Lord’s Day 50: The Only Source of Everything Good

Catechism and Psalter

Today’s installment in this URC Psalmody series brings us to Lord’s Day 50 of the Heidelberg Catechism, which considers the fourth request of the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

125 Q.  What does the fourth request mean?

A.  Give us this day our daily bread means,

Do take care of all our physical needs
so that we come to know
that you are the only source of everything good,
and that neither our work and worry
nor your gifts
can do us any good without your blessing.

And so help us to give up our trust in creatures
and to put trust in you alone.

Suggested Songs

259, “Unto the Hills I Lift Mine Eyes” (Psalm 121)

(Sung by Grace URC in Dunnville, ON)

“Do take care of all our physical needs so that we come to know that you are the only source of everything good.”  Contrary to our human instincts, the motivation for praying “Give us this day our daily bread” has nothing to do with worry.  Only a few verses after setting forth the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus directly tells his disciples, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on” (Matt. 6:25 ESV).  The point is not whether we will have “our daily bread”—we will—but that our eyes are turned in the right direction; that we understand that our heavenly Father is indeed “the only source of everything good.”

One of the most poignant passages of Scripture regarding God’s provision and protection is Psalm 121.  Below are selected stanzas from the Genevan setting in the blue Psalter Hymnal.

Unto the hills I lift mine eyes
Whence cometh all my aid
When troubled or afraid.
Jehovah to my help shall rise,
He made the earth and heaven,
His aid is freely given.

Thy Keeper slumbereth not, nor shall
He cause thy foot to fail,
When danger doth assail.
Lo, He that keepeth Israel
Doth neither sleep nor slumber,
Naught shall thy soul encumber.

Jehovah will preserve thee when
The waves of trouble roll;
He will preserve thy soul.
When going out or coming in,
The Lord will thee deliver
From henceforth and forever.

6, “O Hear Me, Thou Most Righteous God” (Psalm 4)

“[N]either our work and worry nor your gifts can do us any good without your blessing.”  Psalm 4 describes the lingering anxiety of those whose material needs are met, but who have themselves not met with God’s favor.  “There are many who say, ‘Who will show us some good?  Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!’”  In contrast, the psalmist prays in complete composure, “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”  Because his heart is right before the Lord he is able to “both lie down and sleep” (vv. 6-8), resting in the One who alone makes him dwell in safety.

O who will show us any good?
The anxious many say.
Then lift on us, O gracious God,
Thy loving face alway.

My joy in Thy good favor, Lord,
Exceeds their harvest glee;
I rest in confidence, for Thou
Art my security.

219, “My Heart Is Fixed, O God” (Psalm 108)

(Sung by West Sayville URC on Long Island, NY)

“And so help us to give up our trust in creatures and to put trust in you alone.”  When we sincerely pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we acknowledge that God alone can supply our deepest physical and spiritual needs.  As we fight our daily battles against sin, the world, and the devil, trusting in anything apart from God will cause us to stumble.  “Oh grant us help against the foe,” cries David in Psalm 108, “for vain is the salvation of man!  With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes” (vv. 12, 13).

Above the heavens, O God,
And over all the earth,
Let men exalt Thy glorious Name
And tell Thy matchless worth.

O who will lead our hosts
To triumph o’er the foe,
If Thou shalt cast us off, O God,
Nor with our armies go?

The help of man is vain,
Be Thou our Helper, Lord;
Through Thee we shall do valiantly
If Thou Thine aid afford.

301, “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah” (Psalm 146)

(Sung by Grace URC in Dunnville, ON, and at Synod 2012)

We close our study of Lord’s Day 50 with a rousing setting of Psalm 146, which is itself an entire commentary on this request, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Put no confidence in princes,
Nor for help on man depend;
He shall die, to dust returning,
And his purposes shall end.

Happy is the man that chooses
Israel’s God to be his aid;
He is blest whose hope of blessing
On the Lord his God is stayed.
Heaven and earth the Lord created,
Seas and all that they contain;
He delivers from oppression,
Righteousness He will maintain.

Food He daily gives the hungry,
Sets the mourning prisoner free,
Raises those bowed down with anguish,
Makes the sightless eyes to see.
Well Jehovah loves the righteous,
And the stranger He befriends,
Helps the fatherless and widow,
Judgment on the wicked sends.

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Over all God reigns forever,
Through all ages He is King;
Unto Him, thy God, O Zion,
Joyful hallelujahs sing.

–MRK

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