In teaching us to pray, our Lord asked us to ask our Father in Heaven for provision on Earth. We see two dimensions of our God in this prayer directory. We see the powerful Governor of the Universe and we see the Benevolent God. These two dimensions are brought to bear on the most mundane of requests – food! We shall soon see why.
The directives of the Lord’s Prayer finds consanguinity in the company of an iconic psalm, Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd,” the psalmist declared, with exclamatory delight. The Amplified translation of that passage brings us the rich content of those famous words: “The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.” AMP
Through this Amplified translation we see the same merger of the two dimensions of God as in the Lord’s Prayer. We see God as Lord and potentate of the Universe, and we see God the benevolent One. Psalm 23 and The Lord’s Prayer are very much in sync.
Now, in the Lord’s Prayer, right after Jesus told us to ask God for food, he proceeds to instruct us in the next verse to ask God to deliver us from evil. Strange! The rendering of the first line of Psalm 23 in the Amplified Bible follows the same direction: “The Lord is my Shepherd [TO FEED, guide, AND SHIELD ME], I shall not lack.” Provision and protection are linked in God’s word. The God who feeds us protects us. He also guides us in our decisions and directions Psalm 23 says. God is three in one for us: the provider and sustainer; our guide and counselor; our hedge and protection. You have no need of another god. God is all sufficient. He’ll feed you, guide you, protect you.
In Genesis 17:1 God revealed himself to Abraham as El Shaddai – the all sufficient one. Psalm 23 essentially tells us we have a covenant with the all sufficient God who is the sufficiency of his saints. God is your sufficiency. The Lord is your shepherd: you shall not lack for food, for guidance and protection. And we soon see why provision is linked to protection in the belly of Psalm 23: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” David declared. Psalm 23:5.
The reality of this verse is that when God makes generous provision, enemies abound. When God honours, enemies arise. It’s why you need God’s protection. The God who honours, protects. Our main adversary is the evil one – Satan. He walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour. 1 Peter. 5:8. Our work is God’s primary channel of provision. Apostle Paul established the link between food and work in these words: “He that does not work should not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Laziness is anti Christianity. You MUST work!
So adamant is the teaching of God against laziness that Paul is vociferous and insistent. Listen to him: “Our orders – backed up by the Master, Jesus – are to refuse to have anything to do with those among you who are lazy and refuse to work the way we taught you. Don’t permit them to freeload on the rest. We showed you how to pull your weight when we were with you, so get on with it. We didn’t sit around on our hands expecting others to take care of us. In fact, we worked our fingers to the bone, up half the night moonlighting so you wouldn’t be burdened with taking care of us. And it wasn’t because we didn’t have a right to your support; we did. We simply wanted to provide an example of diligence, hoping it would prove contagious.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6-9 MSG.
Paul didn’t stop there. He has some choice words for freeloaders: “Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately – no excuses, no arguments – and earn their own keep. If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don’t let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he’ll think twice.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15 MSG.
A freeloading spirit is NOT the Spirit of Christ. Get a job if you have no job! To state you’re “looking for a job” is not a viable excuse. That often means “I don’t have the ideal job.” What the Bible teaches is that WHATSOEVER your hand FINDS TO DO, do with your might. Ecclesiastes 9:10. The Message translation is so fresh and direct: “WHATEVER TURNS UP, GRAB IT AND DO IT. And heartily!” What God is looking for is FAITHFULNESS in little. Then He has a basis for righteous promotion. While we hope for the ideal job we must keep our hands occupied with whatever job is available. The Bible says not working is laziness. Laziness impoverishes. “Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.” Proverbs10:4 NLT. Fasting for riches, “confessing” wealth, without commensurate hard work is shamanism. God’s prosperity formula is diligence and hard work. “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” Proverbs13:4 NLT. Lazy people are full of excuses: “The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road! Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”
As a door swings back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed. Lazy people take food in their hand but don’t even lift it to their mouth. Pro.26:13-15 NLT.
“Dreamers fantasize their self-importance; they think they are smarter than a whole college faculty.” Proverbs 26:16 MSG. How true! A lazy man has a new million dollar scheme every so often. He thinks he’s smart! He can’t see anything through – can’t lift the fork to his mouth – no matter how promising.
God demands hard work from us. “Give us this day our daily bread” is not a prayer for the lazy. It is a call to diligence. If you’ll like to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour please pray this prayer: “Father I acknowledge I’m a sinner. Please forgive me. I accept Jesus as Lord over my life. Amen.
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org