Give us day by day our daily bread.
1. This is the first petition of the prayer in which we ask anything for ourselves, and we have reached the middle of it. The chief anxiety of the Christian should not be for his own good, not even for his spiritual good, but to exalt God. One will make most spiritual progress as he keeps self in the background. The essence of godliness is in becoming God's man.
2. Of the various petitions for our own good, this one alone relates to our secular interests; the others are moral or spiritual aspirations. Evidently our Lord thought it of comparatively little concern how these bodies brought us through the world, if they brought us through with moral safety. They are the rafts on which we cross the narrow time-river; and when the oldest man bends over the map of his eternity that time-river seems less than one of his own silvered hairs fallen upon it.
3. This petition for secular good is a very moderate one. Bread enough — that is all. Why did our Lord never teach us to ask for luxury, landed estates, bank stock, annuities, life insurance, &c. Perhaps He thought how little happiness depends upon these things; that they are more hurtful than helpful to average character; that they load a man with accountability which he cannot meet unless he keeps growing nobler, more unselfish and spiritual as worldly goods increase — which is quite apt not to be the case. He saw that most people would have enough to do to discharge the ordinary duties of common life; to conquer temptations that spring out of every man's flesh, without adding to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.
4. Jesus here teaches us that we should have the habit of recognizing God in the commonest blessings of life.
5. Though Jesus chose a commonplace thing to remind us of our dependence upon God, it was not a commonplace thing in the sense of being little or trivial. Bread-Providence is one of the most astounding exercises of God's goodness and power. What marvels in the growth of grain and the chemistry of nutrition — that standing miracle of the connection of food and life! What wonders of local productiveness to meet the emergencies of crowded settlements. Observe the providence of God also in the trade-system of the globe, by which the products of one portion of the earth are enjoyed by the inhabitants of other portions.
(J. M. Ludlow, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Give us day by day our daily bread.