Give us day by day our daily bread.
Now consider how many movements not under human control are necessary in order to secure the simple bread of a single child in the household of God on earth. Think of the large plans of God's providence which the putting of the loaf on the table implies. The word "providence" means "foresight." To provide is pro-video, to "see before." What forethought the Father has had I what a long way He can see ahead! It is well that we have such a Father to think for us and to look ahead for us. I remember a striking passage in the Rev. William Arthur's "Fernley Lecture" which illustrates this truth with much philosophic precision and fulness. I cannot forbear quoting a sentence or two. "Our corn sprouts in direct dependence on a world distant from ours by millions and tens of millions of miles; and whether water or wind drives the mill that grinds the corn, the water runs and the wind blows immediately under the influence of sun and moon, which, so far as we know, have within their own bounds no miller waiting to grind, and no eater asking for bread. This order between sun and fields evidently is not ordained to terminate with the fields; but is aimed at a point farther on, where order must be kept up between them and beings of fragile mould, who can exist only by virtue of complex harmonies being sustained between themselves and the earth and the sun." "He that would if he could, crib and confine all human thought within the human sphere is forced by a question of bread to confess that the wheels which grind for the children of men their corn, are all turning in silence outside of the human sphere,"... "rolling round in manifest relation with the daily renewed hunger of this needy family of ours." Science teaches that there are sources of supply higher than the clouds. The Saviour here teaches us that the sources of supply are to be referred back beyond the solar system, even to the Father in heaven, who keeps the windmills and watermills of the universe going, to grind for the children the bread He gives. This is the forethought of the Father, the Father looking ahead. Other instances of this truth might be given. Physical science is showing us with bewildering wealth of illustration that the Father's foresight is infinite, and that the delicate movement and perfect adjustment of sun and earth, of solar system and our corn-sown fields, directly touches the question of our daily bread. The Father's providence carries us back to ages long before this earth-home was ready for the family. He was then laying in stores of coal and mineral for future use. Iron was laid up in the store-house of the earth incalculable ages before man was created; it was put there for man; and without it the vast system of our commerce and civilization could not have existed. There are also our coal-beds. The luxuriant tropical forests of pre-historic ages were engulfed and pressed, and changed by chemical action into coal for our use. You put a piece of coal on the fire; it ignites; combustion takes place; the gases and sunlight escape which were stored up there ages ago. It grew a tree which drank in the sunlight and gases of the atmosphere, and stored them to be released in the bright fire that warms you. Thus the same forethought of the Father gives us fuel that gives us food. Our Heavenly Father provides us with food and firing. The Father laid stores in the earth-home before the family came to live in it.
(J. H. Batt.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Give us day by day our daily bread.