Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 30, 2019

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 12:22-32.

“And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat;  nor for your body, as to what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap;  they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them;  how much more valuable you are than the birds!  And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?  If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?  Consider the lilies, how they grow:  they neither toil nor spin;  but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you?  You men of little faith!  And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying.  For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek;  but your Father knows that you need these things.  But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.  Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:22-32.

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There are two very similar threads of logic being taught by Jesus.  First, if God takes cares of a less important beings (such as birds), then it makes logical sense that God will also take care of the more important beings (such as humans).  Second, if God our Father provides what is most important (“the kingdom” a/k/a salvation), then it makes logical sense that God will also provide what is less important (such as food and clothing).

But, there are also two very different levels of care taught by Jesus.  There is the general level of care provided to all creatures on earth, and there is the level of care provided to just His children.

First, generally to all, God does provide food and clothing in the sense that God  “… causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”  Matthew 5:45.  This does not mean that God loves everyone or shows favor or grace to everyone.

“9 You visit the earth and cause it to overflow;
You greatly enrich it;
The stream of God is full of water;
You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth.
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
You settle its ridges,
You soften it with showers,
You bless its growth.
11 You have crowned the year with Your bounty,
And Your paths drip with fatness.
12 The pastures of the wilderness drip,
And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing.
13 The meadows are clothed with flocks
And the valleys are covered with grain;
They shout for joy, yes, they sing.”  Psalm 65:9-13.

“7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
Sing praises to our God on the lyre,
8 Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who provides rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
9 He gives to the beast its food,
And to the young ravens which cry.
10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The LORD favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.”  Psalm 147:7-10

Second, specifically to God’s elect, God provides much more:  “the kingdom”, righteousness and every other spiritual blessing, food, clothing, and everything else that is good, because they are His children.  Thus, we see Jesus describe God as “your Father” in this second level of care.  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”  Verse 32.  God, as a faithful Father to His elect, shows love, favor, and grace to His elect causing all the good things that He provides for His elect to work out for their good.  Even those things that many people consider bad, such as suffering, God causes those things to work out for the good of His elect.  See Romans 5:3-5.

It is this second level of care that the following Heidelberg Catechism Question and Answer section and the following Scriptures pertain.

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.

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?  Romans 8:32.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called;  and these whom He called, He also justified;  and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”  Romans 8:28-30.

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  Psalm 84:11.

“8 O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
9 O fear the LORD, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no want.
10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.”  Psalm 34:8-10.

“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 7:11.


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