Manna for Me?

praying-hands-6Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
[For Yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever.
Matthew 6:9-13

lentMy Reader, envision a young child with a jubilant smile on his/her face reaching out for a gift. Listen to the intonation of this child when he/she asks, “For me?!” This type of response creates delight within the giver as well as the receiver of the gift. I wonder if this is how God feels when I accept a gift He offers to me. I am pondering this possibility while reading verse 11 of the Lord’s Prayer. Does God desire for me to personalize this verse and prayerfully ask, “Lord, are you giving the gift of daily bread to me?!” This is the first of three personal requests highlighted by Jesus in the scriptural prayer of Matthew 5. Join me as we search for the meaning of this phrase. As we undertake our study, we are nearing the middle of the Christian season of Lent as well as being in the middle of our prayer excursion.

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

Give us this day our daily bread.
The first word of this phrase denotes that our daily bread is given to us. Although God may require our cooperation for us to receive this gift, it is not something we can solely provide for ourselves. I think back to the names of God highlighted in the blog post What Is in a Name? on February 17. El Shaddai means “The All-sufficient One” and the word Shaddai can be translated “the many breasted one”. This presents me with the picture of a mother providing breast milk (food or bread) for her baby. God provides us with the food our bodies need. Jehovah-jireh means “The LORD Will Provide” and is another name that substantiates the fact that God will give us our daily bread when we ask for it.

Give us this day our daily bread.
I find it interesting that two forms of the word day are used within the seven words of this phrase. It must be important! My thoughts go back to the story of how God provided manna daily for the Israelites when they were in the wilderness. Exodus 16:4 says, “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.’” Then Exodus 16:14-15 describe this food by saying, “When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.” If God was faithful to provide manna daily for the Israelites, it is appropriate for us to ask Him for our daily bread.

Daily bread can apply to spiritual food as well as physical food. Paul describes God’s Word as being milk for spiritual infants and meat for men in I Corinthians 3:2, so I believe bread is an accurate description of scripture being spiritual food. In John 6:35, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” From the perspective of Jesus’ words and my need for physical and spiritual food, I can say that Jesus is my daily provision. My daily bread includes my feeding daily on Jesus and the Word as well as eating my servings of fruits and vegetables. My physical energy and my spiritual growth depend upon my day to day diets. I cannot just devour enough of either food once a week to keep me going for the next seven days. Manna did not remain fresh from one day to the next for the Israelites, so why should I think I can live any differently?

My Reader, as we focus upon our need for daily bread, may we not only ask the Lord for it but also thank Him for it. It is a gift that God wants to provide for us, but we must eat and internalize His provision on a daily basis. Each one of us can stand in awe and ask the Lord the question, “For me?!”  However, we also need to open the gift and ingest and digest it.

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