The Lord’s Prayer: “Give us today our Daily Bread”
Read Deuteronomy 8:11-19
“Do not forget the Lord your God”
As Israel is about to cross the Jordan River and enter into the lush promised land that God had promised, he gives them a stern warning. For the past 40 years, Israel had wandered in the barren wilderness area of what is now Saudi Arabia and Jordan. In contrast to the rich soil of the Jordan Valley and the land promised to Abraham, the region they lived in during the 40 years of wandering was dry, barren, and harsh, devoid of water and vegetation. As a result, they were completely dependent upon the manna God supernaturally provided on a daily basis. It was much easier for them to live dependent upon God’s provision because there was no other option. But all that was about to change when they crossed the Jordan river to set up residency in the promised land. It was a land rich in agriculture and livestock. It would be a land that would provide for all their needs. Compared to the region they had been traversing, the promised land was comparable to the garden of Eden. From the moment they crossed the Jordan they would no longer need any supernatural provision from God. But with blessing also comes the danger of ingratitude and self-sufficiency, and this is the reason for the warning.
As Moses gives his final message to Israel, he warns them of forgetting God and failing to live in obedience to him. Because they were to inherit a land they did not till and obtain wealth they did not work for, it would be easy to contribute their prosperity to their own efforts rather than the work of God. Prosperity breeds pride and forgetfulness. We become proud in our achievements for we attribute them to our abilities. We become forgetful of God as we believe he is no longer necessary and so he is regulated to the background. When life is hard and we are confronted with our limitations, making it is easier to cry for divine assistance.
Thus, as Israel enters the promised land, they face a greater threat to their existence than the armies of the nations they shall confront. This danger, one that would indeed prove to be their downfall, is themselves! Thus, Moses warns them of becoming proud and attributing their success to their own ability. He warns them of no longer being dependent upon God and subsequently falling prey to idolatry.
When we pray for God to “give us this day our daily bread” it serves to be a continual reminder that our whole life is to be lived in dependency upon God. The statement points us to the basic necessity of life to remind us that even the barest of necessities require us to depend upon God. Bread represents all our physical needs. Yet we become self-reliant as we enjoy the prosperity of our country. Instead of being thankful and grateful, we become envious of what we do not have and unappreciative of what we do have. We go through our day with little thought of God’s provision. Instead of recognizing everything as a gift from his gracious hand, we attribute it to the work of our own abilities. But this prayer cuts through this independence and reminds us to daily remember that the God of the universe cares about our physical needs and continually acts to provide them. Because he provides our needs, we do not need to turn to any other god. Throughout the day, thank him for every blessing that you are enjoying. Through the challenges of this year, it is easy to start to see the struggles and overlook the blessings and provision of God. The answer lies in thanksgiving.