First Glance: Matthew 6:11

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Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11)

Whenever I hear these words of the Lord’s Prayer I cannot help but be brought back to the wilderness in Israel and the 23rd psalm. In June of 2014, Stephen and I had the privilege of going to Israel on a walking tour. We learned so much, and there were several times that daily bread and God’s provision came up in conversation and lessons. I’d like to share some of that with you now.

The wilderness is a great picture of how God provides our daily bread. The wilderness is the land of the shepherd. That may seem surprising to some, as it tends to be a very rocky and barren place. The greenery you see is mostly weeds and thorns – quite inedible for a sheep. Yet, this is where shepherds bring their sheep to graze. You may wonder, “What do these sheep eat? Rocks?” And, at first glance it may seem that way. However, between the rocks little tufts of grass can grow when the dew settles. The shepherds let their sheep graze among the rocks, looking for these little tufts of grace, just one mouthful at a time.

A tuft of grass in the green pastures. Photo by Olga Shaffer.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
     he restores my soul. (Psalm 23:1-3)

When David wrote the 23rd psalm, these were the green pastures he had in mind. It wasn’t belly-deep alfalfa as we in the midwest might picture. Instead, he wrote about how God provides just enough for today. “Give us today our daily bread.” Give us enough for today. When we pray these words we are praying for necessities. Frederick Bruner writes, “We are not told to pray for daily cake. We may be grateful, of course, when cake is given.” Instead, we are told to pray for bread, our necessities, enough for today. We are taught to pray for one mouthful at a time.

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How has God provided for you?

What stories come to mind when you ask yourself how God has given you enough for that day?

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