“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
Paul has just spent the previous 3 chapters, 86 verses, discussing Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, and what that means, to them and to Gentiles. In much of these 86 verses, you hear Paul’s heart breaking for his people…and it is in THAT context that he praises God.
APPLICATION…Can you praise God when your heart is broken…for your loved ones, for your nation? Can you praise God when you are broken through being laid off, being divorced? Can you praise God when brokenness comes because of sin, that you let get out of hand, that you “hid” from God, that you lied to a loved one about?
Pray Paul’s prayer with me, applying it and using our own words where appropriate… Father, the depth of Your riches, of Your wisdom, and of Your knowledge…Oh Lord they are too wonderful, too overwhelming to me. And yet, it is THAT wisdom and knowledge of the riches You have given me, through Your Son, that allows me to approach You in praise, in the midst of my brokenness. Lord, I praise You for I don’t need to know exactly how You plan to work, I don’t need others to give You “advice” as they pray, for I trust You. In fact it is foolish for me to think You owe me any explanation. I trust and know that You do ALL things, and they are all done for Your glory, Amen.
I was up early this morning talking to the Lord about upcoming events and then wrote the following to the Lord, about 3:00 am, I said, “Lord, I want a new memory verse, but I think that I will go back to those I have already memorized.”
And in looking for that memory verse I came across Matthew 6:34, but then I thought about Matthew 6:33-34, and then I started looking back further and further, for foundational context.
The more I looked back into the passage, the more I saw how Christ was using His previous words to lay the foundation for what He was going to say about worry…and then I saw it, the connection between fasting and worry…and not a “good” connection.
At the time of this writing, in my notes, I still didn’t know what I’m going to memorize, but I loved seeing this truth from the Sermon on the Mount.
If you want to read it ALL in context, go to Matthew 6:16-34 and read it in the NASB. It’ll take a few minutes, but it is worth it. Here are my notes from this morning:
I don’t think I ever noticed this before, but in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus discusses fasting, to set up His discussion about worry. He describes the person fasting, and fasting in a way that gets “their reward here on earth” (Matthew 6:16), their “treasure.” He is talking about the Pharisees who liked everyone to see their sorrow, like, unfortunately, so many people today, who give their prayer requests, for the purpose of allowing others to see their sorrow. The are, forgive me, simply having a gloomy pity party!
As I think about it, I realize that often, no, OFTEN, people share their prayer requests in a way that “demonstrates” to themselves (and they think to others), that they have a right to worry about their situation
I suppose one’s motivation (and only they can deal with that) gives away whether or not they are seeking accuracy in prayer, or if they just want everyone to know every detail of their problem. In this case, their motivation is “getting their reward here on earth” which, is no different than that Pharisee. Jesus then directly compares this action, gaining pity, as storing up an earthly treasure (Matthew 6:19).
Jesus then goes on to talk about the reasons we do not have to worry. You can read all of the reasons you don’t have to worry (Matthew 6:20-32), and in reality, you will see that you already know them.
But here’s the key, verse 33, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…It’s counter intuitive isn’t it? Jesus is saying that instead of worrying about this which you are praying about, instead of focusing on that “terrible” prayer request, we are to focus on, seeking His kingdom, and His righteousness. It truly is counter intuitive.
What is Jesus saying? Simply this, take the focus off yourself! And THEN He says in Matthew 6:34, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself, each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Wow, you know what? Because He is sovereign, because His throne is above the heavens (Psalm 103:19), I really don’t have to worry, do I? And neither do you my friend.
I need to make two notes here:
I am not saying that church isn’t where we are to bring our prayer requests, or that we are not to sorrow, especially in church. This IS one of the GREAT characteristics of church…just check your motivation.
Don’t judge! You may hear one’s prayer request and label them a Pharisee. You can’t do that, rather, help them, encourage them, cry with them, as Jesus did in John 11:35 just a few verses before He brought Lazarus back to life.