The following is a serial production of Words for Living on Matthew 6:9-11, or more commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Give us this day our daily bread. God gives to His people because He is a God of providence. I know when people hear that word they automatically think predestination. That’s not exclusively what providence means. The root word is “provide.”
God’s provide-ence is intimately connected to His promises. God promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. God’s providence worked out that promise: even though Sarah was barren, she ended up bearing a son.
A few years later, God commanded Abraham, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love…and offer him…as a burnt offering.” God had provided this son, but now it seems He wants him back.
But Abraham did not hesitate. He remembered God’s promise. We’re told that he “rose early in the morning” to begin his journey to the mountain.
Here again, God’s providence was at work. And Abraham trusted in it. At a heart-wrenching moment, Isaac notes that one of the elements of the sacrifice was missing. He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
Abraham did not respond, “You are that sacrifice because God insisted on it, my son.” Instead, he paused and said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” He was trusting in God’s promise of an heir and in his providence to provide a sacrifice other than Isaac.
And indeed, God proved faithful by staying Abraham’s hand at the last moment and providing a ram instead. This instance is a perfect example of divine providence, of God’s act of provision, of giving something when there was a need.
Ed Soto is pastor of the Altavista Presbyterian Church, which is a congregation firmly rooted in the Bible and the Reformed tradition. Worship on the Lord’s Day is at 10 a.m. To learn more, visit them at www.altapres.org or 707 Broad Street, across from the post office.