Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 9, 2018

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 6:25-34.

“25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink;  nor for your body, as to 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, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?  27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  28 And why are you worried about clothing?  Observe how the lilies of the field grow;  they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?  You of little faith!  31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things;  for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “So do not worry about tomorrow;  for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:25-34.

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Other doctrine likes to focus on man and what man does or what man should do.  Accordingly, other doctrine focuses on verse 33 and ignores the rest of this Scripture, because other doctrine can misrepresent verse 33 as all about man’s doing and can try to put control of man’s fate in man’s hands as paraphrased by my words:  “If you do this, then you can get that.”

But, Reformed Doctrine focuses on God and Who God is and what God does.

First, God is the Creator Who takes care of His creation.  We see this in verses 26 and 28-30.  We also see it else where in Scripture.  See Psalm 104:10-30 of which I only quote part of it below.

“10 He sends forth springs in the valleys;
They flow between the mountains;
11 They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
They lift up their voices among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.

14 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,
15 And wine which makes man’s heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man’s heart.”  Psalm 104:10-15.

Second, God is the Heavenly Father Who will do even “much more” for His children.  “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?” Verse 26.  “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?  …”  Verse 30.

“Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”  Matthew 7:9-11.

In summary, we see this focus on Who God is as the reason why we should not be anxious in the Heidelberg Catechism.  Notice how the following Question and Answer refers to both God as the Creator and God as the Heavenly Father.

“Q. 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

A.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;  who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father;  on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body;  and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage;  for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.  Heidelberg Catechism.

In conclusion, if Jesus emphasizes that the birds do not earn the care that God gives them, and yet God cares for them, then why do we try to emphasize what we do as the reason why God will care for us?!  “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?”  Verse 26.


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