Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
Presbyterian Hymnal (pg. 16)
The fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer is the first of four related to human concerns and needs. The only other requests that might be even more elemental are the need for air to breathe and water to keep us hydrated. We certainly need food as fuel for our bodies and bread is the simplest to satisfy hunger and to sustain well being.
Notice that Jesus teaches His would-be disciples to ask God to give them their daily bread. This instruction sounds very much like the instructions that Moses gave the Israelites as they clamored for food in the wilderness. The Israelites would go out each morning to find bread (manna) that God had rained down from heaven. The first day through the fifth day of each week they were to gather enough manna to satisfy their hunger for that day. If they gathered more manna than was needed and held it over, it became foul and bred worms.
On the sixth day the Israelites were instructed to gather twice as much manna that day to supply their family’s need for food on the sixth day and the Sabbath. Gathering manna on the Sabbath would constitute work and the people of God were forbidden to work on the Sabbath. God was teaching them to obey and to trust that God would provide for their daily needs.
As we look in our stocked cabinets and pantries we often find food with dates indicating that the food has expired. We have often gathered more than we need. We do need to be reminded that we depend on God to provide us with daily bread to satisfy our hunger. By gathering what we need and not stockpiling we demonstrate our reliance upon God to satisfy our needs … not just for bread, but for all our needs.
Giver of every good and perfect gift from above, we thank You that You provide for our daily needs. Help us to trust that You will not fail us or forsake us. Thank You for our daily bread and for all the other gifts we receive from Your bounty. Amen.