But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33 What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear? These are the questions Jesus is answering in verse 33. He says we don’t need to worry, because our heavenly Father knows that we need them. It is not that Jesus isn’t concerned about them, but He wants us to get our priorities in line. Not even our priorities, but the way we live each day. We can’t live a life of love and service to Him if our days are filled with worries and concerns for our earthly needs. He knows that. He knows we need to eat and need to drink and need to be clothed. “Seek God’s kingdom, seek God’s righteousness,” He says. In other words, live day to day in the way God has called you. Make that your first thought, and put your mind on those things. Then His promise — all of our needs will be taken care of. The beauty of this is He already knows we need those things, and like a loving Father He is going to provide.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. – Psalm 23:1 What are sheep expected to do? They go out to the pasture and wander and eat. They lay down and rest when they are done eating. All that is required is they follow the shepherd. The shepherd knows the best parts of the pasture, and keeps a watchful eye so that nothing can ever threaten them. They are safe, and they are taken care of. The sheep don’t worry, they simply follow. All that is required of us is to follow the shepherd, Jesus. He knows the best pastures, the places that will provide all our needs. We can eat, knowing the Jesus our shepherd will keep anything from doing us harm. We have a safe place to rest. And we know that our shepherd loves us. (And Jesus certainly loves us more than sheep.) All we have to do is follow.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6 How comforting to know God is good to us. A simple truth, and a way He shows us His love every day. We have all heard the expression “God is good.” It is the way He treats us, the way He works things out for us, the way He is. God wants to be with us all the time. Not “keeping an eye on us” but because He loves us. He loves being around us so much He invites us to live in His house forever. Imagine having all of your needs met forever. Being in God’s house, having everything we need provided abundantly. Worries will be erased, as there will be nothing ever to worry about. Fear will be taken away, because there will never be a thing to fear. Even greater is knowing that every moment of every day we will experience and feel God’s love. But we need not wait, God says this has already started. Each day His love follows us even now.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 What is the one thing that helps us go through any difficult circumstance or situation? Hope! Knowing that whatever is going on, it will not last forever and in the future things will be better. Jeremiah was giving this message to Israel as they were captive and banished from their homes, every day must have looked bleak. But here is the beauty of God’s love. Even though Israel’s desperate condition has been brought about by their own misdeeds, He was waiting for them to seek Him again. We may have done wrong, and put ourselves in a position where we face the consequences of those bad decisions. God still has a plan, and God still promises us hope and a future. A few verses down, in Jeremiah 29:14, it says “I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” He is waiting for us to seek Him, and He promises we will find Him, along with the hope He gives and the future He has for us.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 How often do we seek God’s plan, when our own plans don’t work out? The prophet Jeremiah was writing to Israel, who had followed “their own plan” and it had led to their captivity and exile into the city of their enemies. Our earthly situation may not be as extreme, but our exile from God may be just as real. We exclude ourselves from His blessings and open ourselves up to harm when we follow our own plans, yet wonderfully, we can never exclude ourselves from God’s love. The next two verses in Jeremiah say: “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” God simply wants us to seek Him. Even when we have turned away and followed our own plans, He is waiting to return us to hope and the future He has for us. Pray, and follow Him with all of you.