The Real Promise

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Daily Reformation, Matthew 6:24-34

From the Reformer

“Then will he give rain to thy seed.” From the fruit he again shews how desirable it is to be converted to God; for the fruit of repentance is, that he receives converted persons into favor, and bestows his blessing on them, so that they are in want of nothing, but, on the contrary, are loaded with every kind of blessings. As troubles and distresses proceed from the wrath of God, whom we provoke by our crimes, so, when he is pacified, everything goes on prosperously with us, and we obtain every sort of kindness, as the Law more fully testifies. (Lv 26:3-13; Dt 28:3-14) A little before, he had spoken of “rain,” from which they were led to expect an abundant supply of food; but because he had not observed order in beginning with earthly and fading blessings, he therefore now adds to doctrine, which is spiritual nourishment, those things which belong to the use of this corruptible life; for, although godliness has the promise of the present life as well as “of that which is to come,” (1Tm 4:8) yet first of all it aims at heaven. (Mt 6:33)

—John Calvin, Commentary on Isaiah (30:23)

Pulling It Together

“Give me this thing.” God’s children beg of him specifics: rain, food, job, health. Or more specifically, they ask for more rain or less, for more or better food or to not go hungry, for a better job or more pay, for miraculous fitness, and for a host of other details. Better that they ask for increased faith to believe his promise to take care of them and to do so as he sees fit instead of telling him what his will should be. Better that they would pray, “Lord, help me seek your kingdom and seek your righteousness in the midst of drought and flood, when I am hungry and when I am full, when I am well-employed and out of work, when I am sick and when I am fit.” This is what Daniel’s three friends did when they stated, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.” (Dan 3:18)

God has bigger promises to keep for his children; and they might receive his good gifts if they were not so possessed of particulars. This is what Paul declared when he said he could be content with much or little. (Phil 4:11) The particular quantity is not the promise. If the amount were the promise then Paul could never have been satisfied. Yet he was satisfied because in the midst of the varying quantities of life, he realized that the real promise is God himself.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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