Heidelberg Catechism Meditations (366)

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December 16 - LD 50, Day 7: Acknowledging God the Only Fountain of All Good

Monday the 16th of December

in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations

December 16 - LD 50, Day 7: Acknowledging God the Only Fountain of All Good 
by Rev. Martyn McGeown

James 1:17 - “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights...”

In the fourth petition, Christ reminds us that God, who is our Father, is the source of all good things, even of our daily bread. Prayer, as we saw already in LD 45-46, is a confession of our utter dependence upon God. If we did not need things, we would not pray. That we pray is proof that we need things and that God is the only source of the things that we need.

We need to be reminded—daily—of this dependence upon God.

LD 50 mentions other things which might distract us from trusting God.

First, our “care.” Our care is our worry. Jesus commands us: “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? …your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Matt 6:25, 32). Paul writes, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil 4:6).  When we worry, we waste valuable energy on a fruitless pursuit. When we are tempted to worry, let us pray.

Second, our industry, or simply, our work. We imagine that by working hard, we earn our own bread, and we hardly acknowledge that it comes from God. He gives us the opportunity and the ability to work. We must not trust in our own work—for salvation or for our daily bread.

Third, the creature. The fourth petition is designed so that we might “withdraw our trust from all creatures and place it alone in [God].” We are naturally prone to trust in the creature, instead of in God. This is a form of idolatry, and how easy for us it is! We see the creature, and we forget that the creature is but an instrument—a secondary cause—in God’s hand. When the creature fails, we are prone to panic. We must therefore turn to God before the creature fails. We must withdraw our trust from every creature—including ourselves. God must not be our last resort, but the one to whom we turn at all times.

Prayer is an acknowledgement or a confession. We have nothing; we need both natural and spiritual gifts. God alone can and does give these things to us. He is the “only fountain of all good.” We deserve nothing at all, but He is pleased to give them to us for Jesus’ sake.

“Father, give.” This is never a demand, but a humble cry to God, who knows our needs and richly supplies them. “Father, give.” This is not a loan which we ask of God, but a free and unmerited gift. And when Father does give, we thank Him for His gifts.

And, as we receive our daily bread, we receive His blessing, and in that blessing we are strengthened to serve Him through the bread which we receive.

“Father, Thou only fountain of all good, give us this day our daily bread—with Thy blessing.” 


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