Thursday, September 15, 2022

A Study of Matthew - Chapter 6 - Sermon on the Mount

 by Stan Feldsine (

In Chapter 6 of Matthew, Jesus changes His teachings from correcting Pharisaical misinterpretations of the Law to explaining what makes true righteous conduct.

Mat 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

This passage is not speaking of pointing out the good deeds we are doing, but actually living out those good deeds as a part of our intrinsic (being a part of the innermost nature of a person or thing) character.

Jesus provides this teaching as a guide to the changing of our character from a lessor state to a greater state through transformation and regeneration.

2Co 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Our motivation for good works, righteousness, is to bring glory and honor to God, and to become more like Jesus through transformation.

Matthew 6:1 - Rewards For Righteousness

Mat 6:1 "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Jesus is addressing a tendency of human nature towards vanity. Basic human nature craves validation and recognition. The Pharisees had perfected vanity. Practicing righteousness to be seen, announcing the giving to the needy, praying on street corners to pray, long babbling prayers, disfiguring faces while fasting, etc.

Jesus is bringing to light that the concept of being rewarded for our works. One type of reward is vain through the attention of other the people now, on earth. The other type of reward comes through the attention of God when we arrive in heaven. Jesus implies that our Father in heaven will reward us for righteousness, but if we can forfeit the Father's reward if we seek to collect in in this life from people.

A Look at the Doctrine of Rewards

Jesus has chosen to motivate us through rewards. Similar to how a parent will reward good behavior, Jesus will also reward us for good behavior.

2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

The term "judgment" carries a negative connotation of being an event where punishment is distributed. However, this judgment is one in which rewards are distributed, not punishment.

Bad deeds result in no rewards, good deeds result in rewards.

The Prize

Paul describes this event metaphorically as one in which rewards are given for placement at the Isthmian games. (Similar to our Olympic games). Paul also describes the fervor with which we should pursue the rewards. The "training" is training in righteousness.

1Co 9:25-27 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (26) Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. (27) No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

The idea here is that God the judge is watching us and keeping records of all that we do. He has gifts, rewards and prizes to give us at the Bema Judgment based on what He sees. We are to be zealous in producing good deeds, which are a product of righteous character.

The Basis of Rewards

Paul also describes the process of determining rewards. This important passage shows that the rewards are based on works and motivations, but that salvation is not. A person can loose rewards, but will be saved and go to heaven.

1Co 3:11-15 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, (13) their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. (14) If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. (15) If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved--even though only as one escaping through the flames.

Paul gives some guidance on what he means by good works and motivations.

Gold, silver and costly stones consist of serving wholeheartedly.

Eph 6:7-8 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, (8) because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

Giving to the needy in secret, rather than seeking praise for generosity.

Mat 6:3-4 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, (4) so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Praying in secret, rather than seeking praise for piety.

Mat 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Fasting without making a show of it, rather than seeking praise for your suffering.

Mat 6:17-18 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, (18) so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Our future rewards are our heavenly treasure. We are told to actively seek and store these rewards.

Mat 6:19-20 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. (20) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Don't Be Concerned With Others

Paul shows that we should not be concerned with the activities of other Christians around us. If they don't seem to be measuring up to what our standards are for ourselves, that is not our concern. Rewards will be equitably distributed. We should be concerned with ourselves.

Rom 14:10-12 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. (11) It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'" (12) So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

A Future Reward

Rom 14:10 - The Judgment Seat

1Pe 5:4 - When the Chief Shepherd Appears

2Ti 4:8 - On That Day

1Co 4:5 - The Appointed Time, When The Lord Comes, At That Time

Luk 14:14 - The Resurrection of the Righteous

2Ti 2:12 - We Will Reign With Him

Mat 25:23 - Be Put in Charge of Many Things

1Co 6:2 - The Lords People Will Judge the World

Rev 22:12 - I'm Coming Soon with Rewards

Paul shows that our rewards will not be given in this life, but the next. This judgment occurs following the Rapture, and involves believers.

1Co 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

Paul also tells Timothy about that day. On that day there is in store for him a crown of righteousness.

2Ti 4:8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Peter also refers to that same day, as the day that Jesus, the "Chief Shepherd" appears and distributes "crowns of glory".

1Pe 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Luke, in the parable of the Great Wedding Banquet, tells us that rewards will be handed out at the resurrection of the righteous, which is a reference to the Rapture.

Luk 14:13-14 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, (14) and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Timothy is also told that if we endure, being persistent in the pursuit of righteousness and resulting good deeds, we will also reign with Jesus in the Kingdom.

2Ti 2:11-13 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; (12) if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; (13) if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

Matthew records in the parable of the talents that those who are faithful in small things will be put in charge of many things, speaking of reigning with Christ in the Kingdom.

Mat 25:23 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

Paul also refers to the Messianic Kingdom in which the Lord's people will judge the world.

1Co 6:2 Or do you not know that the Lord's people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?

And finally, Jesus Himself says that He is coming to hand out rewards when He comes back.

Rev 22:12 "Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

Persevere and Hold On

Other writers were aware of the Bema Judgment and encourage us to pursue this Bema Judgment and encourage us to pursue the heavenly rewards and treasures with perseverance.

1Ti 6:18-19 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (19) In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

The writer to the Hebrews encourages confidence in our future, our reward is sure if we persevere.

Heb 10:35-36 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (36) You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

James also encourages us to persevere in well doing.

Jas 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

And finally John encourages us to hold on to what we already have, so no one can steal away our crowns.

Rev 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

Rewarded Saints

John, in the Revelation sees that the Bema Judgment takes place before the Wedding of the Lamb, as those taking place in the Wedding of the Lamb are have already received their wedding garments.

Rev 19:6-8 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. (7) Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. (8) Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God's holy people.)


Looking back at Mat 6:1 we can see that Jesus wanted His hearers to see the fullness of both the reality of rewards awaiting us in heaven, and the righteousness that will enable us to lay a hold of them. In the ensuing verses we shall examine the righteousness God will base His judgments on.

Matthew 6:2-4 - Give in Secret

Mat 6:2-4 "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. (3) But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, (4) so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Jesus begins this section by giving a list of things the Pharisees do to attract attention to themselves. In these verses He starts off by discussing giving.

Trumpets in Israel were used to gather the people for worship, to accompany their service and bringing sacrifices to the altar. There is no record of trumpet blowing accompanying giving, although it is possible. It is also possible that Jesus was using sarcasm to illustrate the ridiculousness of the Pharisees in even their behavior.

The point Jesus was making was that giving should be done in secret, and that rewards given at the Bema Judgment will depend upon their attitude in giving. The Pharisees love the praise of man more than praise from God, and so their reward was already given.

Joh 12:42-43 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; (43) for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

The disciples were taught to give in secret, and in so doing, lay up treasure in heaven.

Mat 6:19-20 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. (20) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Matthew 6:5-8 - Pray in Secret

Mat 6:5-8 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. (6) But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (7) And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. (8) Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Jesus continues the theme here of doing things in secret, with two reasons. The denial of self gratification in such matters brings about a change in character to increased Christ likeness, and their are heavenly rewards for doing so.

The point is that we should avoid the false motivation of self glorification. It is the motivation that is to be questioned, not the act of praying.

Jesus was not speaking against group prayers, but rather false motives.

Act 1:14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

Act 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

Jesus also warned against "babbling like pagans". In Jesus time, the pagans believed in many gods, and created idols of wood. The pagan would pray to the idols using vain repetition. The idols could not hear nor speak back.

When we pray to God we pray to a God that can both hear us and speak to us. We should speak to God intelligently and avoid nonsense repetitions.

Matthew 6:9-15 - The Lord's Prayer

Mat 6:9-15 "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, (10) your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (11) Give us today our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' (14) For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (15) But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

The Lord's Prayer is a sample, or example. It is not meant that we should repeat it word for word. It is an illustration of "speaking to God intelligently".

vs. 9 - "Our Father in heaven". Our prayer is to be personal and intimate, not empty ritual. We should address "our Father". We think of the Father as the leaders of the family, who protects and provides.

Heb 12:7-9 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? (8) If you are not disciplined--and everyone undergoes discipline--then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. (9) Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!

vs. 10 - "your Kingdom come" speaks to the coming kingdom. Even as this is written, the kingdom is still "at hand", and ready to be established should the Jewish people accept the King.

Mat 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

The Jewish people rejected the king, and the kingdom was ultimately put into abeyance.

Joh 19:15 But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.

Today, we are still to pray that Jesus's "kingdom come". The fact that the Jewish people rejected the King, and that it has not been established in the last 2000 years is certainly an indication that Jesus is not presently ruling on the earth. Although He has all power and authority to exercise that rule, His permissive will has allowed Satan to rule for a while.

Joh 19:11 a Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. ... "

We are also to pray that regardless of what we think, we should always pray that God's will be done. We has humans can think that we have the future all figured out, but the reality is that God is playing 1000 level chess. He is way ahead of us. We don't want to be found in a position where we are fighting against God.

Act 5:27-39 The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. (28) "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood." (29) Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than human beings!

(30) The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead--whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. (31) God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. (32) We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." (33) When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.

(34) But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. (35) Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men.

(36) Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. (37) After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered.

(38) Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. (39) But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

In the case of the kingdom, God's will was that salvation would come to the Gentiles.

Rom 11:11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.

So although we may know what God's will is, perhaps it is best if we end our prayers with "nevertheless, your will be done, Lord", because regardless of what we think, God is sovereign and His will will be done. Let us not be found opposed to His will.

vs. 11 - "give us our daily bread". The request to give us daily bread has to do with dependence upon God for daily sustenance to live on a continual basis.

Exo 16:14-15 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. (15) When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, "It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.

vs. 12 - "forgive us our debts" here refers to moral and religious as well as financial obligations. While with God we are responsible for moral and religious obligations, with our fellow man, this could refer to several categories of obligation.

The forgiveness of our debt to God is conditional upon the our forgiveness of those who are in debt to us. The context is not salvic, rather it has to do with being cleansed of daily sin that prevents fellowship.

So what is to be made of Christ's statement that we must forgive others to be forgiven ourselves? The point is related to our being like Christ. If Christ forgives, then we should forgive as well. It is reasonable to expect that if the Father forgives us from daily sin against Him, then we should also do the same.

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant illustrates this passage.

Mat 18:23-35 "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. (24) As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. (25) Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

(26) "At this the servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' (27) The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. (28) "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.

(29) "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.' (30) "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. (31) When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

(32) "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. (33) Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' (34) In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. (35) "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart."

vs. 13 - "lead us not into temptation". This passage seems at odds with passages like Jas 1:13, which state that "no one should say, "God is tempting me"". If God does not tempt us, then why should we ask Him not to lead us into temptation?

The previous verses spoke about forgiveness for sin, now this passage progresses to the request to be preserved from new sin.

Note that the passages from vs. 12-15 all have to do with the issue of forgiveness, and should be read that way. That leads us to the understanding that the context for vs. 13 is the subject of forgiveness. We are tempted to hold on to grudges and unforgiveness, indeed Satan would try to keep us from forgiving others, and thereby cut off our relationship with the Holy Spirit.

The prayer not to be led to temptation and delivery from the evil one is followed by "For", connecting vs 13 with vs 14-15.

vs. 14-15 - The concept of forgiving others as the Lord forgives us is brought out here, not as salvic forgiveness, but the daily offenses we commit against God's holiness and to each other. The purpose of this forgiveness accordingly is to restore to relationship to the Holy Spirit. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant brings this out, as the unforgiving servant is jailed and tortured.

Parables are metaphorical, and being jailed and tortured relates to giving ourselves over to Satan to be jailed and tortured until we forgive others and restore ourselves to the protection of Christ.

Matthew 6:16-18 - Fast in Secret

Mat 6:16-18 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. (17) But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, (18) so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

The description of the Pharisees and their fasting practices again illustrates the issues at hand. God looks to the motivations, not necessarily the acts. The Pharisees, as in the pericope about praying in secret, displayed their fasting with fanfare, because they liked the praises of man more than God, and in so doing gained their rewards here, and forfeited their future rewards.

When the follower of Christ is fasting, they should give the appearance that life is being lived normally, not drawing attention to oneself.

Remember that it is not the actions themselves that God values, praying, fasting, giving, etc. Rather it is the penitent humble heart that is tilted towards dependency on the Fathers mercy and grave and the Holy Spirit's transforming work in our minds. It is the personal character, who we are, that God values.

The more Christlike we are, the more rewards we are accrued. We must constantly evaluate our own motives when we are engaged in these activities.

Matthew 6:19-21 - Lay Up Treasure in Heaven

Mat 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. (20) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. (21) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In the continuing theme of receiving future rewards in heaven, Jesus gives further substantiation for the concept. Jesus is concerned here with attitudes and practices that would prevent His people from receiving all that He has for them.

Pro 28:22 The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them.

A part of Jesus's concern was that those He was teaching would understand and adopt the attitudes and practices that would accumulate rewards in heaven, but that when He left them, perhaps traveling to other cities they would forget what they learned and go back to their old ways.

When Jesus states that we should not store up treasures for ourselves on earth, He is speaking of hoarding stuff, and depending on material stuff for power, security and happiness. It is counter to the saying "He who dies with the most toys wins", a saying that supports the accumulation of physical things.

Jesus was not speaking against normal and wise stewardship of what we have. We are to make sensible provision for the future, planning ahead. He is speaking against covetousness, hoarding and always wanting more.

Pro 6:6-11 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! (7) It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, (8) yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. (9) How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? (10) A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-- (11) and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

The reasoning for Jesus's statement about laying up treasure in heaven is that the mind tends to focus on the things that we consider to be treasure. If our treasure is earthly, then our mind will be focused on earthly things. If our treasure is heavenly, then that is where our mind will be focused.

Col 3:1-2 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (2) Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Matthew 6:22-24 - The Healthy Eye

Mat 6:22-24 "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. (23) But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (24) "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Jesus now provides an illustration of how what we are focused on translates to our heart condition. Jesus uses the example of the eye, the gateway to the mind and compares it to our spiritual "eye". While we see physically with our physical eyes, we see spiritually with our spiritual eyes. We are taking in what we see. You see me in front of you with your physical eyes, and you "see" me spiritually as you hear the Word of God being explained to you.

If the spiritual eye is good, we have clear sight, understanding the Word of God and engaging in spirit filled works. We are of sound mind, healthy and generous. With this mindset, our lives will be useful for the Master. Our reward in heaven will be great.

If the spiritual eye is bad our sight will be limited, we have poor understanding of the Word of God, and we stray to works to satisfy self, and we are of an unhealthy and miserly mind. Our mind is consumed with evil. With this mindset our lives will be useless for the Master's purposes.

"How great is the darkness" speaks to both our lack here on earth as well as in the future when we stand before the Son of God, where our reward in heaven will be greatly diminished.

Jesus warns that we cannot divide our loyalties between accumulating treasure here on earth and in heaven. It just doesn't work that way, as the two strategies are in direct conflict with each other. Ultimately, our loyalty will move in one direction or the other, and our Master will be revealed for who it is. We should devote ourselves wholly to the Lord.

Matthew 6:25-34 - Don't Be Anxious

Mat 6:25-34 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? (26) Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (27) Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (28) "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. (29) Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (30) If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you--you of little faith? (31) So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (32) For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (33) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The "therefore" in vs. 25 continues this passage to the previous one. It seems that the thought being conveyed here, pursuing earthly treasure, can lead to anxiety with regards to daily provisions as we struggle to gain and protect wealth.

To be "anxious" implies to have extraordinary concerns and worries. Anxiety is beyond what we would normally consider to be action that is taken that is reasonable and prudent. It is a state of mind that is debilitating.

At issue here is the extraordinary fear of loosing daily needs, food, drink, and clothing, not the fear of loosing luxuries and extravagances. Perhaps the fear of becoming homeless and loosing a source of food, drink and clothing.

The source of this issue is the lack of faith in God's provision, and allowing fear to take over.

To encourage His readers, Jesus points out that our Lord provides for the birds and the flowers. The same God that takes care of these will take care of us. We should not worry about such things.

In vs. 33 we have the conditions for our assurance that God will take care of us.

Jesus tells the people He is speaking to that what they need to do is "Seek first his kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."

This is important to understand. God cannot bless His people if His people reject His care. Jesus stated that to accept His care we are to actively seek His kingdom and His righteousness.

In light of the exhortation to seek His kingdom and righteousness, if we do that, then we have no justification for worries, for He will supply all our needs. The counsel being provided here is that we should be busy about doing God's work and living righteous and moral lives. If we do that than we have not need to worry over our daily needs of food, drink and clothing.

No comments:

Post a Comment