Matthew 46 Reading

Matthew 6:24-34

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

A few thoughts for meditation:

1) “Isn’t life more than food?” Think about that. What is life really all about? What is the chief end of man? It is only to eat and drink and dress? Or are these things merely basic means to a much higher purpose?

2) Notice the argument from lesser to greater in the way that Jesus explained the “value” the Father has for his people. He appealed twice to examples in nature. God provides food to birds who do not labor at all in the food growing process, and clothes the seasonal grass with beautiful lilies. These are examples of what some might call divine inefficiency or wastefulness on God’s part since he devotes such detailed attention and provision to seemingly insignificant creatures. And if God can lavishly provide for such minor creatures, how much more will he care for those he has chosen to redeem and adopt into his own family and give up his own Son to save?

3) Three times, Jesus said, “do not be anxious”. After reading these promises of Jesus, are you still anxious about basic needs? Why or why not?

4) If God is a caring “Father” committed to giving his adopted children exactly what their bodies need when they need it, shouldn’t this liberate us to work for a higher calling than just the need of our bodies? Confident that God will meed our basic needs, we can plunge ourselves into seeking “his kingdom and his righteousness”, seeking to advance his saving power in our souls, and working to advance his saving power into the lives of others. Our minds can only focus on one thing at a time. The more time we waste on “anxious” thoughts about things God has already taken care of, the less time we have to focus on his kingdom and our higher priorities.

Psalm 46 Reading

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

A few thoughts for meditation:

1) In what sort of situations does God promise to be a refuge for his people? (vs. 2-3, 6)

2) What is the result of the fact that God is in our “midst” and “with us”? (vs. 4-5, 8-9, 11)

3) In ancient times, when a people were under siege in a fortress, one main concern was running out of water. But in this psalm, God is not only “with us” and our “fortress”, but he is an abundant “river” and “streams” for us to drink. In what ways does God provide for us us when we are surrounded by trouble?

4) God is sovereign over all things and has promised be be present, protect, and provide for his people. So when trouble comes, how does God call us to respond? (vs. 2, 10)

Psalm 23 Reading

Psalm 23:1-6

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

A few thoughts for meditation:

1) Do you consciously think about the Lord as your personal shepherd and yourself as his sheep? Do you trust him to provide for your needs and carefully lead you through the many trials that come?

2) David used the covenant name, “LORD” (Yahweh) for God here. In covenant of grace, God voluntarily bound himself and all that he is to you and your salvation. His infinite presence, power, wisdom, righteousness, and goodness etc. are all channeled to support you through the necessary trials of this life and prepare you for glory with him. Does the fact that such a God is always “with you” (whether you feel it or not) fortify you in the face of trouble and adversity? If it doesn’t, then why?

3) Think of dwelling in the house of the Lord “forever” at the end of our journey. What does “forever” mean? How should that fact help our perspective on the troubles we face now?

Devotional Guide This Week (March 23-28)

Memory Verse for the Week:

Proverbs 18:10-11 10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. 11 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.

Daily Scripture Readings

  • Day 1 Psalm 23
  • Day 2 Psalm 46
  • Day 3 Matthew 6:24-34
  • Day 4 Matthew 14:13-36
  • Day 5 John 10:14-30

Hymns of the Week (from Trinity Hymnal):

  • Hymn 87, The Lord’s my Shepherd (by Francis Rous & William Mure)

1 The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want; He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; he leadeth me, The quiet waters by.

2 My soul he doth restore again; And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness, E’en for his own name’s sake.

3 Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale, Yet will I fear none ill,
For thou art with me; and thy rod, And staff me comfort still.

4 My table thou hast furnished In presence of my foes;
My head thou dost with oil anoint, And my cup overflows.

5 Goodness and mercy all my life, Shall surely follow me:
And in God’s house for evermore, My dwelling place shall be.

  • Hymn 521, My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less (by Edward Mote)

1 My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Refrain: On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

2 When darkness veils his lovely face, I rest on his unchanging grace;
in ev’ry high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. [Refrain]

3 His oath, his covenant, his blood support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay. [Refrain]

4 When he shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in him be found,
dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. [Refrain]