Summary: 1) the substance, 2) the source, 3) the supplication, 4) the seekers, & 5) the schedule of requesting God’s provision.
One of the most controversial elements of this winter’s Olympics has been Canada’s "Own the Podium" program. Not being content with record amounts of medals, the Canadian Olympic officials sought to have the most medals of any country. Was it greedy?
When we consider what we have, why should we ask God for what we already have in such abundance? Why, when many of us need to consume less food than we do, ask God to supply our daily bread? What would be a completely understandable request of a Christian in Ethiopia or Cambodia, seems irrelevant on the lips of a well-fed North American. But this part of the Disciples’ Prayer, like every other part, extends beyond the first century to all believers, in every age and in every situation.
In the prayer which we have been studying Jesus taught his disciples to begin to pray for God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will—“Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done”—but having prayed for these things and thus having established a correct set of priorities they were then to pray for human interests also. The last petitions say, “Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” These are requests for physical needs, forgiveness of sins, and spiritual victories. The prayer ends with a new acknowledgement of God’s glory (Boice, J. M. (2002). The Sermon on the Mount : An expositional commentary (189). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.).
These three petitions cover all our physical and spiritual needs.
Quote: On this point Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has accurately written, “Our whole life is found there in those three petitions, and that is what makes this prayer so utterly amazing. In such a small compass our Lord has covered the whole life of the believer in every respect. Our physical needs, our mental needs and, of course, our spiritual needs are included. The body is remembered, the soul is remembered, the spirit is remembered. And that is the whole of man.”( D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1967), vol. 2, 67–68)
When we ask for God to "Give us this day, our daily bread, we can see five key elements in this request for God’s provision: 1) the substance, 2) the source, 3) the supplication, 4) the seekers, and 5) the schedule.
1) The Substance: Bread
The first of the petitions for the disciples’ own needs concerns material provision (cf. Prov 30:8, “feed me with the bread I need”). In vv. 25–33 we will be told that part of what it means to recognize God as our heavenly Father is to be prepared to trust him for food and drink and clothing, and this petition expresses that trust in its simplest form. Even bread, the most basic of survival rations, comes by God’s daily provision (cf. Ps 104:14–15, 27–28), and is thus a proper subject for prayer rather than to be taken for granted. If this is true even for bread, how much more for all our other physical needs. Bread not only represents food but is symbolic of all of our physical needs (France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (247). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.).
Please turn to Proverbs 30
Quote: John Stott has observed that to Martin Luther, “everything necessary for the preservation of this life is bread, including food, a healthy body, good weather, house, home, wife, children, good government, and peace” (Christian Counter-Culture: The Message of the Sermon on the Mount [Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1978], p. 149).
• Christ’s disciples must ask for bread, not for luxuries.
Proverbs 30:8-9 Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, "Who is the LORD?" or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. (ESV)
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
• It does not say that God shall supply all your wants.
It is marvelous to understand that the God who created the entire universe, who is the God of all space and time and eternity, who is infinitely holy and completely self-sufficient, should care about supplying our physical needs-and should be concerned that we receive enough food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to rest. God obligates Himself to supply our needs.
The prayer makes request for our needs and not our greed.
James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (ESV)