Matthew and Luke both record
the Lords Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13; Luke
11:2-4. As Matthews rendering is a little
fuller, and the one ordinarily used in worship,
we shall use this as the basis of our study. It
reads as follows:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
us this day our daily bread.
forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
lead us not into temptation,
deliver us from evil:
Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the
glory, forever. Amen.
An examination will show
that the prayer consists of seven petitions, with
an introduction, Our Father, and the
closing doxology, For Thine is the kingdom.
It falls into two main sections. The first
section the first three petitionsis
concerned chiefly with the glory of God; the
second sectionthe four latter petitionsis
concerned with mans need.
At the time when Christ
taught His disciples the Lords Prayer, He
was discussing the manner in which the Pharisees
gave alms. They did this in a manner to attract
attention to themselves, that they may have
glory of men. Matthew 6:2. They would even
sound a trumpet before them to make sure that all
would know what they were doing and would give
them glory. But this acclaim of men would be all
the reward they would get. Said Christ, They
have their reward. Verse 2. He then gave
men this advice, Let not they left hand
know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms
may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in
secret Himself shall reward thee openly.
By a natural transition, He
then discussed prayer. This also should be done
When thou prayest,
enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut
thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret;
and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward
thee openly. Verse 6.
Alone in Prayer
During the first thirty
years of Christs life in the crowded house
conditions then prevailing, it is unlikely that
in the home of His parents He had a room of His
own where He could retire for prayer. However, we
are certain that He who taught others to pray in
secret found both time and place to be alone with
God. When He entered His public work, it was also
not easy to be alone. Multitudes followed Him
everywhere, and at times, there were so many that
they had no leisure so much as to ear.
One time when the disciples
were tired out with their heavy work of waiting
on the multitude, Jesus suggested that they go
into a desert place, and rest awhile.
so they departed into a desert place by
In going by boat, they hoped
the crowd would not follow them. But in this they
were disappointed, for when they arrived at the
designated place, the people were there already,
having gone around the lake by land. Christ, who
was also tired, nevertheless began to teach
them many things (verse 34), miraculously
fed the huge multitude, and sent then home. He
then constrained His disciples to get into
the ship, and to go to the other side,
while He remained behind. Verse 45. He Himself
departed into a mountain to pray.
Alone In a Crowd
At times, it was not
possible for Christ to get away from the
multitude, nor were there always mountains to
which He could escape. Under such circumstances
He prayed where He was, unconscious of the people
around Him and undisturbed by their presence.
Note this remarkable statement: It came to
pass, as He was alone praying, His disciples were
with Him. Luke 9:18. His disciples were
with Him; yet, He was alone.
Thus, whatever the
conditions were, Christ found a was to be alone
with God. In this, we do well to follow Him. It
may be some quiet place at home; it may be in the
workshop or in some dedicated place in the woods
or in the garden; it may be even in the barn or
the hayloftany place where the soul can
commune along with God. If no place can be found,
we may have to learn how to be alone with God
when others are present. It may be while
traveling on plane or on train or ship; it may be
while talking on the crowded street or in the
field. If we are really intent on having a few
words with God, we will find opportunity to shut
out all other thoughts and commune with Him.
There is always time for quiet meditation before
we close our eyes in sleep.
God is pleased to have us
pray publicly; He is pleased when we are faithful
in attending meetings for prayer; He is pleased
when we read and study about prayer. But none of
these good things must or can take the place of
secret prayer. Christ said, Pray to thy
Father which is in secret; and thy Father which
seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:6. This counsel should be heeded.
Public prayer, public worship, are commendable
and vital. But there is no substitute for the
quiet hour with God.
When you pray, use not
vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they
think that they shall be heard for their much
speaking. Be not you therefore like unto them:
for your Father knoweth what things you have need
of, before you ask Him. Verses 7,8.
Your Father knoweth.
He knows what we ask and He knows what we need.
The two are not always the same. He has promised
to supply our needs, but not necessarily our
wants. There are times when we ask for things
which we would like to have, when a little
planning would show that we do not need them as
much as we sometimes think we so. God knows this;
and hence God may think it best not to give us
what we want.
Prayer is not primarily
designed to get us things; it is rather to teach
us to be content with such things as we have.
Paul said, Be content with such things as
you have. Hebrews 13:5. Having food
and raiment let us be therewith content. 1
Timothy 6:8. Godliness with contentment is
great gain. Verse 6. Paul lived up to his
preaching. He said, I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
This does not mean that we
are not to strive for something better, to
improve our lot. Nor does it mean that we are to
be content with ourselves and our progress
mentally or spiritually. We are ever to strive
for a higher goal as far as we are concerned. We
are to be content with what we have, but not with
what we are. Too often the reverse is the case:
We are content with what we are, discontented
with what we have. The following advice is to the
Could you in vision see
yourself the person God meant, you would never
more could be the person you are, content Could
we but vision of what God meant us to be we would
never be content with what we are. Higher
than the highest human thought can reach is Gods
ideal for His children.
A Besetting Sin
Discontent is one of the
besetting sins of the age, and it is not one to
which worldlings only are subject. There are too
many discontented Christians, too many
disgruntled church members, too many covetous,
dissatisfied saints. In our books and attitudes,
we do not always give men a correct picture of
the joys of Christianity. With our lips, we
praise God, but our looks are telling the world
that God is not a good Master. If in a home the
mother is always downcast and discouraged, the
children dissatisfied and sullen, we might
rightly draw the conclusion that things are not
right in that home, and that probably both father
and mother are lacking in certain vital aspects.
This is also the conclusion one has a right to
draw when Gods children murmur and
complain. We are giving God a bad reputation when
we fail to show in our lives the joyfulness of
serving the Lord.
After this manner
therefore pray you. Matthew 6:9. Therefore
has reference to the advice Christ has just
given, that we are not to display our prayers by
standing praying in the synagogues or in the
street corners to be seen of men, but that we are
to pray in secret, avoiding vain repetitions. To
help us form our petitions, to teach us to pray,
He now gives us a sample prayer. We do not
understand that this is the only prayer we are to
use. We may still pour out our souls to God; we
may still pray from the heart as God gives us
utterance. But the Lords Prayer teaches us
what is to be included in our prayers, and it
does this without the use of vain repetitions, It
does not use many words, but is comprehensive,
all-inclusive. It is a Christ-ordained prayer,
and should have a place in our worship. It fits
the individual soul; it fits the family; it fits
the church. Even little children can early learn
to join the other members of the household in its
Christians are taught to say Our Father,
not My Father. This opening statement
makes the prayer a true universal Christian
prayer in that it recognizes the Fatherhood of
God and the brotherhood of man. Mine house,
said the prophet, shall be called an
house of prayer for all people. Isaiah
56:7. Christ endorsed this when He said, It
is not written, My house shall be called of all
nations the house of prayer. Mark 11:17.
If men of every nation may
address God as Father, then all men are brethren,
whether they are white, black, brown, red, or
yellow. All ye are brethren. Matthew
23:8. Among non-Christians, it may be expected
that some people should consider themselves
better than others, and one nation superior to
its neighbor. But it shall not be so among
you, said Christ, but whosoever will
be great among you, let him be your minister; and
whosoever will be chief among you, let him be
your servant. Matthew 20:26,27.
No Christian, can honestly
repeat this first phrase of the Lords
Prayer and consider himself superior to others.
God is not the Father of the Europeans only, or
of Americans, or Australians. He is the Father of
all. There is no respecter of persons with God;
neither should there be among Christians.
Father, which in
the original Greek and in many translations is
the first word in the word in the prayer, is the
endearing term which Jesus used in addressing the
First Person of the Godhead, and which He permits
us to use. The idea of the universal Fatherhood
of God has been of slow acceptance because of the
necessary corollary of the universal brotherhood
of men. Says the prophet, Have we not all
one Father? Hath not one God created us?
Malachi 2:10. In Gods sight, there is no
master race nor any slave race. One man was not
created to ride, another to be ridden. Let those
who use and revere the Lords Prayer have
this in mind. The prayer begins with a
declaration of the Fatherhood of God, and hence
of the unity, dignity, and high origin of all
men. All ye are brethren.
In permitting us to call God
our Father, Christ considers all men as belonging
to the family of God, with all the honors,
responsibilities, and privileges devolving upon
children of such high rank. All should walk
worthy of the calling wherewith they are called.
To an Indian, God is an
Indian to a Chinese, He is a Chinese; to an
American, He is an American. Each nation thinks
of God as having its own peculiar national
characteristics and physiognomy. But God is not a
national God; He is not partial to any race,
white, black, or brown. He is the God of all; He
is the Father of all. This may be disappointing
to some who would like to have God in their own
image. Of course God is an American,
said a young lady to me. What else could He
be? It would be better if artists ceased to
make images or pictures of God. No man hath
seen God at any time.
John 2:18. How, then,
can anyone make a picture of Him? It is as
unreasonable as attempting to make a picture of
the Holy Spirit. Such would be blasphemy. And so
is a making image of God.
for love, protection, companionship,
understanding, guidance, correction, and watch
care, compassion. God possesses all these
attributes, and doubtless many others, and being
our Father and the cause of our existence, has
the strongest reasons for exercising His powers
in our behalf. We are not to come to Him as to a
stranger, or even primarily as to a God, but as
to a Father who is bound to us with bands of
love, cords that will ever hold. To Him we can
open our hearts. In Him, we can safely trust.
Which Art in Heaven
We are wont to think of
heaven as being above us, and rightly so. To look
up to heaven is to look up to Gods dwelling
place. But when those who live on the other side
of the earth look up, they look in the exact
opposite direction from what we do; and, lo,
God also. From whatever
point on earth we look to heaven, there is God,
surrounding and enclosing us and the whole earth.
If I ascend up to heaven, Thou art there;
if I make my bed i9n hell, behold, Thou art
there. If I take the wings of the morning, and
dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even
there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand
shall hold me. Psalm 139:8-10. No place on
earth is nearer to heaven than is any other
place. God is everywhere, and wherever I go, God
is there to guide and uphold me.
In some respects, the Father
is the forgotten person of the Godhead. In
innumerable sermons, Christ is exalted and His
name constantly mentioned, as it should be. In
word and song, the Spirit is magnified, as is
right and proper. But seldom do we hear a sermon
of which the Father is the subject. We are in
danger of forgetting the Father of all, or
relegating Him to a secondary place.
There is no jealously in the
heavenly Trio. The Father is pleased to hear
praise given to the Son and the Holy Spirit. But
we think it well not to ignore the Father in our
devotions, sermons, and hymns of praise. Christ
devoted much time to inform His disciples of the
Father. We will do well to study Christs
teaching on this subject.
One of the reasons Christ
came to this earth was to reveal the Father to
men. The world knew but little of God, and
practically all had a wrong conception of Him. To
set men right, to give them a true view of the
character of God, Christ became man. He was God
manifest in the flesh. 1 Timothy 3:16. Men looked
upon Him, and as they did, they saw the Father.
Not only did the world not
know God; His own people, the Jews, did not know
Him. They thought of Him as creator, judge, and
lawgiver, but not as a kind and understanding
Father. This was largely the fault of their
leaders. In the time of Christ, it was especially
the fault of the Pharisees. They gave the
impression that God had not made the Sabbath for
man, but man for the Sabbath. No true Jew would
minister to the sick on the Sabbath; that would
be sacrilege. To carry to a sick person a glass
of water would be carrying a burden on the
Sabbath and that was forbidden. The commandment
Thou shalt not kill was interpreted
to include insects, and hence some holy persons
would carry with them a small broom with which to
sweep before them, lest they step on a worm or
insect and thus be guilty of murder. Some would
hold a cloth before their eyes lest they look on
evil and be guilty, and others would do equally
irrational things. From such conduct the people a
wrong idea of the Father. They saw Him not as a
loving and compassionate Father, but as an
unreasonable and harsh God, an unjust judge, who
delighted in making rules impossible to keep and
who would punish those who disobeyed.
Christs teaching about
God was directly opposed to that of the
Pharisees. In healing the sick, comforting the
mourners, raising the dead, and forgiving sins He
was giving men a picture of what God is like.
Said He, He that hath seen Me hath seen the
Father. John 14:9. I and My Father
are one. John 10:30. Men were charmed by
His gracious words, as well as mightily moved by
them. As He went about spreading good cheer,
attending a wedding feast when He thought best,
accepting invitations to eat with people, always
kind and considerate to all men could not fail to
see the vivid contrast between His practice and
the teaching of the Pharisees. Christ was
revealing God to men.
A true doctrine of God is of
vital concern to all. If a wrong doctrine can
produce the Inquisition, we must not think
lightly of studying carefully the doctrine
of God our Savior. Titus 2:10. For he
that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath
both the Father and the Son. 2 John 9. John
considered this so important that he declared,
If there come any unto you,
and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into
your house, neither bid him Godspeed. Verse
10. When we pray, Our Father,
we invoke the help of One who is truly our
Father, who loves and cares for us, and will do
anything to help us. He will guide us, counsel
us, correct us if need be; but He will do it in
love. May we ever keep sacred His name, the name
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Hallowed be Thy name
is the first of the seven petitions in the Lords
Prayer. It concerns the reverence due His holy
name. As God Himself is holy, so is His name. We
pray that we may hallow that holy name, hold it
In Old Testament times, a
name generally mirrored some outstanding
characteristic in the person named. Thus, Jacob
earned his name because of the unreliability of
his character. Genesis 27:36. He had difficulty
telling the truth. After his experience with the
angel (Genesis 32:28), God changed his name from
Jacob, a deceiver, to Israel, an overcomer.
Mary, the mother of Jesus,
before the birth of her son was commanded, Thou
shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His
people from their sins. Matthew 1:21.
Jesus, Savior, was to be His name, for He should
save His people.
If Gods name is to
signify all that He is, it must be a special
name. And it is. God Himself chose it as the
summation of all His attributes, an expression of
His total being and eternal existence, the
Almighty, the One which is, and which was,
and which is to come. Revelation 1:4.
Moses had been chosen by God
as leader of Israel. As such, it would be his
work to go to Egypt, where Israel was in bondage,
and persuade the king to let them go. He was also
to gather Israel together and persuade them to
go. Both of these missions were hard ones, and
Moses hesitated to accept this work. He was
unknown to the Israelites, having left Egypt
forty years before, and he knew if would be a
Herculean task to persuade a whole nation to
leave all their property and start on a journey
that would bring them into a barren desert. He
felt that he must have divine credentials, or he
could never succeed. So he said to God, When
I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say
unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me
unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His
name? What shall I say unto them? And God said
unto Moses, I SM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus
shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM
hath sent me unto you. Exodus 3:13,14. In
the next verse, God explains further. Thus shalt
thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord
God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God
of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto
you: this is My name forever, and this is My
memorial unto all generations. Verse 15.
This is indeed a strange
name; but it is the name God Himself chose. It is
His name forever, and His memorial unto all
generations. It denotes the Ever-living One, the
Self-existing One, the One who always has been
and always will be. The original Hebrew word is
JHVH, -- Hebrew was originally written without
vowel sounds, -- and this name was probably
pronounced YAHWEH, from which we get the word
Jehovah. The word YAHWEH occurs thousands of
times in the Old Testament, and in the American
Revised Version is always translated Jehovah,
while the King James Version translates it Lord
God, written in small capitals. When the reader
finds Lord God in his Authorized Version, he may
know that the original is Jehovah, Gods
self-chosen name, the I AM.
This name was counted so
sacred by the Jews that it was never pronounced
by them. Not only did they not pronounce it, they
were even forbidden to think it. When they came
to it in their reading, publicly or privately,
they substituted in its stead ADONAI.
The name Jehovah becomes of
interest to us as we learn that commentators in
general hold that Jehovah in the King James
Version is the name of the Second Person of the
Godhead, Christ. The I AM who told Moses that
this was His name forever, is the same who calmly
told the Jews that He was the I AM. John 8:58.
It was Christ who from the bush on Mount
Horeb spoke to Moses saying, I AM THAT I
AM. When Christ with solemn dignity told
the Jews, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Before Abraham was, I AM, silence fell upon
the vast assembly. The name of God given to Moses
to express the idea of the eternal presence had
been claimed as His own by this Galilean Rabbi.
He announced Himself to be the
Self-existent One. He who had been promised to
Israel, whose goings forth have been from
of old, from the days of eternity. Then
took they up stones to cast at Him. John
This was not the only time
that Christ claimed to be the I AM. One time when
the disciples saw Christ walking on the water,
they cried out in fear, thinking they saw a
spirit. Mark 6:47-50.Christ calmed them by
saying, Be of good cheer: is I; be not
afraid. Verse 50. The Greek reads, Be
of good cheer. I AM. And the wind
ceased. Verse 51.
The name I AM stands for the
revealed character of God. This is made clear in
Gods answer to Moses request that he
be shown His glory. Exodus 33:18. Said God,
I will make all My goodness pass before
thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord
before thee. Verse 19.
Accordingly, the Lord
descended in the cloud, and stood with him there,
and passed by before him, and proclaimed, The
Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long
suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity
and transgression and sin, and that will by no
means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of
the fathers upon the childrens children,
unto the third and to the fourth generation.
The Lord did not proclaim to
Moses a name as such. He let His goodness
pass before him, and that was His name. He told
Moses what He was, naming His attributes, His
character, His inmost self, His complete
personality. That is His name. In effect, God
said, What I AM, that is My name. In
addition, this He summed up in the Hebrew word
YAHWEH, or Jehovah, I AM THAT I AM, or as some
translate, I AM WHAT I AM. What God is, that is
Christ is the great I AM,
that ever liveth, the Prince of
life, Spirit of life. Hebrews
7:25; Acts 315; Romans 8:2. With Him there
is no variableness, neither shadow of
turning. James 1:17. He is the same
yesterday, and today, and forever. Hebrews
13:8 That is why His name is I AM. When we think
of the past, of the days of Abraham, there is the
I AM; or if we thing of the future, the forever,
there is the I AM also. He ever liveth
For another reason than that
mentioned above, the name of God becomes of
special interest to the church of God today; for
as John looked, lo, on Mount Zion stood the
Lamb, and with Him a hundred and forty-four
thousand who had His name and His Fathers
name written on their foreheads. Revelation
14:1, R.S.V. this means that they had the
character of God impressed upon them.
This name is that which was
revealed to Moses when God came down on Mount
Sinai and let His goodness pass before him and
proclaimed the name of the Lord. Exodus 34:4-7.
In view of this, it may be profitable to look a
little more closely at the attributes listed,
for, as far as these attributes are applicable to
mankind, the 144,000 will possess them. This is a
high honor and a high responsibility.
In this first petition of
the Lords Prayer, we express our desire to
keep holy and sacred the name of God. Strange
that this name should be the one which the world
most misuses and take in vain! Gods name is
dragged in the filth and slime of obscene curses
and oaths and is coupled with Satans name
in blasphemy. We cannot at all times shut
ourselves of hearing this, but we can be warned
not to get so accustomed to hearing foul language
that it ceases to shock us.
As we are commanded to keep
holy the Sabbath day, so we are admonished to
hallow Gods name, for holy and
reverend is His name. Psalm 111:9. When we
become Christians, we are adopted as members of
the family of God and take His name upon us. This
name we are not to take in vain; we are not to
profane it or bring it in ill repute. Most
families are jealous of their reputation and
their good name, and guard it carefully from
becoming identified with anything that is
questionable. God also is jealous of His name and
We must not lower the
standard which God has set for His people and
which He has made possible of attainment by the
abundant provision He has made for man to live
above sin. But we wish to encourage those who
find themselves coming short of their intentions,
or who have been taught that the goal is
unattainable. Let such be of good cheer. A
just man falleth seven times, and riseth up
again. Proverbs 24:16. The steps of a good
man are ordered by he Lord: and he delighteth in
His way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly
cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His
hand. Psalm 37:23,24.
Rejoice not against
me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise;
when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light
unto me. Micah 7:8. God recons as perfect
those who may yet be far from the end of the
race, but whose heart is perfect toward Him, who
are on the right road and facing in the right
direction. They are struggling on, but appear to
make little progress. God looks in pity upon
them, and though they fall seven times, He will
lift them up and cheer them on. It is not
necessarily, how far a man has come that counts.
It is the direction in which he is going that
matters. Hear these heartening words: When
it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are
put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this
disposition and effort as mans best
service, and He makes up for the deficiency with
his own divine merits.
God admonishes His people to
be holy. Leviticus 19:2. He told Abraham to be
perfect. Genesis 17:1. He calls Noah perfect.
Genesis 6:9. It is evident that the perfection or
holiness, which these men had or strove for, was
not the final perfection of God or of the saints
It is possible for a thing
or a person to be perfect and yet not perfected.
The bud is perfect, says Isaiah.
Isaiah 18:5. So are the seed, the newborn lamb,
and the acorn. These things are perfect in every
state of development, but full perfection awaits
the time of ripening. An apple from the time of
the first bloom may be perfect though it is yet
green and unfit for food. When at last it is
ripe, it is perfected.
Paul informed us that he had
not already attained, either were already
perfect. Philippians 3:12. He had not
reached the goal he had set for himself. But
I press toward the mark, he said.
Verse 14. Then, having in mind those who with him
were pressing forward, he said, Let us
therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded.
Verse 15. In verse 15, by the use of the word
us, he included himself in those who
In these verses, Paul
exemplified the Biblical use of the word perfect.
God counts those perfect who press on and are
thus minded. If there be first
a willing mind, it is accepted according to that
a man hath, and not according to that he hath
not. 2 Corinthians 8:12. According to this
principle, we are admonished to go on perfecting
holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1.
The man who is on the right road will at last be
counted as having attained, even though he was
yet far from perfection.
The prayer Hallowed be
Thy name is a prayer of consecration, a
prayer for purity and holiness. It is the first
petition in the Lords Prayer and thus gives
holiness its rightful place. It calls upon men to
dedicate themselves to God, to be jealous of His
holy name, as they become members of the family
kingdom of God for which we are to pray includes
three distinct ideas:
The kingdom of God on earth, His visible church,
consisting of those who have willingly enlisted
under His banner. Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9.
The kingdom of God within you, the
invisible kingdom, consisting of all honest
believers anywhere, without regard to church
affiliation. Luke 17:21.
The kingdom of heaven, when the kingdoms of
this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord,
and of His Christ. Matthew 8:11; 2 Timothy
4:18; Revelation 11:15.
preaching concerned itself almost entirely with
the gospel of the kingdom, which
might mean any one of the three named, or all
three, as the context indicates.
the beginning of His ministry, Christ came
into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom
of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and
the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and
believe the gospel. Mark 1:14,15. Jesus
went about all the cities and villages, teaching
in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of
the kingdom. Matthew 9:35; 4:23.the people
in a certain place asked Him to stay with them,
He declined to do so, saying, I must preach
the kingdom of God to other cities also.
disciples followed the lead of their Master. When
He sent out the Twelve He commanded them to
preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
Luke 9:2. When He sent out the seventy, they
received this commission: Say unto them,
The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
Luke 10:9. It is of note but when Christ said
that the gospel is to be preached in all the
world for a witness to all nations, He designated
it as this gospel of the kingdom.
Matthew 24:14. Christ considered the gospel of
the kingdom so important that He put it fist on
the list of that for which men shall seek. Said
He, Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and
His righteousness; and all these things hall be
added unto you. Matthew 6:31-33.
Pilate asked Christ, Art Thou the King of
the Jews? He answered, My kingdom is
not of this world. John 18:33,36. When
Pilate pressed Him further,
Thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou
sayest that I am a king, an affirmative
reply. Christ was a king, but His kingdom was not
of this world.
the beginning, God created the heavens and the
earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are
the Lords, says David, but the earth
hath He given to the children of men.
Psalms 115:16. When the earth was given to Adam,
he became, under God, its ruler. When man sinned
and came under the dominion of sin, Satan
promptly claimed the earth as his and felt
emboldened to offer it to Christ on condition of
submission and worship. Showing Christ All
the kingdoms of the world, and the glory pf them,
Satan said, All these things will I give
Thee if Thou wilt fall down and worship
me. Matthew 4:8,9. Satan had assumed charge
of this earth, had become its prince, and taken
men captive. Christ had come to wrest this
dominion from Satan, liberate the prisoners, and
establish His own kingdom. Satan understood this,
and his first plan was to win over Christ and, if
this failed, to tempt and torture Him in an
effort to discourage Him from finishing His work.
Unless in some way he could overcome Christ, he
knew that his own doom was sealed.
also knew what was at stake. If He failed, all
would be lost. Satan would then have undisputed
control, and this world would be his kingdom.
Once before, Satan had claimed control over the
earth when, as a self-appointed representative
from this world, he met with the sons of God as
recorded in the book of Job. When God pointed to
Job as the true representative, Satan sneeringly
answered, Doth Job fear God for nought? Put
forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath,
and he will curse Thee to Thy face. Job
1:9-11. In the test that ensued, Job on, and
Satan retired defeated.
more Satan tried it, and again he was defeated.
After this he appears no more in the book. Job
stood the test. Satan was not Gods
representative. Job was. From any human
viewpoint, Christs task was impossible.
Having taken on the nature of man, how could He
ever expect to cope with the powers of darkness?
His plan was to win men from the army of Satan,
deliver them from the power of darkness, and
translate them into the kingdom of heaven. See
Colossians 1:13. This would necessitate that
Christ attack the stronghold of Satan, who as a
strong man fully armed guardeth his won
court. Luke 11:21.
Christ was to bring out the prisoners
from the prison, and them that sit in darkness
out of the prison house (Isaiah 42:7), He
would have to enter the prison house Himself and
become subject to death; but having in His
possession the keys of hell and of death
(Revelation 1:18), He would open the prison door,
walk out, and take with Him those who wished to
is the very thing He did. At the time of His
death the graves were opened; and many
bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came
out of the graves after His resurrection, and
went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many.
Matthew 27:52,53. Thus, it was possible for
Christ through death to destroy him that
had the power of death, that is, the devil; and
deliver them who through fear of death were all
their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews
stated above, it was Satans plan to get
Christ to sin, if that were possible, for He
would thus come under Satans control. Satan
did his best in the temptation in the wilderness,
but did not succeed. He did his best all through
the time of the ministry of Christ, but again he
failed. He tried it again in Gethsemane, but
found no foothold whatsoever. Said Christ, The
prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in
Me. John 14:30. Christ repelled every dart
thrown at Him, resisted every temptation.
Successfully He challenged the Jews, Which
of you convinceth Me of sin? and there was
no answer. John 8:46.
the climax in the life of Christ approached, the
time which Jesus called your hour, and the
power of darkness, (Luke 22:53), when He
single-handed and alone, should enter the domain
of death and wrest from Satan the captives
of the mighty (Isaiah 49:25), His humanity
shrank from the magnitude and apparent
impossibility of the task. John gives us a
glimpse of the inner struggle of Jesus when he
quoted Him as saying, Now is My soul
troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me
from this hour; but for this cause came I unto
this hour. John 12:27.
are pathetic words as coming from the Savior. The
hour had come, and His human nature quailed
before the horror of terror of torture and death.
A call to His Father for help would bring Him
more than twelve legions of angels. Matthew
26:53. However, was it not for this very purpose
that He had come to the world? No, He could not
ask to be saved from the agonizing test. But the
very fact that He thought of it, reveals His
for a moment did Christ hesitate. Resolutely His
faith asserted itself. He would go forward. He
would glorify God. In addition, souls would be
saved. He looked to heaven and said, Father,
glorify Thy name. Then came there a voice from
heaven, saying, I have glorified it, and will
glorify it again. John 12; 28. God had
glorified Him in His work on earth, which was to
culminate in His death, and would glorify Him
again in raising Him from the dead.
decision was made. He would willingly fulfill His
part of the covenant made in heaven. God would
not fail Him, but stand by Him. He had just
received confirmation that God had glorified and
would glorify Him. The prophet of old had asked
the question, Shall the prey be taken from
the mighty, , or the lawful captive delivered?
Isaiah 49:24. In addition, the answer had come:
The captives of the mighty shall be taken
away, and the prey of the terrible shall be
delivered. Verse 25. Gods promise was
Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be
confounded: therefore have I set my face like a
flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
Isaiah 50:7. With these promises in mind, Christ
confidently announced, Now shall the prince
of this world be cast out. John 12:31.
Christ said this, He knew what the cost would be.
He would have to enter the prison house of death.
However, He was ready. He had the keys that would
free him and the captives. Some think that it was
no struggle for Christ to engage Satan in battle,
even to the death. Did not Christ know that He
would come out victorious? Had He not in heaven
measured the cost? Why was not all, then, clear?
have mentioned before that in heaven He and the
Father had counted every step and knew the cost.
However, it was necessary for Christ to go over
the ground again and as man decide what He would
do. Even if He were willing to go on with the
plan, was He assured of success? Could human
nature endure the trial? Should He ask the Father
to spare Him from the approaching hour? The fact
that He mentioned it at all reveals His inner
struggle. He need not have revealed to man that
there was any struggle at all. When He does
reveal it, He does it for, giving us an insight
into the deepest recesses of His mind, that we
might understand that the cost made Him tremble,
that He knew the tremendous battle He must wage,
and that in full knowledge of the cost He made
His decision. Let no one think that Christ was
prayer, Thy kingdom come, has been
called a glorious prayer of infinite scope. The
Jews were much interested in the coming of the
kingdom and incorporated petitions for its coming
into their common prayers. Some of the rabbis
held that any prayer that did not mention the
kingdom was no prayer at all.
the Christian this prayer for the kingdom is of
the deepest significance, particularly for those
living at this time in the history of this world.
The prayer for the establishment of the kingdom
of God embraces the incarnation of Christ and His
life in humanity, the temptation un the
wilderness, Gethsemane and Golgotha, the
resurrection and judgment, the destruction of
Satan and his kingdom, and the new creation. It
is a prayer that Gods plan of salvation may
come to fruition that there might be an end of
sin, and that righteousness might reign.
prayer also contemplates the preparation of the
saints for participation in the kingdom to come.
In coming to this world, Christ did His part of
the work in destroying the power of the devil. He
is now preparing a place for His redeemed in the
world to come. However, He left a wok for us to
do in preparing men for citizenship in the new
kingdom. He will help us in this, but we have a
definite responsibility and important decisions
to make. No one can do this for us.
one occasion, the Pharisees asked Christ when the
kingdom of God should come. Luke 17:20. The
question was probably prompted by the fact that
while Jesus preached much about the kingdom, He
made no practical provision for its organization.
The first requirements would be a reasonably
large following and the selection of a few
capable men of experience to compose the nucleus
of the governing body. Christ had none of these.
The few that followed Him were of the common
people, and the disciples were unlearned,
inexperienced men. No kingdom could ever be
established on such a foundation. In contempt the
Pharisees had asked, Have any of the rulers
or of the Pharisees believed on Him? John
7:48. They were certain that Christ could not
establish a kingdom without them, but thus far,
He had not made any approach to them or asked
them for help. Evidently, they were to be left
out. Therefore, to confuse Him they asked when
the kingdom should come. Christ answered them and
said, The kingdom of God cometh not with
observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or,
lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is
within you. Luke 17:20,21.
Christ here emphasized the truth that numbers
alone are not a safe criterion of success.
Mohammed quickly recruited millions of followers.
So did Buddha, and so have apostate churches. The
time will come when the entire world will wonder
after the beast. See Revelation 13:3. Numbers are
no evidence of success. In contrast with this,
Christ spoke of His church as the little flock.
Fear not, little flock, He said,
for it is your Fathers good pleasure
to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32.
is not safe to count outward prosperity as a sign
of Gods approval or blessing. We rightly
rejoice when we see Gods cause prosper and
read of the many accessions to the church.
However, God is not impressed by statistics. We
should be careful lest we number Israel and prove
by means of arithmetic that God is with us.
There is no restraint to the Lord to save
by many or by few. 1 Samuel 14:6. If Christ
were on earth now and His work were evaluated by
the converts He had at the time of His death,
some question might be raised about His success.
measure outward growth, but God looks to the
heart. The visible church can be numbered, but
the figures do not correspond with the books of
heaven. There are many on the church roll that
God does not include in His church, and there are
many that God includes whose names are not on our
books. However, it will not always be thus. Jesus
said, Other sheep I have, which are not of
this fold: unto them also I must bring, and they
shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold,
and one shepherd. John 10:16. At that time,
the books in heaven and the books on earth will
agree. Happy day! We shall see eternal values as
God sees them.
kingdom of God is within you. The
Lord seeth not as a man seeth; for man looketh on
the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on
the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7. It is not
numbers, riches, fame, learning, or worldly
attainments that interest God. Heaven is My
throne, and the earth is My footstool, He
said. Isaiah 66:1. Material things do not count
with God, for all those things Mine hand
made. Verse 2.
then raised the question, Where is the
place of My rest? and answered it: To
this man will I look, even to him that is poor
and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My
word. Verses 1,2. God inhabits eternity; He
dwells in the high and holy place, with him
also that is of a contrite and humble spirit.
these statements, we gather that material things
do not impress God, for all those things
hath Mine hand made. He made the heavens
with all their glory and beauty, and He inhabits
eternity. Yet He longs for something which man
can only supply the love of a pure
felt this longing on earth. The loneliness
of Christ, separated from the heavenly courts,
living the life of humanity, was never understood
or appreciated by the disciples as it should have
been. He was often grieved because His disciples
did not give Him that which He should have
received from them. A vivid illustration of
Christs hunger for the love of man is
revealed in the question He asked Peter, repeated
three times: Simon, son of Jonas, lovest
thou Me? John 21:17. This was after the
resurrection. Christ could have gone to heaven
and there received the worship and adoration of
the heavenly host. This would have been
wonderful, but not enough. He longed for
human tenderness, courtesy, and affection.
This the angels could not give, for they had not
been permitted to follow Him in His humiliation.
Hear these wonderful words: If a man love
Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will
love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our
abode with him. John 14:23. And to the last
church Jesus said, Behold, I stand at the
door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and
open the door, I will come in to him, and will
sup with him, and he with Me. Revelation
3:20. Let us open the door.
prayer that the kingdom come will not be fully
answered until we reach the earth made new. This
prayer brings to us the responsibility to do all
in our power to help bring about its fulfillment.
We have a definite work to do, for the gospel of
the kingdom must be preached in the entire world
before the end can come. These two things,
therefore, we must do: preach the gospel, and
prepare ourselves for that great event. It is of
little use that we pray for the kingdom to come,
if we do nothing to further its coming. As we
begin to comprehend more fully the meaning of
this prayer, we agree with the statement that no
prayer is real prayer that does not include the
is a serious question how far a Christian can
honestly pray for the kingdom to come, while
making every preparation to stay in this world.
We know that Jesus said in the parable, Occupy
till I come. Luke 19:13. This has been made
to mean that we may build and carry on as usual,
when the word has no such meaning. In the parable
of the nobleman he called his ten servants,
and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto
them, Occupy till I come. The Revised
Version says, Trade ye herewith till I
come. That is, Use the talents I have
given you. The Greek means, to be
busy with, to trade. The servants had been
given ten talents. Now the nobleman said, Trade
with them; get busy. That this is the meaning is
evident from the parable itself, for when the
master returned, he called the servants together
that he might know how much every man had
gained by trading. To apply this parable to
anything else than trading with the talents each
man had received is to wrest Scripture.
then, is our work while we are waiting for the
Lord to come. Busily engaged in the work of God,
we may justify our existence. Let us trade with
the one talent we have, and God may give us
Thy Will Be Done
Thy will be
done on earth, as it is in heaven. This
petition is built on the fact that Gods
will is not now being done on earth. If Gods
will were done, there would be no war or hatred
among nations. There would be no injustice or
cruelty, no sickness, sorrow, suffering, or
tears. Peace and prosperity would prevail, joy
and happiness reign supreme.
have present conditions come about? They are the
results of the selfishness, ambition, and greed
of men who have forgotten that they arte their
a consequence, some nations have an abundance of
that for which others are starving. There is
enough food in the world for all, but men have
not learned the blessing of sharing with those
who are less fortunate. Men have forgotten the
golden rule; they have forgotten God.
will is well expressed by the prophet who said,
I know the thoughts that I think toward
you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not
of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29:11. The Revised Standard Version more
correctly reads, I know the plans I have
for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not
for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
When this was written, Israel had sinned
grievously, and it appeared that there was no
future for them. However, God had plans for them
and encouraged them to try once more. He promised
that if they would search for Him with all their
heart, He would hear them and would turn their
captivity. Jeremiah 39: 12-14.
is not an angry God who lies in wait to catch men
off their guard so He can punish them. Hear these
heartening promises: God doth not afflict
willingly not grieve the children of men.
Lamentations 3:33. If God at times must punish,
He does it reluctantly. He is not willing
that any should perish, but that all should come
to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9. His desire is
to have all men to be saved, and to come
unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy
2:4. From the very beginning, God has chosen
you to salvation through sanctification of the
Spirit and the belief of the truth. 2
Thessalonians 2:13. This is the will of God, even
your sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
texts reveal Gods plans for men. He wants
every man saved, and is not willing that even one
should be lost. His plan includes both a hope and
a future, on the condition that we seek Him with
all our heart.
we therefore pray that Gods will be done in
earth as it is in heaven, we align ourselves with
divine power to bring this about. Just what,
specifically, does God want us to do so that He
can work out His plan in us? What is my duty?
government expresses it will through its law.
Each nation ordinarily has a fundamental law,
written or unwritten, generally called a
constitution, which is binding upon all the
people. This constitution prescribes and defines
the duties of the citizens and is the standard to
which all other laws must conform. In a country
ruled by a dictator, there is no constitution.
The will of the dictator is the supreme law, from
which there is no appeal.
God formed Israel into a nation, He publicly
entered into a covenant with the people, upon
adherence to which they were to become His people
and receive His blessings. Moses thus records the
event: And ye came near and stood under the
mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto
the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and
thick darkness. And the Lord spake unto you out
of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of
the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a
voice. And He declared unto you His covenant,
which He commanded you to perform, even the Ten
Commandments; and He wrote them upon two tables
of stone. Deuteronomy 4:11-13.
covenant law that God proclaimed from Sinai reads
as follows: God spake all these words
Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,
or any likeness of anything that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or is in
the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow
down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the
Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the
iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto
the third and fourth generation of them that hate
Me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that
love Me, and keep my commandments.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God
in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless
that taketh His name in vain.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six
days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but
the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy
God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor
thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor
thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger
that is within thy gates: for in six days the
Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that
in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore
the Lord blesses the Sabbath day, and hallowed
Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days
may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors house;
thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife,
nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his
ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy
These words the Lord
spake unto all the assembly in the mount out of
the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the
thick darkness, with a great voice: and He added
no more. And He wrote them in two tablets of
stone, and delivered them unto me.
And I turned myself
and came down from the mount, and put the tables
in the ark which I had made; and there they be,
as the Lord commanded me. Deuteronomy 10:5.
Christ in His Sermon on the
Mount endorsed this law, and compliance with it
was made a condition of salvation. Matthew
19:16-22, Mark 10:17-22, Luke 10:25-28, 18:
From early Christian
experience I had been taught that in religion
there is no place for independent judgment, that
I was not to use my mind, but trust in God and
have faith. The advice was well meant and largely
true. We are to have faith, and we are saved by
faith and not by works. However, the suggestion
that we are not to use our minds is entirely
untrue. We are to serve God with our mind as well
as with other faculties. Hear these words of
Christ: And thou shalt love the Lord thy
God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:
This is the first commandment. And the second is
like, namely this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor
as thyself. There is none other commandment
greater than these. Mark 12:30,31. See also
Matthew 22: 37; Luke 10:27. As a fresh breath
from heaven come the words, Come now, and
let us reason together, saith the Lord.
Isaiah 1:18. Is it possible that God invites me
to reason with Him? Paul supported the idea when
he said, Consider what I say; and the Lord
give thee understanding in all things. 2
Timothy 2:7. Consider is defined:
To look closely, to examine, to think
about, to ponder in order to understand and
decide, to observe, comprehend. Did
Paul mean that I have a right to consider what he
said? To think it over? And what did he mean when
he said, I speak as to wise men; judge
ye what I say. 1 Corinthians 10:15. Perhaps
we had expected to hear Paul say, Swallow
what I say. Instead of this, he appealed to
mens good sense, and told them to consider
what he said. He was so sure of his grounds that
he was will to leave the decision with the
God is pleased when we use
the mind He has given us and seriously consider a
matter before taking action. Such is not an act
of disbelief, but of intelligent faith. There
must indeed be no doubtful hesitation in obeying
God; but ordinarily He gives us time for
reflection, that we may see the light in His
light and follow on to know the Lord.
Little children should be
taught to obey without questioning. However, as
the child grows older, the wise parents will use
a different method. They will spend time in
explaining the reasons for certain requirements.
As the child gets the parents viewpoint,
there will be intelligent co-operation, unless
the child is willfully stubborn.
It is thus God deals with
us. He wants to reason with us; He wants us to
consider, to judge. God treats us as grownups,
which appeals to a child. As we think matters
through, we see wisdom in what might otherwise
seem an arbitrary and unreasonable demand.
God could sit on His throne
and issue His sovereign decrees without giving
any reason for them. However, He chooses the
better way. He reveals His secrets to His
servants, the prophets. Amos 3:7. He talked
things over with Abraham before destroying Sodom
and Gomorrah. Genesis 18:20-33. He would never
dare give us the right to think, did He not know
that when we have time to consider the matter, we
would agree with Him. How can any fail to
appreciate such a God! He makes us feel that we
count. We are not mere automations. Let no one
misunderstand. God demands obedience. However, He
talks things over with us and leaves to us the
While, generally speaking,
every request that God makes of us is a
reasonable request, there are times when He tests
us to see what we will do under certain
circumstances. He tests us to see if we have
learned to trust Him absolutely and if we will
obey even without understanding them. Of such was
the order to Simon Peter, Launch out into
the deep, and let down your nets for a draft.
Luke 5:4. Jesus was no fisherman, and Peter was.
In addition, Peter had been fishing all night and
caught nothing, and in daylight, it was no use to
try again. Peter made a weak protest (verse 5),
then let down the net, and the result was a
greater catch than Peter had ever had before.
This was Peters first lesson in obedience.
Years later when Christ told him to cast the net
on the right side, there was no arguing. John
21:6. Peter could have argued that there was no
more fish on the right side than on the left.
However, he had learned his lesson.
When Abraham was told to
take his son Isaac and offer him on the mountain
God should show him, he did not hesitate. Genesis
22:2,3. He could not understand, but in previous
years, he had learned to trust God. Abraham stood
the test for obedience.
These are interesting
events, and there are others in the Bible. God
likes to talk over with His men, to prepare them
for the time when there must be prompt and
Gods Will in Me
It is well to pray that Gods
will be done in earth as it is in heaven, for
that calls our minds to fields far and near where
Gods will is not being done or even known,
and where we might be of some help. If we
Christians pray this prayer, we cannot be
inactive; for we have it in our power to help
answer the prayer. When Jesus said, This
gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all
the world for a witness unto all nations, and
then shall the end come (Matthew 24:14), He
was depending on us to do our part. He knew that
such preaching was necessary if Gods will
was to be done. By our work with our neighbors,
by our interest in fields afar, we may in a
very definite way speed the day when Gods
will shall be done in the earth.
There is, however, a very
personal application of this prayer that is of
more importance than anything we can do for
others. That is accepting Gods will for
ourselves. If we do this and our life becomes a
God-directed life, He will be enabled to use us
in ways we do not now understand or think
possible. In the abstract, it is easy to pray,
Thy will be done. Are we willing to
make it personal?
It must have been a
momentous disappointment for Moses when he was
put aside and not permitted to enter the Promised
Land and Joshua was given his place. He pleaded
for permission to go in and see the land, but his
prayer was denied. Deuteronomy 3: 23-27. As
for Joshua, God said to Moses, encourage
him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over
before the people, and he shall cause them to
inherit the land. Verse 28.
Moses bowed to the will of
God, and on His behalf he gave Joshua the
son of Nun a charge, and said, be strong and of
good courage: for thou shalt bring the children
of Israel into the land which I sware unto them:
and I will be with thee. Deuteronomy 31:23.
Moses did not enter the earthy Canaan; he died
and God raised him from the grave in immortal
Elijah must have been much
discouraged when after the great day on Mount
Carmel, where he did mighty exploits for God and
won a signal victory, God rebuked him for his
cowardly flight from Jezebel, and told him to put
his mantle on Elisha. However, he did not murmur.
When he found Elisha, he cast his mantle
upon him. 1 Kings 19:19.
However, God had not
forsaken Elijah. He and Elisha worked together,
until Elisha was fully able to take over the
work. Then one day, as they walked along together
talking together, behold, there appeared a
chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted
them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a
whirlwind into heaven. 2 Kings 2:11. Elijahs
work on earth was done; so God took him to
It must have been hard for
Paul, the active and energetic one, to sit still
in prison day after day and year after year. In
the midst of a busy and useful life he was placed
on the sidelines, his work apparently done,
though he was still in the strength of manhood
and planning a worldwide work. Alternatively, was
his work done? No, God was merely changing his
work. He had been so busy traveling and preaching
that he had not had time to do the writing God
wanted done. There was yet a great deal of the
New Testament to be written, and Paul was the man
to do it. However, he was too busy. He needed
quietness and freedom from the care of the
churches. Therefore, God arranged for him a time
of quietness, and Paul immediately went to work.
By writing fourteen of the twenty-seven books of
the New Testament, he doubtless did more good
that he did during his active ministry.
Paul was willing to be set
aside, and in his retirement he did a mighty work
for God. He had learned in whatever state he was,
therewith to be content.
What shall we say of John
the Baptist? He had done a valiant work for God
in preparing the way for Christ, and now that
this work was done, he was consigned to prison
and apparently forgotten. Did envy and jealousy
fill his heart with discontent as a greater One
had taken his place? No, a thousand times No.
John said, He must increase, but I must
decrease. John 3:30. Had Jesus forgotten
him? Among them that are born of woman
there hath not risen a greater than John the
Baptist. Matthew 11:11.
It is not easy to say,
Thy will be done, when one is set
aside. However, the men we have mentioned had
learned the lesson. Therefore, Moses and Joshua
appeared together, and Moses strengthened and
encouraged Joshua. Elijah and Elisha walked and
talked together, and the younger man was
instructed by the older. Paul willingly changed
his work and accomplished more than ever.
Moreover, John cheerfully stepped aside when the
greater than he appeared. All these accepted Gods
way, though it must have cost some of them great
sorrow. All of them learned one of lifes
greatest lessons, to bow to disappointment, to
say, Thy will be done, and cheerfully
do what God had for them to do. It is not easy to
be set aside. However, this is the part of the
program of life. He that can bow to the will of
God, who can say from the heart, Thy will
be done, may be set at another task where
he can still serve.
There may be those among the
readers who have been set aside and resent it.
Let us repeat: This is part of life, a lesson
that all must learn. There may be wives who have
been put aside and are passing through the
experience of loneliness and of not being wanted.
There may be grandparents who once had a happy
home where all were welcome. Now they are given a
rocking chair in a corner and are given to
understand that they are not to make themselves
too prominent when company comes.
There are those who have
held high office in state or church or
institutions. Their counsel, which once was
sought eagerly, is not in demand any more; they
are outdated. The shock is almost unbearable for
It is easy enough to say
that Gods will be done, when all goes well.
However, it is not easy to say this when a loved
one is on the deathbed and hope is gone. It is
not easy to say it when we are personally
involved, when we are incapacitated and feel we
are in the way and our usefulness is at an end.
It was not easy for Christ to say it in
Gethsemane. However, He did say it, and a world
disappointments are a part of life and an
important part. For in the darkness God may be
hid. If we relate ourselves rightly to reverses
and dis-appointments, they may become
His-appointments. If we accept the
disappointments as ordered or permitted by God we
may see Gods will being done in our
reaction. Therefore let all pray, Thy will
be done in me.
Give Us This Day Our
This petition does not ask
for luxuries, but for bread, the barest
necessities of life. The historian Gibbon, in
recording one of the many famines in olden times,
makes the observation that some of the delicate
ladies in Rome learned for the first time how
little it took to sustain life.
They had feasted on
nightingales tongues and other delicacies,
and now they were happy to get a crust of bread.
This is a good lesson to learn. Paul says, Having
food and raiment let us be therewith content.
1 Timothy 6:8.
Gods promise does not
include palatial homes, rich appointments, and
all the latest conveniences. While we would not
exclude these under appropriate circumstances,
they are not included in Christs prayer. In
it, we ask for bread.
God does not frown on
riches. If we have honestly acquired some of the
good things of life, and if we use them rightly,
we thank God for them. Job was the richest man in
all the East, and God blessed him. Abraham was a
rich man, and so were David and Solomon.
God is not against riches,
but against their misuse. Men who have riches and
look down on others who have not, men who forget
that it is God who gives power to obtain wealth
and that they are not owners but stewards of
their possessions, men forget that a part of what
they have God requires of them, men who forget
their brothers need and close their eyes to
the cry of the world such will find it
hard to enter heaven. It is easier for a camel to
go through the eye of a needle than for them to
gain eternal life. Matthew 19:24.
In daily bread we are
justified in including not only bread to sustain
life, but such things as shelter, clothing,
health, and also for the mind and, of course,
spiritual needs. Many people of the world need
bread, many are undernourished, and children
suffer for want of that which we waste. A
terrible responsibility rests upon those who
have, who store up, who waste while others
starve. This holds for nations and individuals.
However, great as the need is for temporal food,
we must admit that there is a great need for
intellectual and spiritual nourishment. In some
respects, this need is even greater.
The prayer for bread
furnishes an excellent illustration of how God
answers prayer. We ask for bread, and then we
work in the sweat of our face to provide it
ourselves. Even though Christians believe in
prayer, no one would think of asking God to
furnish food without any effort on the part of
the one who prays. Even when God sent manna from
heaven, the Israelites had to go out and gather
it. God did indeed send ravens with food for
Elijah, and God can do the same today; but this
is not Gods ordinary way of working.
It is just as consistent to
ask God for bread and expect Him to bring it to
our door, as to ask God for any other blessing a
hand to help ourselves. The fact that we in most
instances are to answer our own prayers needs to
be impressed upon all. We may ask God to convert
the heathen; but if so, we are not to look the
other way when the collection plate is passed.
God helps those who help themselves and
To those who are religious
but unconcerned about their brothers
temporal needs, God sends a warning. Cry
aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a
trumpet, and show My people their transgression,
and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek
Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a
nation that did righteousness, and forsook not
the ordinance of their God: they ask of Me the
ordinances of justice; they take delight in
approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted,
they say, and Thou seest not. Wherefore we have
afflicted our soul, and Thou takest no knowledge?
Isaiah 58: 1-3.
The people who make the
complaint that God takes no notice of them are
religious people. They fast and afflict their
souls, but God does not hear. They seek God daily
and delight in approaching to God.
And still God does not hear their prayers. They
think He ought to. They pray daily.
What is wrong with them? In
His answer, God tells them wherein they fail.
They pray and afflict their souls, they fast and
keep the ordinances of God, but God ignores them.
They do not keep the right kind of fast. Then
God tells them what to do. They fast to be seen
of men. They go with bowed heads and spread
sackcloth and ashes under them. Wilt thou
call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the
Lord? asks God. Verse 5. Is not this the
true fast, God said, to deal thy bread to
the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are
cast out to thy house [not to the poorhouse or
some public institution]? When thou seest the
naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide
not thyself from thy own flesh? Verse 7.
Gods further demands are to loose the
bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens,
and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye
break every yoke. Verse 6.
This calls for personal work
for the needy and oppressed, not merely for a
donation, even though it be liberal. It calls for
social justice and the breaking of every yoke.
Most of all, God wants His people to get in
personal contact with the needs of the world. It
is not enough to abstain from foods when the
larders are full. It is rather to empty the
larders and give to the needy so that nothing is
left for the giver himself. God delights in that
fast. There is no virtue in going without food
when there is an abundance in the house. However,
to give thy bread to the hungry
that is real fasting.
If we do this, God promises
many blessings. God will hear our prayers. Then
shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer
If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and
satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light
rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the
noonday: thy soul in drought, and make fat thy
bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water, whose waters fail
not. Isaiah 58: 9-11.
In these verses, God reveals
some reasons why prayers are not answered. We
have not considered the needs of others, as we
should. We have prided ourselves on what we have
done, and cannot understand why God does not hear
our prayers. Why does God not give more signal
answers to our prayers? Why does He not hear our
prayers for healing? Why does He not hear our
prayers for conversations? Why are so many of our
young people slipping away? Why are there so many
divorces? Why is there such small attendance at
the prayer meetings?
Why, why, why, why? We have
given, we have worked, we have prayed. Why does
God not hear? It would be well to study carefully
and playfully the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah.
In that chapter, there is light for Gods
people at this time. There is more religion in a
loaf of bread and a bottle of milk than in the
most profound lecture on predestination or in a
discussion of the identity of the king of the
Christ mixed religion and
practical Christianity. He preached to the
people, and He fed the multitude. He did not
prepare a banquet for them; He just gave them
what was on hand, loaves and fishes. However,
they had enough and to spare. Matthew 15:32-39;
15:21. It may be supposed that many of those He
fed were unworthy. They were more interested in
the loaves and the fishes than the preaching.
John 6:26. However, this did not deter Christ
from feeding them; He ministered to the body as
well as the soul.
Some will wonder why we
should ask God for bread, when others do not ask
and yet have as much as those who ask. In fact,
some of those who do not ask have more than those
who pray. Why, then, ask?
In asking for bread, we
recognize our dependence upon God, not only for
bread, but also for our very existence. It is
customary in accepting an invitation of
hospitality to express our thanks to the host.
Can we do less to God, the Giver of all good
things? All may not thank God; but whether they
do or not, God will send sunshine and rain, and
through His divine alchemy transform the life of
the seed into the life of a soul, capable of
thinking, of willing, of doing, a candidate for
immortality. Shall such bountiful liberality go
unrecognized? If it is crude and boorish to
neglect to thank a host, can it be any less to
fail to thank God? However we treat Him, He will
still provide for us. However, He would
appreciate being recognized as the Giver.
As it is necessary to have
food for the body, so also is it necessary to
have food for the mind. Without physical food the
body would shrivel up and death, ensue. So with
the mind. It needs proper food to prosper.
The human mind is a
wonderful instrument. We need to consider the
inventions of the last few decades to have this
demonstrated. Time and again men have wondered if
the human race would not arrive at the ultimate,
where there would be no new fields to explore, no
more knowledge to be gained, no more things to be
invented. That outlook has entirely changed. Men
have come to the point where they see unlimited
work before them, vast fields that are calling
for exploration. Their work is only well begun.
With the conquering of Mount Everest, men began
to look still higher and are seriously
considering communications with other worlds, and
even visits to them. As in the days of the Flood,
when men decided to build a tower that would
reach to heaven, so men are having great
celestial projects in mind. Why not create a few
satellites and set them encircling the earth,
constituting bases from which expeditions might
be launched to reach some other planets?
Will God permit men to go
just so far, as He did in the days of the Tower
of Babel, and then bring about confusion at the
time when men are ready to climb to heaven?
As science marches on and
reveals the capacity of the human mind, the evil
one is at work, turning much of the knowledge
gained into destructive channels. Some scientist
have been perverted so as to destroy faith in a
Creator, have substituted evolution for creation,
and have made both the Creator and the Savior
Some men are making weapons
to destroy mankind; others are propounding
theories that destroy belief in God. It would
seem that mankind is nearing the end of the road
and that soon God will step in and take charge.
It is high time for God to work.
Through the three great
agencies of the press, radio and television, the
information and knowledge are now being
disseminated at an unprecedented pace. Their
possibilities for good are almost unlimited, and
the future may see even greater progress.
There are serious doubts,
however, that present developments warrant an
optimistic appraisal of their eventual value to
society. A drastic change must take place. Can
the coming generations, the children of today and
the leaders of tomorrow, remain unaffected by the
persistent portrayal of crime, lust, and murder?
Can their intellectual diet of pulp magazines;
cheap pornographic literature, corrupting novels,
Sunday funnies, and sex exposures
develop the kinds of fathers and mothers or
leaders that the world needs? Is the screen
justifying its existence as a builder of manhood
and a trainer of citizens? The legitimate
stage had this redeeming feature: The admission
price was too high for children. However, the
screen has no such impediment. Therefore, we may
see queues of children of tender age, waiting to
be admitted to shows that should never see the
light of day. Garbage is not good food for
growing children, nor for adults.
It seems quite inconsistent
for a government to enforce strict supervision
over the food supply of a nation, by means of
pure food and drug departments and then permit
men to fill the minds of the children with filth,
swill from unclean reservoirs.
Has God given the church the
means to counteract this evil, at least as far as
its own children are concerned, or are we
helpless against these corrupting practices?
Unless the church becomes fully awake to the
danger of these modern inventions and takes
adequate measures to save our children, the loss
will be great. A world conflagration demands
heroic countermeasures. To a prophet of old,
sensing a crisis came the message, Let the
priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between
the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare
thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage
to reproach, that the heathen should rule over
them: wherefore should they say among the people,
Where is their God? Joel 2:17.
The enemy has entered our
homes; he is enthroned in the living rooms; he
gathers the whole family together and shows them
alluring pictures. He adapts his pictures to the
mental capacities of the little ones, nor does he
forget the older members. Mealtime is changed;
bedtime is changed; the worship hour is adjusted;
children refuse to go to bed until they have seen
their favorite production. All are entranced. A
telephone call is an unwanted interruption; a
visitor is a disturbance; all are immoveable
until the hour is past. And by the time, all are
unfitted for worship. Never before has such
corruption been permitted in the homes, and never
before has the danger to the young been so great.
The time has come to weep between the porch and
the altar, and do something. Who will show
Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth
out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4. Man
needs daily bread to sustain life; he needs food
for his mind; but most of all he needs spiritual
food for his soul. He needs the true bread
from heaven. John 6:32.
The Jews to whom Christ was
speaking did not comprehend what He was saying;
so, He explained further: The Bread of God
is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth
life unto the world. I am the Bread
of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger;
and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.
John 6: 33,35. It is that bread on which Job
says, I have esteemed the words of His
mouth more than my necessary food. Job
The Jews still did not
understand, so Christ explained further, I
am the living Bread which came down from heaven:
if any man eat of this bread, he shall live
forever: and the bread that I will give is My
flesh, which I will give for the life of the
world. John 6:51. Many therefore of
His disciples, when they had heard this, said,
this is a hard saying; who can hear it?
From that time many of His disciples went
back, and walked no more with Him. Verses
It seems strange that many
of His disciples had so little spiritual
conception of Christs word that they should
become offended and walk no more with Him. Yet,
many today seem equally dull of perception. They
are so engrossed in the things of this world that
spiritual things are a closed book to them.
Whether they know it or not, they need food for
the soul even more than they need food for the
The Bible is our chief
source of spiritual food. There are green
pastures and the still waters. There our soul may
be restored. There the table is spread in the
presence of enemies. There we may safely rest,
and we will have no want.
We may find spiritual food
at the Communion table, in the hour of divine
worship, in quiet meditation and prayer. We may
find it in the family circle as in morning and
evening worship the incense of Christs
righteousness ascends with the prayer to the
throne of God; we find it in the devotional books
indited by God; we find it in reverent
contemplation of Gods handiwork in nature,
in the heavens above and in the earth beneath. We
find it in the communion of the saints, in the
ministry of the needy, at the bedside of a loved
one. We find it as we face lifes dark
moments, as we give spiritual consolation to one
entering the valley of the shadow of death.
For the devout soul, there
are spiritual values everywhere. And we may have
them if we ask for them in the name of Him who
taught us to pray, Give us this day our
The Bible is the most
wonderful textbook in the world, adapted to all
classes of people everywhere. The untutored
aborigines and the learned scholar can there find
spiritual food and consolation. In it can be
found the A B C of godliness and the deepest and
most profound problems of existence. It is a
textbook that can never be exhausted. In school,
we may graduate from one class to another and
find a little harder textbook as we advance.
In the Bible we also
advance, but the textbook is the same,
miraculously adapted to every man, whatever his
standing or attainment. While the practice of
some to read the Bible through as often as
possible is commendable and much good may be
gained, this should not be the ordinary or only
procedure. It is like going through the country
in an automobile at sixty miles an hour and
viewing the landscape. This is good, and a
general birds-eye view may be had and much
of beauty seen. However, it is well to stop once
in a while, get out, and look at the flowers, a
waterfall, a Grand Canyon, a cliff dwelling, a
dam, a secluded valley or the Great White
Throne. It is well to rest awhile in the
cool shade of the majestic trees from of old, or
delight in the bloom of the desert.
We are not depreciating the
practice of reading the Bible through even many
times. However, neither must we miss the joy of
finding a rose in the desert, or the beauty of
heaven in a little lake, or the sweet
companionship of saints as we journey along.
In Pauls letter to the
Hebrews, he took the believers to task for not
studying, as they ought. When for the time
ye ought to be teachers, ye need that one teach
you again which be the first principles of the
oracles of God; and are become such as have need
of milk, and not of strong meat. Hebrews
This was a serious rebuke to
the church. Ye ought to be teachers.
This may be true of many today. They have not
improved their talent; have not advanced in the
truth, as they ought. They have need of milk,
when they should be ready for more solid food.
Everyone that useth
milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness.
Verse 13. There is indeed a sincere milk of
the word; but it is for babes, that
ye may grow thereby. 1 Peter 2:2. A little
babe is wonderful, but a sixty-two-year-old babe
is not. Such a one needs to be weaned and learn
to feed himself and masticate his food, not
depending on others to do it for him. If he is
ever to grow up, he must learn to tackle hard
problems in his study. Note these instructions:
The study of the Bible
demands our most diligent effort and persevering
thought. As the miner digs for the golden
treasure in the earth, so earnestly,
persistently, must we seek for the treasure of
In daily study the
verse-by-verse method is often most helpful. Let
the student take one verse, concentrate the mind
on ascertaining the thought that God has put into
the verse for him, and then dwell upon the
thought until it becomes his own. One passage
thus studied until its significance is clear is
of more value than the perusal of many chapters
with no definite purpose in view and no positive
Everyone should seek to
understand the great truths of the plan of
salvation, that he may be ready to give an answer
to everyone who asks the reason for his hope. You
should know what caused the fall of Adam, so that
you may not commit the same error, and lose
heaven as he lost Paradise. You should study the
lives of the patriarchs and prophets, and the
history of Gods dealing with men in the
past; for these things were written for our
admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are
come. We should study the divine precepts,
and seek to comprehend their depth. We should
meditate upon them until we discern their
importance and immutability. We should study the
life of the Redeemer, for He is the only perfect
example for men. We should contemplate the
infinite sacrifice of Calvary, and behold the
exceedingly sinfulness of sin and the
righteousness of the law. You will come from a
concentrated study of the theme of redemption
strengthened and ennobled. Your comprehension of
the character of God will be deepened; and the
whole plan of salvation clearly defined in your
mind, you will be better able to fulfill your
Forgive Us Our Debts
When Christ took our sins
upon Himself, died, and thus paid our debt, we
became indebted to Him. The price He paid for our
redemption was so great that we can never repay
it. In addition, He does not expect us to.
However, He does expect us to recognize it and
express our willingness to do all we can to show
our appreciation. Moreover, on some of the gifts
He has given us He requires that we pay interest.
In his letter to the
Corinthians, Paul enunciated a principle
according to which God works, and which is most
comforting. He said, If there be a willing
mind, it is accepted according to that a man
hath, and not according to that he hath not.
2 Corinthians 8:12.
Paul had been collecting
money for the poor in Jerusalem. A year had
passed, and some of the pledges were not yet
paid. He encouraged them to finish the task,
saying, Now therefore perform the doing of
it; that is, pay up, that as there
was a readiness to will, so there may be a
performance also out of that which we have.
They had been slow in
paying, and even now some were unable to pay all
they had promised; but, he said, pay out of
that which ye have; that is: If you cannot
pay the whole sum now, pay what you can, and it
will be accepted according to that a man
hath, and not according to that he hath not.
This was most liberal and gracious.
In harmony with this
statement is the following quotation, given also
elsewhere: when it is in the heart to obey
God, when efforts are put forth to this end,
Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as mans
best service, and He makes up for the deficiency
with His own divine merit. E.G. White,
Signs of the Times, June 16, 1890.
While we can never pay the
debt we owe, we can recognize it and make known
to the world that the debt is paid for us and for
them, that God was in Christ, reconciling
the world unto Himself, not imputing their
trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us
the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are
ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech
you by us: we pray you in Christs stead, be
ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be
sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be
made the righteousness of God in Him. 2
As We Forgive Our
The great debt we owe to God
was incurred in the forgiveness of sin that
necessitated the death of Christ on the cross.
All have sinned. Romans 3:23. This
means that we have sinned, that I have sinned. In
His fathomless love, God forgave us all, and we
are free from condemnation and have passed from
death unto life. Should not this fill our hearts
with thanksgiving and joy?
However, there is one
important condition on which this forgiveness
depends: We are forgiven our sins only as we
forgive others fully and freely. God has forgiven
us; now we are to forgive others. If we
forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly
Father will also forgive you: but if we forgive
not men their trespasses, neither will your
Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew
This forgiveness is to be
extended to those who have offended us, whether
they ask for forgiveness or not. If they do not
come to us to ask forgiveness, we are to go to
them. If thou bring thy gift to the alter,
and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught
against thee [not that you have aught against
him]; leave there thy gift before the altar, and
go thy way; first to be reconciled to thy
brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Matthew 5:23,24. If you have committed one wrong
and they twenty, confess that one as though you
were the chief offender.
Once Peter asked Christ how
often he should forgive his brother. To this
Jesus answered, Until seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:21,22. Jesus then spoke a parable
about forgiveness, emphasizing that forgiveness
of our own sins depends on our forgiving those
who have sinned against us.
Therefore is the kingdom of
heaven likened unto a certain king, which would
take account of his servants. And when he had
begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which
owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as
he had not to pay, his Lord commanded him to be
sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he
had, and payment to be made. The servant
therefore fell down, and worshiped him, saying,
Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee
all. Then the lord of that servant moved with
compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the
debt. But the same servant went out, and found
one of his fellow servants, which owed him an
hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took
him by the throat, saying, pay me that thou
owest. And his fellow servant fell down at his
feet, and besought him, saying, have patience
with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would
not: but cast him into prison, till he should pay
the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what
was done, they were very sorry, and came and told
unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord,
after that he had called him, said unto him, O
thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that
debt, because thou desirest me: shouldest not
thou also have had compassion on thy fellow
servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord
was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors,
till he should pay all that was due unto him. So
likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto
you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone
his brother their trespasses. Matthew
No one can misunderstand the
lesson of this parable. The servant had been
forgiven much showed an unforgiving and cruel
attitude toward the one who owed him a small sum;
and though he had already been forgiven and his
great debt marked paid, the judgment was reversed
and he was condemned to pay all that he owed.
This parable teaches clearly
that we are forgiven only as we forgive, and that
it is useless to ask to have our sins forgiven
unless we from the heart forgive
those who have sinned against us.
God has entrusted to all men
one or more talents for which we are held
responsible. They constitute a debt on which He
expects us to pay interest. This is clearly
taught in this parable:
For the kingdom of
heaven is as a man traveling into a far country,
who called his own servants, and delivered unto
them his goods. And unto one, he gave five
talents, to another two, and to another one; to
every man according to his several ability; and
straightway took his journey. Then he that had
received the five talents went and traded them
with the same, and made them another five
talents. And like wise he that had received the
two, he also gained another two. However, he that
had the one talent went and digged in the earth,
and hid his lords money. After a long time
the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth
with them. And so he that had received the five
talents came and brought another five talents,
saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five
talents: behold, I have gained beside them five
talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done,
thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been
faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler
over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy
lord. He also, that had received two talents came
and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two
talents: behold, I have gained two other talents
beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done,
good and faithful servant; thou hast been
faithful over a few things, I will make thee
ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy
of thy lord. Then he which had received the one
talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou
art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not
sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in
the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His
lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and
slothful servant, thou knowest that I reap where
I sowed not, and gathered where I have not
strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my
money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I
should have received mine own with usury.
Take therefore the talent
from him, and give it unto him which hath ten
talents. For unto everyone that hath shall be
given, and ye shall have abundance: but from him
that hath not shall be taken away even that which
he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant
into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and
gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:14-30.
In the parable, he that
received five talents gained another five, and he
was told, Well done. Each had been
given the number of talents he could use, according
to his servants ability. The Lord did not
expect a return of five talents from the one who
had been given two. On the other hand, He would
not have been satisfied with a return of two
talents from the one who had been given five.
The man who had received one
talent did not attempt to improve it, but buried
it in the earth. We are not told the reason for
his failure to trade with it. He might have
thought that it was small and did not matter. He
may have been discontented wit receiving only one
talent when the others received more. From the
fact that he called the master a hard man, we may
presume that he felt unjustly treated. Had he
improved his one talent, he doubtless would have
received another one, with the commendation of
the master, Well done.
The excuse he gave was,
I knew thee that thou art an hard man
And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in
the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
This was a lame excuse. Had he really thought
that the Lord was a hard master, should he not
have been the more anxious to get his good will
by paying him back with interest? He was not
What are these talents? They
are skills with which God has endowed men, the
inclinations, the capacities, the aptitudes which
make one man a poet, another an author, another a
preacher, another a carpenter, another a
counselor, another a watchmaker. As related to
the church, one has the gift of song, another of
playing instrumental music, another of
storytelling for the children, another for
teaching a class, another of doing Dorcus work,
another visiting, another of arranging flowers,
another of giving chalk talks. One
who may not be able to sing a solo can join the
choir and do his part. Everyone can do something.
Everyone has at least one talent. And note: It
was the one who had only one talent who did not
use it and hence lost it. So, let the one-talent
man beware! Let him not bury his talent. If he
had done so, let him dig it up and use it. It is
not enough to be a church member. Everyone can do
something, however lowly the task, and be blessed
in doing it. As he does the best, he can, as a
reward God may give him another talent, which
will increase his work and his blessings.
In 1 Corinthians 12: 8-11,
Paul gives this list of talents: To one is
given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to
another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
to another faith by the same Spirit; to another
the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to
another the working of miracles; to another
prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to
another divers kinds of tongues; to another the
interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh
that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to
every man severally as He will.
Later in the same chapter he
says this: God hath set some in the church,
first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly
teachers, after that miracles, then the gift of
healings, helps, governments, diversities of
tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are
all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have
all the gifts of healings? Do all speak with
tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly
the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more
excellent way. Verses 28-31.
Among the great gifts here
mentioned, note the little word helps.
There are those who are not gifted to lead out in
various enterprises, but are excellent help. They
may not think they are doing anything vital, just
helping along. However, that may be
very important at times. We are constantly
hearing the call for leaders, and these are
needed. But it is just as true that we need
followers, men who are willing to fill in,
playing second fiddle, doing small
menial tasks that need to be done. For a while
Elisha, who later became a great prophet, did
little else than pour water on the hands of
Elijah. 2 Kings 3:11.
Every man shall
receive his own reward according to his own
labor. 1 Corinthians 3:8.This means that
every man can determine his own reward, and that
this will be according to his work. He can
determine to do a great work in his line, and
receive a great reward; or to do but little, and
receive a small reward. Let no one, therefore
bury his talent. Do not evade responsibility. If
you are asked to take a position, consider the
matter, someone has confidence in you that you
can do the work or soon grow into it. Pray over
it, but be sure your prayers are not biased.
Moreover, be sure not to bury your talent in the
ground, however small the talent may seem.
Christians are in debt to
the world in a sense different from that which we
have discussed. Of this Paul said, I am
debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians;
both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much
as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to
you that are at Rome also. Romans 1:14,15.
Every Christian ought to do
his share of the worlds work. He ought to
be a good citizen, obey the law, honor the
government, pay his taxes, and take part in
endeavors he can honestly support. There are too
many of these for him to be active in all, but he
can choose one or more and do his honest share.
The Bible direction is:
To do your own business, and to work with
your own hands, as we commanded you. 1
Thessalonians 4:11. In his next letter he added,
this we commanded you, that if any would
not work, neither should he eat. That is,
Christians should not live on others,
as some evidently tried to do in Thessalonica.
Paul was not in the habit of commanding his
hearers. However, in this instance, he commanded
that if any will not work, neither should he eat.
Christians must justify the protection they get
from the government. They must do their part in
every good word and work.
However, aside from this
civil responsibility, they owe a debt to the
world, of which Paul spoke when he said he was a
debtor to all men. The Christian has something
the world does not have, the gospel and this he
should share with them.
Paul felt keenly the burden
of that debt. He knew what awaited him in Rome:
opposition, imprisonment, death; but this did not
deter him. He owed Rome a debt, and he must pay
it, whatever it might mean to him personally.
Therefore, Paul went to Rome.
We owe a debt as surely as
Paul did. This accounts for foreign missions.
Paul did not confine his work to his own circle.
He had a world vision. He took Isaiahs
statement literally, that it was too light a
thing for him to minister to Israel only, to
restore the preserved of Israel, to
minister to those who already were in the church.
God said, I will also give thee for a light
to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation
unto the end of the earth. Isaiah 49:6.
Paul accepted this responsibility.
Applying this principle to
the situation today, we find ourselves confronted
with a world task. Under these conditions, it is
too light a thing that we should confine our work
to our own neighborhood. It is well that we have
revivals to restore the preserved of
Israel. However, we must not devote an
undue portion of our time to work of that nature.
We must lift up our eyes and view the field. The
gospel must be sent to the entire world, and
precious talent must not be confined to hover
over the churches. We cannot all go to fields
afar, but we can all sacrifice; we can all pray.
To such as cannot go but gladly would if
circumstances permitted, this precious promise is
given, that as his part is that goeth down
to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth
by the stuff: they shall part alike. 1
Samuel 30:24. Blessed be God.
There are many who would
gladly go into public work if they were free to
do so. However, home duties hold them. There are
faithful mothers and wives who must stay at home
and are deprived of the joy of assisting their
husbands in soul-saving work. Let them be of good
courage. The Lord understands. He promises that
those who tarry by the stuff shall share with
them that go down to the battle. Wonderful
promise! If we get forgiveness for our sins only
upon condition that we forgive them that trespass
against us, the first thing we must do before we
ask forgiveness is to examine our own hearts to
ascertain if there are those we have not
forgiven. As is noted above, we are not to wait
until they come to us. We are to go to them.
Matthew 5:23,24. Christ considered this so
important that He said we are to leave our gift
at the altar and go first to see the brother, and
then bring the gift.
God commends prayer, and He
would have all men pray. However, there are times
when prayer must wait. Go first, He said,
and be reconciled with thy brother. If all
followed this advice, there would be love and
harmony in the church, and Christs promise
would be fulfilled, that If ye have love
one to another, then shall all men
know ye are My disciples. John 13:35.
Let the mind dwell for a
moment on this promise. We all desire to convince
the world of the truths we hold. We like to have
them be convinced that there are a people who
have Gods approval that have the truth for
this time. Can we ever do this? Yes. By
this shall all men know that ye are My disciples,
if ye have love one to another. This is the
This makes our duty and our
privilege clear. I must go to every brother with
whom I am at variance and be reconciled to him. I
must do this to have my own sins forgiven, and I
must do this to convince the world that I belong
with the people of God.
It is a sad commentary on
our Christianity that God finds it necessary to
remind us daily that we ate to put out of our
hearts all malice and hatred if we expect to
receive Gods pardon. No Christian has any
right to pray the Lords Prayer if he
harbors resentment against any. If he
nevertheless prays, he stands self-convicted by
his own prayer, for he asks only that God will
forgive him as he forgives. Let us therefore ask
God to help us pray rightly, For give us
our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Lead Us Not Into
Let no man say when he
is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot
be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any
man. James 1:13. If God does not tempt, who
Satan does. Then was
Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to
be tempted of the devil. Matthew 4:1.
He was there in the wilderness forty days,
tempted of Satan. Mark 1:13.
Man tempts himself. Every
man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own
lust, and enticed. James 1:14. Satan,
however, is the originator of mans
temptations. He presents some alluring temptation
to man, and man falls into the trap.
It should be noted that the
Bible also states that God tempts. It came
to pass after these things, that God did tempt
Abraham. Genesis 22:1. Is this statement a
contradiction of what James says above, that God
does not tempt? That God cannot be tempted
with evil, neither tempteth He any man?
We think not. James speaks
of being tempted with evil. Note also,
that the statement that God tempted Abraham, in
the margin has the reading, God did prove
Abraham. Paul, recording the event, said,
By faith Abraham, when he was tried,
offered up Isaac. Hebrews 11:17.
The Hebrew word for tempt
in genesis 22:1 is defined, test, put to
the test, tempt, try, and prove. An example
of the word is found in the record of Hezekiahs
sickness, when he made the mistake of showing all
his riches to the ambassadors from Babylon. The
record reads that God left him, to try him.
2 Chronicles 32:31. The word try is
the same Hebrew word translated tempt
in Genesis 22:1.
Tests and trials are
necessary for Gods people. Adam and Eve
were tested in the Garden of Eden. They failed.
Job was also tested. He stood the test. Job said,
He knoweth the way that I take: when He
hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Job 23:10. Abraham also stood the test; so
God tests His people to make
them stronger, to develop in them powers of
resistance. Daniel observed, Some of them
of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to
purge, and made them white. Daniel 11:35.
Many shall be purified, and made white, and
tried. Daniel 12:10. This kind of
test and trial is entirely different from Satans
temptation that he brings on for the purpose of
enticing men to sin. Job knew that he would come
forth from the trial as gold. Daniel said that
those who stand the test would be purified and
made white. On the contrary, when Satan tempts,
he hopes to cause men to sin. God tries men to
make them strong, to resist Satans
When God tests a man and
brings him into temptation, or gives the evil one
permission to do so, He closely watches Satan
that he does not go beyond the line God has set.
Satan may go just so far and no farther. Paul
puts it well when he says that God will not
suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation also make a way of
escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13. God knows how much we can
bear, and He will not permit Satan to go above
the limit. He will see us through, if we will but
trust Him. As Satan brings on one trial after
another, God watches carefully. And at the
precise moment He will say, Stop. And
As stated above, trails are
necessary for Gods people if they are to
acquire the necessary strength for complete
victory over sin. At this time in the worlds
history trials are necessary to prepare us for
the coming events that will try men to the
utmost. Gods promise is, Because thou
hast kept the word of My patience, I also will
keep thee from the hour of temptation, which
shall come upon all the world, to try them that
dwell upon the earth. Revelation 3:10.
The devil shall cast some of you in prison,
that ye may be tried. Revelation 2:10. But
the glorious promise is made, As thy days,
so shall thy strength be. Deuteronomy
33:25. Blessed is the man that endureth
temptation: for when he is tried, he shall
receive the crown of life. James 1:12. It
was with this in mind that James could say,
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall
into divers temptations; knowing this, that the
trying of your faith worketh patience. But let
patience have her perfect work, that ye may be
perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Verses
What, then, is the meaning
of the prayer when we are to ask God not to bring
us into temptation? We accept Pauls
explanation when he says that while God will
permit us to be tempted, He will not permit Satan
to tempt us above what we are able to bear. 1
Corinthian 10:13. The prayer means that we are to
ask God for strength to bear what He has for us,
that we not sink beneath the load. In the midst
of the trial, when it seems that we can bear no
more, we are to remember that God keeps watch
over us, that He also watches Satan, and that He
will permit just so much and no more. We may be
sure that God is on our side and will not forsake
us. In the dark hours we may look to God in faith
and assure ourselves that when He hath
tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Job
When we are passing through
trials we know that we are in the hands of God,
that He is observing us ands is carefully
measuring each stroke. We know that His purpose
is to try us, to purge us, and to make us white.
Daniel 11:35. We are to pray for the necessary
strength to bear what God permits and to have
faith that He will find the way of escape, as He
When Christ came to the hour
of His great trial, He offered up prayers
and supplications with strong crying and tears
unto Him that was able to save Him from death,
and was heard in that He feared. Hebrews
The prayer, Lead us
not into temptation, may therefore be
interpreted to mean, Lead us not into any
temptation harder that we can bear. This
prayer is according to Gods promise, and
will therefore be heard. When we are in the midst
of some great trial, we are to remember this
promise and this prayer and are to say, Lord,
Thou hast promised not to make the trial harder
that I can bear. I seem to be at the breaking
point, but I have faith, Lord, that Thou knowest
best. If Thou seest that I can bear a little
more, I believe Thy word and trust in Thy
strength. Lord, Thy will be done.
Lead us not into
temptation, is a prayer of trust and faith
in God. It is not Save me from this hour,
but Keep me in this hour.
Deliver Us From Evil
Instead of Deliver us
from evil, some translate, Deliver us
from the evil one. Since both readings are
permissible, and since the difference in this
case does not seem vital, we accept both
readings. We wish deliverance from evil, and also
from the evil one.
This is not a petition for
forgiveness. That is covered in the prayer,
Forgive us our debts. Nor is it
merely a prayer for deliverance from accidents
and other evil that lurks in the heart-evil
thoughts, evil words, and evil deeds. It is a
prayer for complete sanctification, deliverance
from all evil, power to overcome and live a holy
life. It is a prayer of one who wishes to heed
the command, Go, and sin no more.
We are convinced that
Christians do not make the distinction between
forgiveness of sin and deliverance from sin that
should be made. Forgiveness of sin operates after
sin has been committed; deliverance operates
before or rather it so operates that the sin will
not be committed. It will kept a man from sinning
rather than wait until the sin has been done and
then forgive it. It is the power of which Jude
speaks when he says that God is able to
keep you from falling, and to present you
faultless before the presence of His glory with
exceeding joy. Jude 24.
An illustration may here be
to the point. Years ago I heard a dialogue
between two children. They were discussing what
should be done with the money collected in the
Sabbath school. Should they use it for erecting a
fence, or should they buy an ambulance? To me it
seemed nonsense, for they had not enough money
for either. After awhile I began to understand
what they were after. They were telling of their
playground that was on a high hill with one side
that was very steep. Some of the children had
gone too near the edge, and one had fallen down
and broken a leg. Now the question was: To
prevent injury they should get an ambulance, or
should they erect a fence? They decided they
needed both, but that they might dispense with
the ambulance after they got the fence.
This childish story conveys
a deep lesson for Christians. It is a wonderful
to be forgiven. It is still more wonderful to be
kept from sinning. It is wonderful to have an
ambulance to take the injured to the place where
help can be found. It is more wonderful to have a
fence that will keep them from falling.
Spiritually, forgiveness is wonderful; the
greater power of God to keep from falling is
still more wonderful.
Let no one suppose that we
are thinking lightly of forgiveness. It is
surpassingly glorious that God can and will
forgive, even though we sin time and again. King
David said, Blessed is he whose
transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth
not iniquity, and in whose spirit is no guile.
Psalm 32:1,2. It is a blessed experience to have
our sins forgiven and covered, and to be clothed
with the garments of salvation.
Romans 4:7; Isaiah 61:10.
God illustrates this
wonderful experience in the parable of the
prodigal son whose father, on the homecoming of
the son, commanded, Bring forth the best
robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his
hand, and shoes on his feet. Luke 15:22. In
a moments time, the rags were all covered,
and the evidence of his former condition hid. The
fathers robe covered all.
This is symbolic of what
happens at conversion. The sinner comes to God,
wretched, and miserable, and poor, and
blind, and naked. Revelation 3:17. However,
God covers him with the garment of salvation,
clothes him with the robe of righteousness. His
sins are forgiven and covered. He has done
nothing to deserve this; it is all of grace. God
counts him righteous though he is still not
righteous. His sins are forgiven, but they are
still there, though covered. He has started on
the right road, and God imputes to him righteousness
without works. Romans 4:6. His sins are
forgiven, but the work is not finished. The sins
must be eradicated, not merely covered.
This work of eradication of
sin is the work of sanctification, and eventuates
in holiness. This is not the work of a moment, or
of a year, but of a lifetime. It begins, or
should begin, at conversion. The man has been a
drunkard. Now he stops drinking. He has been
immoral. Now he begins to live a moral life. He
has not always told the truth. Now he becomes
truthful. Each separate step is an advance toward
sanctification. He does not commit adultery and
then ask God for forgiveness. He does not steal
and then beg pardon. These former things have
passed away. He is a new creature in Christ
Jesus. He has not yet attained; he is not already
perfect. However, with Paul he follows after.
Philippians 3:12. He is perfecting holiness
in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1. He
is on the right road, and though he may not have
attained, God counts him righteous, and he will
have the crown of life though he may yet be far
from the perfect standard.
This experience is what some
call the victorious life, which does
not mean perfection or even a life above sin. For
sin may overtake such a one, but though he fall
he will rise again. A just man falleth
seven times, and riseth up again. Proverbs
24:16. Here some well-meaning persons may make a
mistake. They have been taught that a
Christian does not sin, and that is a good
doctrine. However, they have also been taught
that if they do sin, they are no longer
Christians. This is not true. John the beloved
said, My little children, these things I
write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man
sins: and not for ours only, but also for the
sins of the whole world. 1 John 2: 1,2.
John warns us not to sin. However, he did not say
that if we sin we are lost and are no more
Christians. He said that we still have an
The road to sanctification
is a long road, but one of continual progress.
Little by little, the sinner gains the victory
over sin. As far as he has come, so far he is
sanctified. He does not sin and carouse. He walks
softly before God. He has come a long way, but he
has not as yet perfected holiness. With Paul he
confesses: not as though I had already
attained, either were already perfect
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do, forgetting those things
which are behind, I press toward the mark for the
prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus
minded. Philippians 3:12-15.
We have come to the time
when God is ready to make a demonstration of what
He can do in human flesh. He proposes to present
to t he world a people without spot or blemish or
any such thing, a people that can stand in the
sight of a holy God without an intercessor. Such
a demonstration is long overdue. Long enough has
Satan challenged God to produce such a people,
and has sneeringly asked, Where are they
that keep the commandments of God and the faith
of Jesus? God will then produce them and
say, Here they are.
In the 144,000, God will
show that by His grace men can meet the standard
He has set. Satan will claim the demonstration is
possible only because God shields them and that
if he were given permission to test them they
would fall. During the Great Tribulation, God
will give permission to Satan, to test His first
fruits of the kingdom. The saints will be tried
to the utmost. It will seem at times that they
can endure no longer; but they will not fail.
With Job they will say, Though He slay me,
yet will I trust in Him. Job 13:15. God
will stand justified in His saints. In them, He
demonstrates that men can keep the commandments
of God under the most trying circumstances, that
the weakest of the weak can do it, even with
death staring them in the face. They demonstrate
that if this can be done with Satan bringing all
his power to bear on them to yield, there is no
excuse for any to have failed. They justify God
in His sayings.
To be delivered from evil
means deliverance from sin, full and complete
deliverance; it means sanctification perfected.
For this demonstration the whole creation
groaneth and travaileth in pain together until
now. Romans 8:22. The earnest
expectation of the creature [margin, creation]
waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God,
waits for the coming of that group that will
reflect the image of Jesus fully. Verse 19.
They will stand at last upon the sea of glass,
having His Fathers name written in
their foreheads. Revelation 14:1. I
saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire:
and them that had gotten the victory over the
beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and
over the number of his name, stand on the sea of
glass, having the harps of God. And they sang the
song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of
the Lamb, saying, Great and Marvelous are Thy
ways, Thou King of saints. Revelation
These have prayed the Lords
Prayer. They have asked to be delivered from evil
and the evil one. Moreover, deliverance has come.
They stand victorious on the sea of glass.
On this high note of
holiness and sanctification ends the last
petition in the Lords Prayer. Deliverance
from evil, victory over every besetment-perfected
holiness is the goal of God for man. And now it
is reached. God has made His demonstration; Satan
has been given his last chance to destroy Gods
people. He retires defeated from this last
conflict. God has conquered.
Thine Is the Kingdom,
and the Power, and the Glory
Luke omitted this entire
doxology, and the American Revised Version omits
it also in Matthew. As it is not found in the
older manuscripts, it may be a later addition.
However, as there is an introduction to the
prayer, it seems fitting that there should also
be a close. Without such a close, the prayer ends
abruptly. As it is a beautiful and dignified
ascription to God, and as Christendom in general
has adopted it, we do the same.
In the Scriptures God gives
to Christ all the glory; and likewise Christ
gives to the Father all honor. There appears to
be a most beautiful courtesy in the Godhead. In
the closing sentences of the Lords Prayer,
Christ gives all power and glory to the Father,
while in the first chapter of Hebrews God gives
all glory to the Son. As we have noted in our
remarks of the prayer, Christ informs us that He
does nothing of Himself. The Father tells Him
what to do and say, and the Son does it. In the
first chapter of Hebrews, God, the Father, calls
His Son both Lord and God and commands the angels
to worship Him. And so throughout the Bible.
In this closing section of
the Lords Prayer, Christ gives the Father
all the glory and power, and says that to Him
belongs the kingdom. We join Him in giving God
the glory. Amen.
Hebrews 8: 8,9. But
about the Son he says, Your throne, O God,
will last for ever and ever, and righteousness
will be the scepter of your kingdom. You
have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your
companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.
you see from the Lords Prayer the
seven different petitions that Jesus
directed to His Father and how important
it is to forgive others fully and
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