December 11 - LD 50, Day 2: God’s Providence in Supplying Our Bread
by Rev. Martyn McGeown
Genesis 3:19 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground…”
Did you ever consider how bread comes to our table, and therefore how God answers our prayers to give us our daily bread? In the Old Testament, for some forty years, God caused bread miraculously to fall out of heaven for His people, but He does not supply manna in that manner today. When we ask God for “bread,” much is implied.
First, in our prayer for our daily bread, we ask God to prosper the entire economy for the sake of God’s people, so that we can eat and be supplied with the necessities of life. God has created us as interdependent creatures. God’s providence governs everything that is involved in bringing the humble loaf of bread to our tables. In many nations today, agriculture is a multibillion dollar industry, but other industries are involved too.
Even in Jesus’ day, this was understood. The farmer relied upon the weather. If the weather was too wet or too dry, or if there were pests, such as locusts, caterpillars, cankerworms and palmerworms (Joel 2:25), the harvest would fail. That we have modern inventions does not make us immune from famine. If the farmer’s crop fails or is insufficient, there can be no bread. Therefore, part of our prayer “Give us this day our daily bread” includes a prayer for good weather—not so we can enjoy ourselves at the beach, but so that we can eat.
Modern farmers have other concerns too. The oil industry, for example, which supplies the fuel to run the machinery to harvest the grain, is necessary for bringing bread to us. Then there is the transportation industry, by which the grain is brought to factories to be made into bread, and by which the prepared bread is transported to the shops, where the consumer buys it. Therefore, we need to pray for the smooth running of society, so that the bread can reach us.
Indeed, without a flourishing economy there will be insufficient employment and people will not be able to work to earn the money necessary to buy bread. “Give us this day our daily bread” is not answered by God dropping bread on our tables pre-sliced out of heaven!
Second, in our prayer for daily bread, we ask God to supply us with jobs, so that especially the husbands and fathers may support their families. It is God’s will that we eat in the way of our working: “in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Gen 3:19); “if any will not work, neither should he eat” (II Thes 3:10). Therefore, the Christian husband and father must pray, “Father, give me work, work sufficient for me and my dependents, work sufficient for me to help the poor; and Father, give me diligence in my work, and the physical and mental ability to work.”
A lazy man may not—must not—pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” He must repent of his sloth, and “with quietness…work, and eat [his] own bread” (II Thes 3:12).
Let us remember all that is involved in bringing bread to us, and pray accordingly.
- Date: December 11
Rev. Martyn McGeown
Pastorates: Missionary-pastor in Limerick, Ireland for the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Northern Ireland - 2010.Website: www.limerickreformed.com/
Address38 Abbeyvale, Corbally
Telephone(011) 35361 635582