Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. — Matthew 6: 31–32
We trust in God, the Omniscient, for He provides for us in all things.
In the Sermon on the Mount, which is recorded in Matthew 5–7, Jesus addresses His Jewish contemporaries. With the words from Matthew 6: 31–32 He warns the people not to let their lives revolve solely around their natural needs. This is also reminiscent of the attitude of the people of Israel at the time of Moses.
A look back to the people of Israel
The Israelites suffered heavily as a result of their forced labour in Egypt (Exodus 1: 13–14), and their longing for liberty was great. God intervened and led His people out of slavery in a miraculous way and delivered them from their pursuers. Moses and the people praised and glorified God in response (Exodus 15: 1–13).
But only a few days later already, there was not even a trace of joy remaining over their liberation and deliverance. The people began to complain, “What are we supposed to drink?” and they began to look back longingly to the fleshpots of Egypt (Exodus 15: 24; 16: 3). Their concern over the earthly overshadowed everything else, even though God had already performed many miracles in the desert and provided for His people in a miraculous way.
The admonition of the Lord also applies to our time
We have no right to condemn this behaviour of the Israelites! People today are just as quick to let their lives revolve exclusively around their earthly needs as ever. For this reason, the admonition of the Lord from the Sermon on the Mount is also relevant to the people of God in the present. God has given His Son for our redemption. The path to eternal life has been established by Christ. God grants us salvation and deliverance already today. Nevertheless we must often observe that our joy in the liberty we have gained in Christ is all too often overshadowed by the daily concerns of earthly life.
God expects trust …
Our heavenly Father expects His children to trust Him: He knows what we need—and He will provide for us!
Therefore let us be numbered among thosw
- Who depend on God in all situations of life. Good things are promised to them (Psalm 84: 11–12).
- Who trust completely in the omnipotence and compassion of God (2 Corinthians 9: 8).
- Whose striving—in the awareness of the providence of the Father in heaven—applies first to the kingdom of God, in other words, to fellowship with the triune God (Matthew 6: 33).
…in all situations!
In our time we also see many people who set other priorities, however. They rely on their own strengths and abilities, and work tirelessly for their earthly well-being. They often appear to be more successful than the believers, and so it is that we find ourselves in a dilemma (Psalm 73: 12–13). At such times it is important that we make a conscious effort to focus on God, and seek His nearness. Trust in God is imparted in the house of the Lord, and our eyes are redirected to see our eternal wealth. This makes us thankful and causes us to praise and glorify our Lord (Psalm 73: 28).
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for the divine service held on Sunday, 14 February 2016 at Midrand Congregation.