Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Daily Bread

Leslie Basham: Where does your provision come from? Amazon? Wal-Mart? Large birds? Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Listen, if God needs to, he’ll send ravens . . .

Leslie: . . . just like he did for the prophet Elijah.

Nancy: When I said that, some of you just looked at me like, yeah, sure. You don’t believe that, do you? We’re so locked into our sophisticated 21st century ways of thinking about provision. I wonder how many of us God might provide in unusual, extraordinary ways to meet our needs if we would just be in the place where His Word sends us and be willing to trust and wait on Him when we can’t see where the answer is going to come from.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, October 23.

What would it take for you to never worry about money? Now the answer isn’t more money. Nancy will help us understand where true financial peace comes from in our current series called, The Lord’s Prayer, Part 2.

Nancy: Well, we’re continuing in our meditation on that one petition in the Lord’s prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Isn’t it amazing that in a culture, a society, where we have, relative to the rest of the world, such abundance that people should be so stressed out over things today and that we should have so many people in debt and discouraged and frustrated and fearful and anxious and worried?

It’s just an evidence that having more things doesn’t necessarily make us better off. If we don’t have God’s perspective on wealth and provision, we can end up being impoverished in our souls, if not even materially, if we don’t handle it God’s way.

Now, as we continue to think about that petition, “Give us this day our daily bread,” I want to just reflect again on the attitudes that are implied with that petition. We’ve touched on these and then I want to expand on it just a little bit in today’s session.

First of all, we see implied here the attitude of gratitude—gratitude for past provision. This petition for daily bread is a humble, grateful, acknowledgment of God’s faithful provision in the past. “All I have needed Thy hand has provided.”

"Lord, you met my needs yesterday and the day before that and the day before that. So today I’m coming to you afresh knowing that You’re the one who provided in the past. I’m grateful for that, and so I’m coming to humbly ask if You would provide again today."

Then this petition implies an attitude of contentment. Contentment with whatever God provides for today. John MacArthur in his commentary on this passage says that “to accept the Lord’s provision for the present day without concern for our needs or our welfare tomorrow is a testimony of our contentment in God’s goodness and faithfulness.”

We say, “I’m satisfied with what God’s provided today. It’s enough.” Contentment is just the realization that God has already provided for me today all that I need for my present peace and happiness. I don’t need anything more. That definition, by the way, is not original with me. It’s just realizing that God has given me everything I need, and if there’s something I don’t have at the moment, then it means that at the moment I don’t need it.

What implied in this petition is faith. Faith that God will provide, not only today, but that tomorrow He will provide what is needed for tomorrow. Therefore, because we are grateful, because we are contented, because we are believing God, trusting God, we have faith, there’s no room for worry, for anxiety, for fretting, for fear.

There’s no room for this drivenness to provide for ourselves. I’ve seen people get into some really unhealthy work-related situations because they didn’t wait for God to direct or provide. “I’ve got to do this! I’ve got to do this! I’ve got to take care of this.”

Let me say that there are some moms that have been driven out into the work force by a lack of contentment and a lack of faith. Now, I’m not saying this is true in all cases, but I wonder in some families. We just assume today both parents need to be working outside the home. I’m not saying that’s never the case, but I think it’s a wrong thing to assume.

If you believe that God would be glorified by your being home to care for your children, then why not ask God to provide in such a way for your daily bread that that would be possible? I have watched women get stressed out of their minds, their children stressed, their lives stressed, their families sometimes discombobulated, broken up, dysfunctional.

There is never any peace or calm in that family because everyone is scurrying around driven to provide and maybe not having stopped to say, “Lord, give us this day our daily bread.” Do you believe God can provide for a family on the husband’s income? “Well, maybe He can do that for others, but I’ve got to go get this job.” I’m just saying ask the Lord. “Lord, is this the way You want to meet our needs or might there be some other way You would want to meet our needs?”

To have faith doesn’t leave room for us to be driven under compulsion to make our own way of provision. We know almost nothing of living this way in this age of stockpiling and hording and savings and overspending and credit and debt. What happened to the days of just God giving what’s needed today?

Now again, God may give more than that, and that’s okay. But do we have to have more than that to be contented and to feel secure and to be happy?

To ask in this way of humble, simple faith is to be free from the kind of anxious striving that Jesus talks about in that passage immediately following the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew chapter 6. In fact, let me ask you to turn to Matthew chapter 6. We’ve been looking at the Lord’s Prayer in verses 9 and following. But go down later in that chapter to verse 25.

Matthew chapter 6, verse 25. Notice how many times the word anxious appears in this passage. Now this is right after Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” When you pray that way, it will protect you from the kind of anxious worrying and striving that Jesus talks about beginning in verse 25.

Jesus said, “Do not be anxious.” The New King James says, “Do not worry.” That word anxious or worry has to do with your mind being pulled apart in lots of different directions. You’re being fragmented because of your fears and your worries about the future.

Don’t be anxious. That’s a command, by the way. Do not be anxious.

Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father [that’s who we pray to] feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies [the wildflowers] of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matt. 6:25-26; 28-30)

See, when we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we’re expressing faith. Verse 31: “Therefore do not be anxious.” I think this is something Jesus is concerned about. Remember the whole sermon on the mount is about kingdom living, what life looks like in the kingdom of God? If we have God as our king, God as our heavenly Father, how can we be anxious?

There’s something wrong with the picture of fearful, anxious, fretting, worrying children of God. I’ve been there so many times. I’ve lived there so many times and Jesus says, “Don’t be anxious.” “Don’t be anxious, saying what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear? Or where shall we live or how shall we get this or how shall we get that? Or what shall we do in our retirement?” These basic questions.

Verse 32:

For the Gentiles seek after all these things. [Gentiles are the people who don’t know God. They don’t have a heavenly Father. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.] But seek first the kingdom of God [“Thy kingdom come”] and his righteousness, [“Thy will be done”] and all these things [these temporal things, these material things—these things that your Father knows you need] will be added to you.” (vv. 32–33)

What a way to live! The birds, common ordinary sparrows, that we say who would even notice? Who would even care if one of them falls to the ground? Yet when one falls to the ground your heavenly Father knows it. God cares for them.

These birds, these flowers, they glorify God just by being recipients of God’s kindness and by living stress-free lives so that when we look at those birds or those wildflowers, as Jesus instructed us to do, when we consider them, as Jesus said we should, we say, “God is good. God is faithful. God provides. God cares.”

In that way the birds and the flowers have taught us a lesson. Don’t be anxious. Don’t worry. That’s their message. That’s what they say if you’ll take time to look at them, to listen to them, to consider them. What do they say to us? Anxiety is unnecessary. It’s futile, and it’s unproductive. That’s their message.

Then I think about me and my heart says, “Lord, I want people to be able to look at my life as I consider the birds and the flowers. I want people to be able to look at my life and to see a testimony of God’s provision and God’s care and to see that God meets my needs without any striving or stress on my part.”

When people look at my life, when they see how I live, when they see how I lead the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, when they see how I function in all my different relationships and responsibilities, I want the people who know me best to be challenged to trust my heavenly Father for their needs, without anxiety and without care.

You remember the story in 1 Kings chapter 17, where there was a time of drought and scarcity in the land because of sin in the nation. Elijah was God’s prophet, God’s man. He was a man of prayer. He was a man of faith, but he was affected by the famine and the drought along with everyone else.

We read in 1 Kings 17, verse 2, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the midst of this drought, in the midst of this famine. God said, “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”

Now talk about an unorthodox means of provision. Being fed by ravens? Who could have written that script other than God? But God says in this time of drought, in this time of need, in this time where everybody else was hungry and thirsty. There wasn’t water. There wasn’t food. God said to his servant, "I have a place where you will be secure, where you will be provided for, where your needs will be met."

"Go to this brook." He told them exactly where it was. The word of the Lord came and showed him. You’ll drink from the brook, and I’ve commanded ravens to bring you food. “So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, [“Give us this day our daily bread”] and he drank from the brook.” (vv. 5–6)

Now, some of you are thinking, “That’s Old Testament. God doesn’t do things like that today.” Do you know why God doesn’t do more things like that today? Because God doesn’t have more Elijahs who pray and believe God. You say, “There’s no way I could stay home and care for my children. I’ve got to go out and get this job!”

Now, I’m not in this session trying in any way to tell you whether God wants you to go out and get a job or not, but I’m saying that if the Word of the Lord directs you that His values and His priorities for your life are to be in your home with your children, then God will meet your needs as you follow His Word.

You say, “But where’s it going to come from? My husband’s paycheck isn’t enough to meet our mortgage!” Well, God may lead to you live in a different setting where your mortgage is different, or listen, if God needs to He’ll send ravens to bring bread and meat. When I said that, some of you just looked at me like, “Yeah, sure.” You don’t believe that, do you?

We’re so locked into our sophisticated 21st century ways of thinking about provision. I wonder how many of us God might provide in unusual, extraordinary ways to meet our needs if we would just be in the place where His Word sends us and be willing to trust and wait on Him when we can’t see where the answer is going to come from.

If God doesn’t send ravens, maybe it’s because you haven’t prayed. You haven’t asked Him. You haven’t waited or you haven’t gone where He directed you. Now I don’t mean to be making light of this or saying that ravens are going to be God’s ordinary way of providing for servants in times of need, but I’m saying God can send birds to feed your family if He needs to. Or any other means that He chooses.

Verse 7, 1 Kings 17, “After a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.” What are we going to do?! We had this provision. Now it is no more. Then, verse 8, after the brook dried up, not before, “Then the word of the LORD came to him [Elijah], ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.’”

I mean, how strange is this? No trust funds, no lottery winnings, no inheritance, no raise at work, not ordinary means or methods or things that we would script. God says first it’s this brook. It’s the ravens. They bring you food. When the brook dries up, God says, "I’m sending you to a widow."

Do you think God is wanting his servant to learn who the provider is? Do you think God wants us to read that passage and be reminded who our provider is? Do you really believe God can meet your needs? God always provided for Elijah just what was needed when it was needed.

Now let me just raise one question here. Does all this mean (don’t be anxious; God knows your needs; God will provide; He may send ravens; He may send you a widow to provide) that if you’re a child of God, you will never have to do without? Would God ever fail to provide daily bread for His children who ask Him?

Psalm 37, verse 25, talks about, “I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” Do the righteous ever have to beg for bread? Assuming a person is a true child of God, assuming they’ve prayed, they’ve asked their Father to meet their needs, they’re trusting Him to provide, they’re content with basic necessities, they’re not demanding provision beyond what they need to live, is it possible they might still go hungry?

Think, as you answer that question, about some of our believing brothers and sisters in the Sudan, in famine-stricken parts of the world. Think about some of our brothers and sisters who are imprisoned for their faith and being sustained on minimal daily rations. How does that fit into this theology?

How does it fit into this theology to have the apostle Paul say in 1 Corinthians 4, verse 11, “To this present hour we hunger and thirst.” Did he not pray? Did he not believe God? Did God fail him?

What about when Jesus Himself, the Son of God, was hanging on the cross and said, “I thirst.” What about when He experienced hunger in the wilderness after fasting and still declined the bread that was offered to Him by Satan. Did God forsake His Son?

What about Deuteronomy 8, verse 3, where it says “he humbled you and let you hunger”? God took His children into the wilderness and took them to places where there was no water to drink. There was no food to eat. Did God fail? Did His promises fail? Did they not work?

Well, we’re reminded that Jesus said in Matthew 6, verse 25, is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? You see, this physical body—to put things in perspective—is temporal. It’s wasting away. This physical body demands to be fed and clothed and housed. God has made provision to meet our daily needs. But I think God wants us to be reminded that the survival of our physical body is not our highest priority or our greatest necessity.

Now, when you’re hungry—and I say this carefully because I’ve never been in a place where I didn’t have something to eat if I wanted it. But some have and some who are listening to this program may have been there. But the fact is that life is more than this physical body because our physical body merely houses the soul, the spirit. That’s the part of us that will live forever.

So we can better afford to have our body starve than we can to let our spirit go unfed and uncared for. Do you see what I’m saying here? The body is physical. It’s not going to last anyway. There’s going to come a point when this body, this tent, this outer person is going to die. But there’s an inner person that is going to live forever. My soul, my spirit is going to live forever.

What if I would have my physical body cared for and fed and clothed and housed all my life but my soul would be starved? You see, there’s something more fundamental a need in my life than physical provision. That’s why God said in Deuteronomy 8:3, “He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, . . . that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

Your physical sustenance is not as essential as your spiritual wellbeing. Sometimes physical deprivation can make us more conscious of our spiritual needs, more intentional about spiritual growth and sanctification.

I think as we look at the Scripture, we have to say that in His inscrutable wisdom and plan, God may at times let His children go hungry or do without basic necessities in life. There are some examples of that in Scripture. We’ve just looked at some of them. But we need to remember that at worst that pain, that deprivation is temporal.

Under no circumstances, however, will God allow the soul of His children to perish. As His children, we can trust that if we come to a place where He does allow us to be physically deprived, God has an eternal purpose and good in mind that far outweighs that momentary distress.

That’s why we can say, knowing that we have a Father who knows our needs, who cares for us, who provides for us, “Lord even if You bring me to a place in my life where for some reason You determine to withhold physical provision, I will still thank You. I will still trust You. I will still be content. I will still obey You. I will still say, ‘Our Father in heaven, You are good. Hallowed be Your name.’”

Leslie: You’ll see plenty of advertisements today tempting you to approach wealth with a wrong attitude. Aren’t you thankful for teachers like Nancy Leigh DeMoss, who can remind us of the truth?

Today’s message is part of a series called The Lord’s Prayer, Part 1. It’s a detailed look at a series of potent petitions. This series will affect your prayer life in exciting ways. I hope you’ll stay with us throughout it.

We had to trim some of Nancy’s teaching in order to fit our time slot on the radio. But you can get all of the complete messages when you order The Lord’s Prayer on CD. Call 1-800-569-5959 to order, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Launching Revive Our Hearts over ten years ago has given us a new appreciation for operating by faith. You can’t sustain a national radio program like this one without expenses. We have watched God provide through His people.

If He puts it on your heart to help us meet our needs, would you consider joining our Ministry Partner team? It involves a monthly commitment to pray, share the message of Revive Our Hearts with others, and to give. As a Ministry Partner, you'll receive regular updates and resources from the ministry. There are a lot of other benefits as well.

If God has used this ministry in your life and you're ready to partner with us at a new level, get the details at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Some people are so prepared. As soon as they open a new tube of toothpaste or some other item, they buy a backup right away. The Old Testament tells us the story of a woman who didn’t have that luxury. She scraped the bottom of her flour jar every day yet never ran out. Hear the story tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Nancy: God promised, the jar will not run out; the flour will not run out; the oil will not run out until the day that this famine is over. She did as Elijah said and she and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty according to the Word of the Lord that He spoke by Elijah.

Leslie: Hear the story tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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