It always strikes me when praying the Lord’s prayer that Jesus taught us to pray, give us our daily bread, notice that word daily. Not weekly, not monthly, but daily bread. Which if you haven’t noticed, a lot of people did not get the memo and went ahead and made a run on bread and other sundries. This of course causes more panic, and more over-buying, out of fear and stress. Now Jesus wasn’t teaching us that we shouldn’t prepare, or have more than we need for today. It is often wise to prepare and make sure that you can feed your family for more than just a day. But what Jesus is teaching is that we are daily to depend on God for our needs.
Israel was slow to learn this. In Exodus 16, we read that God gave his people manna to eat. Moses told them that they were to gather only a certain amount per person; it was to be one day’s supply. Some didn’t listen and tried to keep some over-night but “it bred worms and stank” (Ex. 16:20). Then before the sabbath, God gave them enough for two days so that they would not have to go out and gather on the Sabbath. But still, some went out looking for it on the Sabbath. The Lord was teaching the people, one to obey him completely, two that they were to live in complete dependence on God. Moses in retrospect said this in Deuteronomy 8:2-6:
Deuteronomy 8:2–6 —
“2 And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, 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. 4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. 6 So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.”Deut. 8:2-6
God gave them their daily bread to teach them not to live by bread alone. To humble them, so that they would learn not to depend on the food they ate, but on the God who gave it. The Lord used those wanderings in the wilderness to discipline his people, like a father does a son, so that we would learn to keep his commandments, by following and fearing him.
When you go into the grocery store tonight, or this weekend, remember that God gives us our daily bread. He gives us what we need; more often then not, what we need is to live in greater dependence on him. I write these words as one learning this lesson more deeply right alongside all of you. God has not assured us that all our future plans will work out just the way we thought, but he has promised that he would be with us always, even until the end of the age. In our apprenticeship with Jesus, we are learning that that is a far greater assurance than a promise of material surety.
I don’t know for sure where I will live at two months from now, but I do know that the same God who led the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years, without a sandal strap wearing out, is quite capable of supplying my daily bread. Dependence is not an easy lesson for us to learn. Covid-19 is forcing us to learn this perhaps faster than we would like. Arm yourself therefore with food that never gets moldy or stale, the life-giving food of God’s word.