inside he shall answer and say,' Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.'

 

LUK 11:8 "I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

 

LUK 11:9 "And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.

 

LUK 11:10 "For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.

 

LUK 11:11 "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?

 

LUK 11:12 "Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?

 

LUK 11:13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"

 

In this petition, it is the first time we come upon the word, “give,” which is the key to the treasury of God’s riches.

 

It is a word that opens over us the windows of heaven, that wakes the omnipotence of God, and causes the fullness of His resources to flow forth; a word which is as a rod of power in a man’s hand, if he knows to direct it to the great Giver, to Him from whom all things have come, who has given all out of Himself, and who continues to give not grudgingly, nor of necessity, but freely and liberally, because it is of His nature to do so; a word that we must use, because we are poor, but which is put into our mouths because we are intended to be rich; a word which, however often and greedily we use it, will still find it echoing “receive” in God.

 

God says yes to every “give” uttered by His children, but He will fulfill it in His way and in His time.

 

There is not a limit to how many “gives” we can cry in our lifetime. God does not tire of giving more because He has already given so much, but by the further and more bountiful outpouring of His gifts satisfies that confidence in Him which His former gifts have inspired. It is simple, straightforward, childlike, and bold. “Give” is the wide opening mouths of the young birds hungering around the parent.

 

Yet, what is so remarkable about its use here, is that it is a petition that asks God for something which, of all things, we are most inclined to think may be got by our own exertions.

 

We find it unremarkable that we should ask God for superior strength or courage or a great amount of money that we think is needed, but of bread we want to say, “No need to bother with that Father, I can at least take care of that myself.”

 

There are many things in this life that we know we are helpless to do and so we ask God and we are thrilled to share with our fellow brothers and sisters how God bestowed upon us such wonderful gifts. When have we thrillingly shared that God kept us alive today? This is the petition. It is an admission of total bankruptcy. I can’t even get bread without You Lord.

 

PSA 104:25 Animals both small and great.

 

PSA 104:26 There the ships move along,

And Leviathan, which Thou hast formed to sport in it.

 

PSA 104:27 They all wait for Thee,

To give them their food in due season.

 

MAT 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

 

We live in a society where food is cheap and easily found. This may lead us to think that we are less dependent upon God than people from other places or times who had to find today’s food today or else they might go hungry. Our society is only a testimony to the bounty of God’s providence and grace. He has allowed us to have an abundance like the world has never seen until now, but in this He has also allowed us to see how miserable and searching we are despite having it. Surrounded by a banquet, the child of the kingdom of God must say that the smallest crumb of bread is a gracious gift from the Lord, and thank the Lord for it, so that he is alive today to do God’s will. The bountiful society actually finds itself more dependent on God than the society in suffering. More people in the suffering societies are already depending on God.

 

Though we work throughout the day, according to His will, performing the tasks of the day, we are not making the corn, barley, or wheat grow. We are not commanding the sun or the soil or the water, and we are not creating the chemical bonds that make for the complex sugars being produced. If the earth and the sun were unwilling, what could we do? It is after our work, when we rest and break bread, that we come face to face with what God alone could provide. Must not the proudest and best skilled among us, after doing his utmost, just simply wait on God for His bread?

 

Unfortunately, only those who have recently experienced famine seem to learn this lesson, and even they often forget it after years of plenty return. The earth provides for nearly eight-billion people, after it has already provided for billions. So many things could happen that would send billions to the grave, but God sustains them. Almost all of them take it for granted. God has also made it so that all food goes bad. We cannot keep it forever like stones or coal. The earth must continue to provide it year after year or we are all doomed. That which will sustain us years from now does not yet exist. God must provide it. All of us are dependent upon it. Still we take it for granted, and some of us eat plenty while we watch others go without, and without a care, and all the while God is no idle spector, for He sustains us all. We are sustained, not by bread, but by the faithfulness of God. The future is blank to us except in so far as God fill sit with His goodness.

 

1SA 2:2 "There is no one holy like the Lord,

Indeed, there is no one besides Thee,

Nor is there any rock like our God.

 

1SA 2:3 "Boast no more so very proudly,

Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth;

For the Lord is a God of knowledge,

And with Him actions are weighed.

 

1SA 2:4 "The bows of the mighty are shattered,

But the feeble gird on strength.

 

1SA 2:5 "Those who were full hire themselves out for bread,

But those who were hungry cease to hunger.

Even the barren gives birth to seven,

But she who has many children languishes.

 

1SA 2:6 "The Lord kills and makes alive;

He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

 

1SA 2:7 "The Lord makes poor and rich;

He brings low, He also exalts.

 

Everything we have is a gift from the Lord. He is the source of all things, for all has been created in Him, and by Him, and for Him. This petition is not asking only for bread or for poverty, but it is asking for what we need and can only have from God so that we can do what is most important to us - His will.

 

“Our bread” (genitive first person plural pronoun hemon = our)

 

What we ask for must be ours and not another’s.

 

That is, we must ask for what is ours, what God may give us without detriment to another. We are not to take what God meant for another or to impede upon what they have worked or done and God has meant for them.

 

2TH 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat.

 

2TH 3:11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.

 

2TH 3:12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.

 

2TH 3:13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

 

We must be careful not to desire another person’s prosperity. Bread will suffice for us. Coveting has always been a dangerous and often violent sin.

 

We are not to push our interests regardless of the interests of others. The petition, “our bread” therefore saves us from dishonesty and cruelty and coveting. We only desire God’s gift of honest bread, and not the bread of idleness, deceit, or extortion. We do not expect that God will lift us out of poverty or make our lives any less toilsome, but that we only know that we will receive enough so that we can get on with the real life in the kingdom of God, His will.

 

DEU 8:3 And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.

 

MAT 4:3 And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."

 

MAT 4:4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'"

 

The hardships of poverty can be sympathized by anyone, not that they do sympathize. Our petition will not often relieve any of that hardship, but if that is our condition, is it not the will of God? We must remember that Jesus who taught us to pray, Himself did not know where His next meal was coming from, or the money to pay His taxes, who did not have a home, a place to lay His head, and nor did He have a tomb set aside for His death. Let us take courage in Him. Some childlike minds think the life of Jesus condones a life of idleness. He was far from idle. He lived in the will of the Father. All of us are to work hard in all God gives us to do, including our secular duties, but we know and pray, bread is sufficient.

 

It is obvious that this also leads to great charity. If all I need is bread, and I see my brother in need, I will provide his need.

 

In fact, the Lord loves a cheerful giver, because that is exactly what He is.

 

This little word “our” (hemon) teaches us to be laborious, contented, and charitable; to work with our will and strength, doing our best in our place; to wait on God for fruit of our work and returns for our labor, and, receiving these, to be satisfied, if they be small, and will that other should share with us, if they be large.

 

By teaching us to ask for bread, our Lord indicates that our desires for worldly good should not be passionate, but moderate; restricted to the supply of the natural wants of our condition. This doesn’t mean that we can’t be passionate about things, but that our passions do not turn into idols. All things are subject to our King. Clement of Alexandria cleverly compares a man’s possessions to a shoe. They must fit him, being cumbersome and uncomfortable if too large, as well as painful if pinched.

 

At our core, we only want enough to be able to do His will. Do we fervently seek extra and comfort rather than fervently seeking God’s will?

 

This petition does not bid us to be lazy, but to actually work very hard as whatever we have to do to make money to make ends meet. Yet, in this petition we keep repeating to ourselves the reiterated warnings of God’s word concerning the entangling power of wealth. Let us have as our chief end in seeking gain be to do God’s will on earth. We must always know that the trappings of working for other reasons always lurk in the shadows and that the kingdom of darkness is always waiting for an opportune time. And so we pray daily, several times a day if necessary, as it so often is, “give us today our daily bread.” Be on the alert, the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.

 

The answer to this petition will make us thankful for every little thing in life. Today’s supply did not come by chance. It came by God’s faithfulness and as His priests, let us offer up thanksgiving. Thankfulness for every little thing also breeds joy in every little thing. So many wait for joy in coming circumstances or changing circumstances. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have Christ’s joy in everything you do?

 

This petition is for this day only. We have no anxiety for tomorrow.

 

We live one day at a time. If tomorrow comes, we know that we shall be as dependent on Him then as now. No planning or storing with anxiety is necessary or needed. We do not have more in our barns or banks than are in the resources of God. There is a great difference between faithless, anxious imagining and scheming, and godly prudence. The latter sleeps much sounder than the former. Whatever I store or whatever I plan, let them all depend on God and be to His glory. The only line or rule is in our own conscience. God does not tell us how much to store or how much to plan, but from His words we can all establish a sound and proper line in our own conscience.

 

The answer, therefore, to this petition will be, that our spirits will be cleansed from worldliness, covetousness, and hardness of heart; from high-mindedness, self-confidence, and dishonesty; from discontent, envy, and indolence; and that we shall be enabled, without repining at what is past, or fretting ourselves with thoughts of the future (though repenting of some of our past and preparing for the future), to summon all the powers given us to this day’s duty.

 

Remember, Jesus has been tempted in all things, and He knows our frame, that we are dust, and He sympathizes with our weakness. We are praying to our Father in the name of the One who understands human necessities. He hungered. He was poor. He suffered for doing good.

 

So much to do and to be. We’re going to need forgiveness.

 

 

 

And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

 

“Debts” - opheilema = that which is owed, that which is legally due.

 

Give us our bread and forgive us our debts. To ask for more puts us in mind of what we have already received. And if our conduct towards anyone has been unworthy, it is all the more painful when we realize we are dependent upon the one we wronged. Nothing but sheer necessity would bring us back to them, to seek their aid and good-will. We have abused their past favors and yet we are back asking for more because we have no one else. This would demand of us some level of humility if not humiliation. Our pride must be set aside when our need is so vital.

 

God gave us our bread yesterday. He kept us alive so that we could do His will. Did we do it? Did we sin against Him? Did we do all that we should have? Did we omit from yesterday any work that He willed us to do? Who among us could look at yesterday and confidently assert that we did everything God desired and did not do anything that was sinful? No one could say it, and yet, here we are the next day, asking for our daily bread.

 

And, if I’m sure I didn’t do God’s will yesterday, then why should He provide for me to keep me alive today?

 

Why me? Am I so useful to Him, am I always grateful, am I so considerate of His will?

 

Or maybe I shouldn’t entertain any of these questions. After all, He promised to provide for me and promised to forgive me. Why shouldn’t I boldly expect my portion every day no matter what I do or how I conduct myself. Logistical grace is always bestowed, and that is true. There are almost 8 billion people alive on this planet and are sustained. Certainly, God will bestow His grace.

 

So then, is God indifferent to the state of our minds when we approach Him. Is He like the person who sets up the automatic cat feeder and then goes on vacation for a time? Is that logistical grace?

 

“Forgive us our debt.”

 

How could any of us approach today, when God’s will is required of me, without knowing that in some way I misspent yesterday’s bread and that I must be forgiven? We did not render all service to God and likely sinned against Him in ways we didn’t recognize. Today, I couldn’t even remotely approach the task of His will without forgiveness.

 

We are forgiven of all sin by the blood of Christ. We may approach and petition the forgiveness of our debts. 

 

We are cleansed from all iniquity. That must be a foundational doctrine in our hearts, but we must never forget that today we are forgiven and be so thankful for it, that our hearts are humbled and contrite.

 

It is pride that would pound the table, demand the daily bread from the host that we have wronged and abused every day before.

 

PSA 51:14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,

Thou God of my salvation;

Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness.

 

PSA 51:15 O Lord, open my lips,

That my mouth may declare Thy praise.

 

PSA 51:16 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.

 

PSA 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.

 

God will continue to give us all that we need. He will continue to reveal to us that we are cleansed by the blood of Christ and that He has taken our debt away. No matter how many times we don’t please Him, fail to bear fruit, sin against Him, grieve Him, quench Him, doubt Him, misrepresent Him; He will always provide for us in love. Is it not this faithful love that breaks your pride to little pieces?

 

PSA 130:1 Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord.

 

PSA 130:2 Lord, hear my voice!

Let Thine ears be attentive

To the voice of my supplications.

 

PSA 130:3 If Thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities,

O Lord, who could stand?

 

PSA 130:4 But there is forgiveness with Thee,

That Thou mayest be feared.

 

ISA 30:18 Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,

And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.

For the Lord is a God of justice;

How blessed are all those who long for Him.

 

ROM 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

 

He overcomes our evil with His good, and never more forcibly reminds us of our ungracious past than when the present shines with His grace.

 

Forgiveness is as much needed to live in God’s plan as the bread that keeps us alive.

 

As surely as we faint and die without bread, so surely do we faint and doe from all godly life, and for all godly purposes, if we have not forgiveness. Bread supplies the outward man with energy and forgiveness supplies the inward man with the ability to please God in every good work.

 

To serve God from any other motive than love has been repeatedly proved impossible. How could we love God if we were hopelessly in His debt? Why is it that so many church going people do not care to serve God in every part of every day? They are told that they are working to get themselves out from under God’s debt and that weight is too large for them. They are sure, the right they are, that they could never get to the end of it; they will never be able to make the last payment. But when the believer understands that His debt has been paid by Christ, the love of God will cause Him to begin every day, though knowingly in debt from yesterday, forgiven and cleansed and ready to serve.

 

Abraham is a wonderful example here:

Abraham entered Canaan, the place that God had called him to, for the first time. Yet soon after there was a famine. He left Canaan and headed south to Egypt. Knowing that the Egyptians would take notice of his extremely beautiful wife, he bids her to lie and pretend that she is his sister. She is taken into Pharaoh’s harem.

 

Abraham has strengths, his faith in leaving his home, his courage to go to Egypt and not return home, but he also has defects. His journey doesn’t begin when his defects are overcome. It is the journey that will teach him to overcome the defects.

 

We might imagine him traveling into Egypt confidently. Knowing he would be subject to scrutiny as a foreigner, having a very beautiful wife of a different race, coping with Pharaoh, priests, magicians, guards, judges, warriors; finding his way through, obtaining the proper supplies for his people. But he left Egypt very differently, but in a much healthier state of mind. He was unable to supply for himself the happiness that comes from the purposes of God. Egypt was almost a disaster. He almost lost the mother of the promised seed as well as the ability to return to the promised land. It was definitely an embarrassment. He was shamed by Pharaoh. Even his own household slaves knew that he lied and was rebuked for it. Sarah is handed back to him, painted and dressed as a harem slave. He was embarrassed before her. Yet, God delivered him. It is clear to him that he didn’t have to lie. His own folly and sin are also clear to him. So often, we have to be broken and beaten by the world in order to see that God has overcome the world.

 

Don’t get the idea that we have to sin in order to learn of God’s faithfulness and sufficiency. We don’t. The reality is that we will sin and because of our sin, the world will judge and rebuke us, and our embarrassment and shame, all of which we have been delivered from in Christ, will return and plague our hearts. If we hold on to our faith and keep going on the journey, we will overcome because we will have learned to depend upon Christ alone, telling the truth, living the truth, and following His commands. We will learn to stand in humility and obedience and self-sacrifice no matter what the consequences.

 

As we all have done, Abraham got himself entangled in a net, hopeless to be free of it, and God untangled him.

 

Abraham has begun to learn that God was not depending upon him, but he was depending upon God. He has begun to see that the future of the world does not lay with Abraham but with God.

 

Never once has this discovery been unwelcome to the soul that sees it. Few things give us the same sense of God’s nearness, sovereignty, and love. Few things give us the same sense of the dignity and importance of our own salvation and career.

 

This is God’s affair; a matter in which are involved not merely our personal interests, but God’s responsibility and purposes.

 

Whenever we go to Egypt, when we diverge from the path that leads to the promised land (maturity), when worldly matters tempts us to turn our backs on God’s worship, when we seek relief in life by our own arrangements and devices, when we renounce our oaths made to Him in silence, even then He follows us and watches over us and lays His hand upon our back, bidding us to return, even using shame and pain to do it.

 

There is the confident determination of the faithful believer who hopes in tomorrow. There is also the failed determination that results in heartache and shame that recognizes its lack of power and steadfastness. The later may be a stronger bond to hold you to Him at all times in the future because God conquered your sorrow and fear and restored you. The waywardness, he foolishness, the obstinate depravity that cause you to despair, God will conquer. With untiring patience, with all-foreseeing love, He stands by you and will bring you through. His gifts and calling are irrevocable.

 

Do I begin each day with a spirit free, unburdened, and lively, running in the way of God’s commandments, as the healthy body delights not in sluggish sauntering, but in vigorous and difficult exercise?

 

Do I simply take for granted that forgiveness and bread are mind today, as they were yesterday, without any gratitude or relief, and their resultant vigor? Is my soul filled every morning with knowing and humble acceptance of the stupendous price paid that gives me a contrite and humble and free mind?

 

Every act against God’s will is a sin, whether it is a violation of a “thou shall” or “thou shall not.” Christ, in the prayer He gives us, views our sins as debts. To get at the full iniquity of sin, we need to consider it in various lights; and so in Scripture we find it designated by a variety of names, each of which suggests some peculiar quality of sin. It springs into life from such opposite parts of our nature, and gathers strength from so many different motives; its heinousness is darkened by so many aggravations, and it consequences run out in so many directions, that it is impossible to gather up all its evil and express it in a single word. We read of sin, transgression, trespass, wickedness, departing from the straight path, rebellion, falling from grace, fleshly, carnal, asleep, not sober, weakness, folly, deception. Christ views them all in the prayer He gives us as debts.

 

Using the word “debts” leads us to consider, not so much the evil dispositions from which our sins proceeded, as the relation to God in which they have left us. When we approach God in light of His forgiveness, we approach Him as His debtors.

 

It leads my mind to realize that I am connected with God, and that connection is debt. The word doesn’t bring into focus the moral evil of sin, which it has, as much as the position of the sinner.

 

It is not introspection or self-loathing which it most directly induces. It shows us that our sins have to do with more than ourselves and even others that sin hurts. It exhibits the relation that I have to God.

 

The Bible tells us that when we sin, though we sin against ourselves and others, ultimately, we sin against God. We might be a pitiable case that we hope would evoke God’s compassion, but compassion doesn’t pay off the debt. We have sinned, ruined ourselves, and have most grievously wronged and defrauded God.

 

At great cost, God has furnished us with aids and instruments, wherewith to further His purposes; and these I have abused, squandered, or destroyed. Yet, again and again, every morning, He has renewed my equipment as His servant, never casting me off as hopeless, but carefully adjusting my circumstances, so as to make opportunities of good easy; and what have I rendered Him again? All my life I have been receiving at His hand.

 

1CO 4:7 For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

 

What would I have right now if He should suddenly withdraw all support? Where would I be if He withdrew all power? If I could possibly count all I have received from Him, what could I give in return?

 

We have never so much as known how much we owe Him: have seldom so much as tried to form a careful, true, and honest estimate of what is due Him; have seldom set myself against the known deceitfulness of sin, and determined that, at least, I should have a clear, definite understanding of what I owe to God.

 

Debt also calls to mind a large class of sins that most don’t think of: the sins of omission.

 

Overt sins of lust and passion or hatred or anger are easily seen and remembered. Yet, not doing what I ought to have done often eludes the conscience. When I approach God in prayer every morning and throughout the day I know that there are these omissions that I owe Him. Have any of us done all that we could to look Christlike in every moment? Have we done all for others that we could have? Have we used all our words for good and encouragement? Have we had peace and joy within in every moment? Call it all debt and the matter is brought to a simple issue.

 

If I had a friend like Christ who continued to do all for me despite myself, who spent every effort on me and gave his life for me, who preferred pain and disgrace in serving me than pleasure and profit for himself, and who never asked me for any gift, would it not be the most unaccountable ingratitude if he did not become my firmest friend and my dearest love? And this being done with Christ, and by Christ for me, I can’t even fathom the cost since I don’t know what it was like or what it cost Him to go into the darkness of being forsaken by His Father and being judged for the sins of the world. Nor can I fathom the reward to myself because I cannot fathom what it will be like in heaven, a million years from now, nor can I fathom the happiness and strength that I may have tomorrow with Him. Can any of us be blind to our debt to Him?

 

“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” is the humble and contrite heart before the One who took my debt on His shoulders and to whom I owe everything. “Today I need Your forgiveness Father so that I may serve You.”

 

Of course, our debt isn’t paid off like debts in the world.

 

Jesus Christ paid it. We accept its remission through faith in Him.

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