Summary: God knows what we need better than we do.
Title: An Atkins-friendly God
FCF: Our God knows what we need even better than we do.
As you know, we’ve been looking at the Lord’s Prayer for several weeks now, and this morning were coming to the one part of that prayer that makes me stop and think. What does the carbohydrate-hating Dr. Atkins do when he gets to the line, “Give us this day our daily bread?”
In one sense, this line is the part of the Lord’s Prayer that we probably think we understand the best. After all, when we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” it is pretty simple really. It is an acknowledgement that we have needs, and we need God to meet them.
You know, the Atkins diet is pretty controversial. It says – eat what you like. Eat the meat, not the bread. Well, I’m no doctor, so I can’t tell you whether it’s healthy or not. [I can tell you, Atkins himself was significantly overweight when he died]. But, I do know this – in the end, your body is going to know, one way or the other.
It’s said that there are no atheists in the foxhole [the trenches] – It seems pretty basic. God is all-powerful, and all-listening. We have a need, and he can meet it. We even know that he loves us.
So why is that sometimes he says, “No?”
This morning I want to suggest that the phrase “Give us this day our daily bread” contains within it an answer to that question – Why would a good God not answer prayer. In order to see it more clearly, I want to look at the role of bread [no pun intended] in Scripture.
My plan is fairly simple –
I. Bread As a Provision for the People (Numbers 11)
II. Bread As a Sign from a Loving Father (Matthew 7)
III. Bread As a Person who knows us better than we do. (John 6)
I know we’ll be jumping around a bit, but what I hope to show you is this: When God says ‘No,’ we should rejoice, because it lets us know that our God loves us even more than we know.
Bread as a Provision for the People (Numbers 11)
Now, from our Sunday School classes, we remember that when God led the Israelites out of Egypt, he fed them all along the way. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised at this, but the timing of that provision is pretty interesting.
If you think back to the book of Exodus, you remember Moses saying “Let my people go!” and the 10 plagues. You remember Yul Brenner giving in to Charlton Heston, but then changing his mind and chasing after the Israelites in his chariot – and then the famous Hollywood miracle of the parting of the Red Sea. And then you see the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai, with Moses coming down from the clouds with the law. But you know what – I had missed part of the story.
You see, no sooner had God saved the Israelites than they started complaining – “Oh, we’re going to starve out here.” The manna from heaven – that bread that God gave the Israelites every single morning except Saturday? You know when that started? The day after they crossed the Red Sea.
Now, I said that I shouldn’t have been surprised. You see, the Israelites didn’t have a lot of time to pack, so on one hand it makes sense that they needed food right away. It really only takes about 3 or 4 days to cross the Sinai Peninsula – so you probably could have done it without food, but already see what people are doing – they are doubting God’s ability to provide.
So, God gives them bread. Interestingly enough – he gives them bread even before he gives them the law. But God is good.
In both cases, God was looking out for his children. When he gave them bread, he knew that his children were weak and really needed the nutrition. When he gave them the law, he knew his children were weak, and really needed to know how to get along.
And do you know how good God is? He didn’t just give them any old bread – he gave them manna. The Bible says it tasted like cakes of coriander seed. That’s pretty yummy stuff. No stinking Wonder Sponge [I can’t bring myself to call that bread!] for these people – he was pulling it off the gourmet shelf!
So, you’d think that with God as your own personal baker, you’d be pretty satisfied, right? Well, let me skip ahead a bit to Numbers 11:4-20.
The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6 but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”