Saturday, April 06, 2024

2024.04.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 6:25–34

Read Matthew 6:25–34

Questions from the Scripture text: How does the beginning of Matthew 6:25 relate it to what precedes? How does verse 25 correspond to the beginnings of Matthew 5:22, Matthew 5:28, Matthew 5:32, Matthew 5:34, Matthew 5:39, Matthew 5:44? What does Jesus tell them not to do? What, cumulatively, aren’t they to worry about? What four specific things aren’t they to worry about? What does He command them to do in Matthew 6:26? At what are they supposed to look? What don’t these birds do (hm… why not)? But who feeds them? Whose Father is He? How do birds command to humans, let alone saints? What attribute of God guarantees that He will respond rightly (hint hint) to this? What attribute of themselves makes their worrying nonsensical (Matthew 6:27)? Which worry does Matthew 6:28 now take up? What does He tell them to do? What, specifically, are they to consider? What about the lilies? What don’t they do (hm… why not)? To whom does he compare them (Matthew 6:29)? How well are the lilies dressed? Who clothes these lilies (Matthew 6:30)? What happens to them (verse 30)? Whom is He much more certain to clothe so well? What three questions does Jesus forbid worrying over in Matthew 6:31? Who worries over those questions (Matthew 6:32)? But Who knows about these needs? What is His location/power? What is His relation to us? What does Matthew 6:33 command us to seek? How does this relate to Matthew 6:20Matthew 6:24? What things (cf. Matthew 6:25-31) will be added to them (and serving what purpose)? By what shift in phrasing does Matthew 6:34 apply this to the totality of life? What does each day need a sufficient amount of? 

What difference does treasuring God make in daily life? Matthew 6:25–34 prepares us for the morning sermon on the Lord’s Day. In these ten verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that treasuring God demolishes worrying.

On account of treasuring God…Matthew 6:25. The “therefore” in verse 25 is stronger than usual. It means “on account of this.” On account of what? On account of the fact that God is our treasure, our mammon, that in which we place our hope, so that which we love, and that for which we slave. As our Hope, He is our Everything. On account of this, says verse 25, do not worry about your life!

Don’t worry! Matthew 6:25. The first prohibition is quite comprehensive: no worrying about your whole existence. He uses the word for “soul.” Indeed, each of us ought to have a care for our soul; it would be sinful not to! Indeed, it would be sinful not to steward our bodies, as well. But we are not to worry, not to be anxious, about anything in life!

It is worth noting the particulars to which the Lord Jesus then moves: food, drink, clothing. These are not small things! Obviously, He is not talking to those who have a reliable, secure source of these things, but to those for whom these things are in doubt. And it is to these that He says don’t worry! Perhaps you have been in this situation, or even are in it now, or will be in the future. Do not worry, even in this condition—especially in this condition. One of the takeaways for your author and most of his readers is that God’s material providence to us is very different than it has been to so many of His saints through the ages.

Life is about God, Matthew 6:25. The rhetorical question at the end of verse 25 is extremely understated. We have just heard what our life is about. Our life is about having God Himself as our Reward (Matthew 6:18-24)! What a comparison to say that He is “more than food and clothing”! Indeed, dear saint, what is there that you could worry about that is worth comparing to the value of having Him Himself?!

What to meditate upon, Matthew 6:26-30. There is a command to meditate here in Matthew 6:26 and Matthew 6:28. First, “look,” and then more emphatically, “consider.” In other words, the Lord doesn’t just care for birds and flowers because they are His creatures. He does so for your consideration. It is His children that He most cares about! The rhetorical question at the end of Matthew 6:26 is also quite understated—comparing the value of a bird (cf. Matthew 10:29) and even a saint! And the lilies are burned without a second thought (Matthew 6:30). 

This is why, of course, birds don’t sow or reap or gather, and lilies don’t toil or spin. They weren’t created to plan and labor, and enjoy the fruit of labor, as images of the Creator! How great is your privilege by comparison to these! One might grievously read this in his flesh with envy, “they don’t have to work.” He would miss the greatness of God’s goodness to him. And in missing the greatness in being an image-bearer, he would miss out on the confidence to which this passage urges us in God’s goodness to us. 

So Jesus tells us to dwell upon the fact that the One Who feeds them is our heavenly Father. He is almighty God, and we are His own dear children. We are to look out on an entire creation in which God is working, and we are to ponder that He is doing all of that for us. Whatever clothing we need, whatever drink we need, whatever food we need, He will surely give it to us. It is so obvious, so sure, so good, so glorious… that the fact that we so often miss this reality does show us how little our faith is. But, praise God, the implication in Jesus’s command to “look” and “consider” is that these are means of His grace to increase and strengthen our little faith!

Worrying as a “treasuring” issue, Matthew 6:31-33. As we come to Matthew 6:31, the command not to worry crescendos, repeated here and again in Matthew 6:34Matthew 6:31 presents questions that we may wonder about but mustn’t worry about. Nations (Gentiles, Matthew 6:32) here means especially those who do not know God. The word “seek” implies treasuring like that of Matthew 6:19-21. They treasure food and drink and clothing, because that is what they have their confidence in. It is their mammon, and therefore their master (cf. Matthew 6:24).

But rather than be anxious, we ought to pray. The Lord Jesus takes us back to Matthew 6:8 with the reminder, “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” And truly, prayer is the Bible antidote for worry (cf. Philippians 4:6–7), as it brings us directly into the meditation that Jesus has been commanding.

If Matthew 6:32 takes us back to Matthew 6:8Matthew 6:33 takes us back to Matthew 6:20. We know what treasure we are to seek: God Himself, and that glory of His that is displayed both in His own display of Himself in righteousness, and in making us holy that we may enter into the full enjoyment of Him (cf. Hebrews 12:11, Hebrews 12:14). This is what is meant by seeking first “His kingdom and His righteousness.” 

Trusting Him Who is our treasure, Matthew 6:34. And, indeed, as Hebrews 12 teaches, our heavenly Father knows what He is doing with His children (cf. Hebrews 12:9–10), even and especially in giving us just the right amount of discipline. He knows how much trouble to assign to each day. Don’t borrow future trouble by worrying about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34); tomorrow’s portion of trouble is correct for that day, not this one.

What are you tempted to worry about? What do you need to remember about the purpose of your life? What meditation/consideration can help? When/how do you (or will you do) that? What needs to be your treasure? Who is making sure that you get it? What are some (possibly unpleasant) ways that He brings you into that treasure?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You that You lovingly, faithfully, wisely shepherd us until we have come all the way home into our full enjoyment of You. Grant that we might be more holy, so that we might be more happy in You, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The LORD’s My Shepherd” or TPH467 “Cast Down, O God, the Idols”

No comments:

Post a Comment