Posted by: The Simple Guy | August 7, 2010

Your Father Knows What You Need

I was thinking about the Sermon on the Mount, in Matt 5,6, and 7.   What if the sermon ended with chapter 5?

Mat 5:48 ESV
(48)  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Might be a bit problematic, don’t you think?

Jesus began by saying:

Mat 5:3-5 ESV
(3)  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(4)  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
(5)  “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Poor in spirit” isn’t about worldly goods.  It is about being absolutely bankrupt before God, when looking at my own righteousness.  Chapter 5 does a good job of pointing out to me how absolutely bankrupt I am in this regard.  I thought I was just supposed to avoid murder, adultery, you know . . the “Big 10.  But here I find that just having a bad attitude puts me in violation of murder.  A lustful thought puts me in violation of adultery.  And if I do this, I must pluck out my eye, or cut off my hand, or get rid of the offending part.  But my eye just did what my heart told it to do.  So what is the real offending part?  My heart.  Oh, my . . reminds me of Romans:

Rom 7:24 ESV
(24)  Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Yes, Matthew 5 leaves me bankrupt.  But Jesus said my righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, He said I must be perfect as the Father is perfect!

Chapter 6 opens by reminding me not to parade my righteous acts before men.  (They really seem hollow and absurd when seen in light of chapter 5)

He speaks of how we are to approach God.  Don’t pray as a show for others, it isn’t a show for them.  Don’t turn it into a meaningless ritual.  Why?

Mat 6:8 ESV
(8)  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

I start to see a glimmer of hope in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer, in chapter 6.

Mat 6:12-13 ESV
(12)  and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(13)  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

What?  Did I see forgiveness and deliverance?!

Then he turns our focus from here to Heaven.

Mat 6:19-23 ESV
(19)  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
(20)  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(21)  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(22)  “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,
(23)  but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Then he explains that we cannot serve both this world and God.  He points to the birds and the grass.  Both cared for by God, neither as special to God as we are.  So:

Mat 6:31-32 ESV
(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.

Twice he has pointed out that our Father knows what we need.  When my eyes are not on this world (when I am not serving this world) I remember what my true need is.  I need a new heart!

Mat 6:33 ESV
(33)  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

That’s right, His righteousness, not my phony hollow external show.  I need His righteousness!

Chapter 7 goes right into speaking about holiness.  I’m not to puff out my chest and point to others’ shortcomings.  I have plenty of my own.  I am not the judge, I am bankrupt!  I am guilty!  I need a new heart!  The log needs removed from my own eye first!  But HOW??!!

There must be some penance I must do, some act of restoration, some . . . but what?  I’m BANKRUPT!!

Mat 7:7-11 ESV
(7)  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
(8)  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
(9)  Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
(10)  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
(11)  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Did he really say “GIVEN”?  Not earned?  But why?

Because HE is our FATHER!  Father’s give their children what they need, not what they deserve.

Remember, it said “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness”  and now it says all who seek will find!

Then he warns us of those who would abuse us, who don’t have our best in mind.  Wolves in sheep’s clothing.  People who appear to have righteousness, but are driven by their appetites.

Finally, he says those who listen and obey what he has just taught will be like the man who built his house on the rock.  But those who do not listen and obey will be like those who built on the sand.  Those who build on the rock will weather the storm, but those who don’t will be destroyed.  What is the foundation of this teaching?

I am bankrupt.

He is not.

Ask and receive.

It’s that simple.

Just in case we didn’t understand, he illustrates it on the way down the mountain.

A leper (unclean by the law – untouchable)  comes to Jesus and says:

Mat 8:2 ESV
(2)  And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”

Remember, according to the law, this man could not be touched.  If  I touch him, I become unclean as well.

Mat 8:3 ESV
(3)  And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

But it wasn’t me touching him.  Jesus touched him.  And he was cleansed.

And this cleansing passed the legal muster when the man went to the priest.  It met the righteous demands of the law.

So to sum up:

I am hopelessly bankrupt.  But He knows that.  All I have to say is:

“Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”

His answer will always be:

“I will; be clean.”

Eze 36:26 ESV
(26)  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

He knew before I asked!

Craig

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Responses

  1. Our Lord is generous. And He is good.

  2. Craig,

    What wonderful, fear-destrioying words to hear…… “I will, be thou whole.”


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