Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 22
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:6:1-4 Giving to the Needy
We were introduced at the beginning of this sermon to some key benchmarks that God was willing to bless and how they related to a collected body of "Salt" or "Light" that God was going to influence through His Son towards an exceeding type of righteousness; the influence of which would make for something that could not be duplicated by any self manufactured attempt minus Christ. We have seen the inner workings of this by several previous vantage points. Today we go deeper into the prayer life of these highly influenced saints and the environment the place each other in.
What is God doing?
If a man was not poor of spirit he would either think that he was already meeting the mark or else that the mark did not matter. The poor of spirit has that advantage that not only does he know himself to be missing the mark and that the mark truly matters, but that his hunger and thirst for righteousness drives him deeper into a reliance upon Christ's substitutionary meeting of the mark and Christ's spiritual influence to transform and strengthen him toward the mark.
Jesus is using various aspects of the law and traditions that would be important to His Jewish audience to show how easy it is to miss the mark in each area, likely at the very time one thought that they were nailing it. HE is using extremes such as hypocrite showcasing his prayer before all to be seen by them (which not everyone consciously does), but our missing of the mark has many graduated levels and directions to it that make everyone of us culpable. If to be short in this area and that and the other then to be short in all areas and all various degrees. Jesus could just as easily make examples of our failings in the modern culture by things intended most important to us
The important thing that Jesus makes frequent mention of is of our Father seeing/knowing all things. HE knows all thing done in public and all things done in secret. HE knows their reasons/intentions and motives. There is nothing HE does not already know. As we can see, the motives behind our actions are a very important factor in HIS/His judgment.
The other thing stated by Jesus is that the Father knows what things we are in need of before we ask HIM. The implication seems to be that even though HE knows what we need that it is important to HIM that we first ask. It is later said that many believers lack because they have not asked. It can also be supposed that when we do ask that we are still grandstanding in front of others else we are asking for something that HE has deemed as a violation of HIS holy and parental character or will.
- There are some other points to consider regarding what God is doing:
- Thy kingdom - HE is working to fully establish a kingdom under HIS Son's rule having destroyed the works of the Devil and redeemed a people unto Himself.
- Thy will - HIS will all along has been to present HIS Son with a love gift of HIS creation. HE knows what that gift is to look like and how best to make HIS current materials so.
- Give - HE is a giving God especially to HIS Son and HIS Son's soon to be bride. We have also seen HIM bestow a type of general grace upon all men during this time of establishment.
- Forgive/forgive not - We see HIS forgiveness based upon whether we ourselves are willing to forgive others.
- Deliver - There is no temptation too strong to hold us that HE cannot lead us through and out of.
We should also take notice that HE is allowing us to call HIM Father. HE has never done that except now because of His Son and HIS Son's adopted. Until the Son man did not/could not know the Father and that only to those whom the Father has revealed the Son. There is no need of calling the God whom we did not know Father, in fact doing so would have been improper. (see filter:OT Father and index:NAMESOF_ God )
What is man doing?
They are praying to various degrees and extremes all of which are corrupted. For this example it is as "the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men". Many other examples of our corruption could be made as well such as using "vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking". It is also being identified that men could be praying from a position of unforgiveness which corrupts our prayers just as well, and to that might we also add that because of in effective prayer we continue to struggle with temptation and trespasses.
Prayer is an open communication between God and one's self. It is best prayed from a position of a poor spirit/mourning/meekness/purity/hunger and thirst for righteousness/peacemaking/willingness to even be persecuted etc...; our benchmarks from the introduction. Without such position, prayer becomes whatever the corrupted heart wants to make out of it.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
So Jesus presents a model prayer for us to consider (not to robotically mimic). Remember that what Matthew has yet to mention is Jesus' insistence that He will have to die for the sins of man in order then to correct man and bring him back into a restored fellowship with the Father, of these sins He will suffer for are the sins of corrupted prayer just like the sins of murder or adultery. Many of the other world religious will attempt to understand this sermon without placing the proper meaning on what Jesus will have still to do in order to make it happen.
- After this manner therefore pray ye:
- "Hallowed be thy name/For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever"
- "Thy kingdom come"
- "Thy will be done"
- "Give us this day our daily bread"
- "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors"
- "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"
All prayer must come from and remain in a state of absolute reverence. While we are allowed as adopted son's and daughters in Christ to call upon God as Father, God the Father still carries all the respect and incompatible majesty as does HIS as "God our God" "The one and only" "The strong and mighty" etc... Father though signifies what HE HIMSELF has accomplished on our behalf by HIS Son.
The purpose and goal of all that God has undertaken is not so that we can one day operate in our own dreamy personal safe place far from harm and sinful others and death. Rather, the vision is of a much broader highly structured and connected massive kingdom of billions of like hearted redeemed saints.
It is as if in our corrupted forms of prayer we are asking God to do our will. Perhaps in order to get HIM to do that we will throw in a couple quick and meaningless obediences to make HIS decision a little easier. This in no way is the same as thy will being done.
It is an insult to the sacrifice Jesus made (symbolically signified by the Last Supper) giving His flesh as bread and blood as wine for our spiritual sustenance to petition for our daily physical sustenance without accepting His greater heaven sent "manna".
Our sin debt can not be paid by us, it is too great and we ourselves do not possess that type of currency. You could imagine your sense of outrage if some one that owed you a considerable amount simply forgave themselves of the debt that they owed you or they paid you back with a couple copper pennies when they owed you a pallet of gold bars figuring that you would simply get over it. No, God paid a substantial price to redeem us from our eternal damnation; it is not a price that we can simply sign a waiver on and pay back to HIM by our own device and means.
If HE were to lead us into temptation it would be to allow us the course we have set our own selves to follow. HE could just stand back and let the consequences of what we've determined all of which are harmful and tempting and let it happen. God tempts no man and HE has delivered us via the obedience and faith of Jesus.
You can see that no where in this model prayer is there much room for prayer as it is commonly made. This prayer follows right along with the continuous sermon thread of there being an exceeding righteousness to which the followers of Christ must willingly/cheerfully be subscribed. The spiritual concepts and benefit behind it are true for both the individual and for the Church at large.
Next: devotion:Matthew:6:16-18 Fasting