Heidelberg Catechism Q.125

Q.125. What does the fourth request mean?

A. Give us today our daily bread means:  Do take care of all our physical needs so that we come to know that you are the only source of everything good, and that neither our work and worry nor your gifts can do us any good without your blessing.  And so help us to give up our trust in creatures and to put trust in you alone.


Read Psalm 115.  Have you ever considered why believers are urged to pray for their physical nourishment?  This psalm is an amazing declaration that idolatry is useless and leads to death but that only those who truly worship God can live.  And the final verses expand this declaration stating, “The dead cannot praise the Lord.”  Truly this applies to the spiritually dead as much as to the physically dead.  If God’s kingdom is to advance in the world and his will is going to be done on earth, then he desires to have living subjects.  Therefore, God alone is responsible for providing for all we need to live in a physical universe.


Nature reminds us of God’s caring hands.  He provides food for the birds, shelter for the animals, rest for the bear, water for the plants.  Nature is a testament to God’s continual provision of needs.  Therefore, we pray that God’s concern for the world would extend to us his greatest creatures.  Read Psalm 104.


When we pray for our physical needs we are reminded of God’s greatness and his goodness.  He is the great provider, the wonderful giver of life.  Not only does man need bread to live, but he or she also needs joy, friendship, encouragement, satisfaction and ultimately forgiveness and new life.  When we come to recognize that God meets all our physical needs, then we will also come to realize that the greater needs also come from him too.  Read Acts 14:8-17 and 17:16-28.


What good is it to have all the treasures of the world if one hasn’t the blessing of God?  There is no good in such a life; in fact the psalms repeatedly declare that God’s blessing is better than physical comfort.  Pray for a greater understanding of his blessing as you ask for the needs of this life.  Read Psalms 37:16, 127:1-2.


The ultimate purpose of the 4th petition is to focus all our trust and hope in God alone.  He is the one who provides all we need.  Our jobs, families, or governments can’t meet our needs, only God can.  This is a great truth that every believer must learn or else he will face great disappointment and frustration with his fellow brothers and sisters.  Read Psalm 55.


Drawing from Psalm 1, Jeremiah reminds the people that true blessing comes from God and his care for creation, of which every believer is a part.  Let us grow in our trust towards God, asking him for all that we need and thanking him when we receive it.  Read Jeremiah 17:5-8.

About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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