Author
Steven Long
Broken and healed; sinful and forgiven. His mercies are new every morning!
User since 2009
Steven's published pages
Even in the prophets, we see the gospel clearly proclaimed. Take heart and know that even long ago God planned to save a people unto Himself
Hosea 2:16-20
Idolatry is an act of unfaithfulness to Yahweh. His purpose of His people is that they know Him in an intimate way, forsaking all others.
Hosea 2:16-20
Do not be discouraged when you sin. God's promise to be with His people is not hindered by your sin, as we learn from Jacob
Genesis 28:10-15
God's promise to keep you secure lies not in your ability to perform or not perform, but in His good word
Genesis 28:10-15
Jesus' incarnation was not simply to come as God in the flesh. It was to fulfill the atonement for His people and be crushed by God.
Isaiah 53:1-6
Even our basic needs are no cause for anxiety. Jesus assures us that the Father will provide for His children from day to day
Matthew 6:25-34
What does believing and doubting have to do with prayer and receiving from God? EVERYTHING!
James 1:2-8
The believer's certainty is so sure that John stated it twice. God's love for His people is remarkable!
John 3:9-18
Humility is submitting to God, both in trials and in the Church
1 Peter 5:6-9
Paul's success in the gospel was due largely to the people's help. Do you stand behind those who minister to you?
Philippians 1:3-11
The resurrection gives a believer hope because he will be kept by a power greater than himself–God's own power.
1Peter 1:3-5
We receive everything of God "according to His great mercy." Everything hinges on this
1Peter 1:3-5
How do we fear God and love Him at the same time? The Psalmist has the answer
Psalms 147:10-11
Our salvation is the most precious thing we have. The prophets, apostles, and Holy Spirit all testify to it
1 Peter 1:10-12
The Incarnation of Christ is about more than just a manger. He is manifested for the joy of the world
1 John 1:1-5
Chaos is not always bad. God commands that we fully lean on Him. Israel's wanderings are a great example of good chaos.
Deuteronomy 8:1-5
A person who fancies their self religious but has no outward manifestation is one who is most deceived indeed.
James 1:26-27
Trials are only here for a little while; and then we are with Jesus. What a great comfort this should be to Christians!
1 Peter 1:1-9
God's holiness is fearful; His mercy is greater
Isaiah 6:1-7
Forget your checklist. Stop looking inside to find your justification and look to the cross for a clean conscience.
Galatians 3:1-7
God is the ultimate Blesser. We should focus less on our blessings and focus more on the Blesser Himself.
Ephesians 1:1-14
The goodness of God leads us to great philanthropic acts (good works) because He saved us from a life of sinful desires and attitudes.
Titus 3:1-8
Do you like stirring up trouble? Are you a person who likes to argue just for argument's sake? If so you may be in danger!
Titus 3:9-11
If you believe good works has nothing to do with Christianity, think again. Good works doesn't sanctify us but it proves our fruit.
Titus 3:12-15
Phrase.
Titus 3:1-8
Main point summary. Arc.
Ephesians 1:1-14
Arc.
Galatians 1:1-5
Arc.
1 Corinthians 2:6-9
It appears that the two main themes that flow out of this passage are: To His glorious praise.
Ephesians 1:3-9
  .
Ephesians 1:3-10
Inheritors of the Crown   Again, the glory of God and Christ are the central theme in this pass...
Ephesians 1:11-14
Context This section of Hebrews 11 deals specifically with the faith of Abraham.
Hebrews 11:8-19
  Note on 1c - One may ask why I consider 1c a concessive statement.
1 Peter 1:1-5
A Brief Synopsis 7a seems to be the ground for these four verses.
1 Peter 1:6-9
view all (35 total)
The Goodness of God in Caring for His People
Matthew 6:25-34
Worry & Anxiousness are the beginning signs of idolatry, even worry over our basic needs. Do you worry?
#Jesus
#God
#Idolatry
Published November 5th, 2017; Updated March 5th, 2018
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Note:
Phrase
General Overview
Verse 25: Life is Not About Your Needs
Verses 26-30: Nature's Carefree Attitude
Verses 31-33: Worry Is Idolatry
Verse 34: Today Will Be Tomorrow, Will Be Today
Wisdom, Works, and Worship
Prayer
notes
Note:
This is not a Phrase in the traditional sense. I wanted to show the synonymous/antithetical features with the colored blocks.
Phrase
editing
NT
Matthew 6:25-34
esv
Life Summarized (today's worries)
Life Is Not About Your Needs
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life,
what you will eat
Content
or what you will drink,
nor about your body,
what you will put on.
Apposition
Is not life more than food,
and the body more than clothing?
2 Examples from Nature (birds & flowers)
Nature's Carefree Attitude
Look at the birds of the air:
Example
they neither sow
Progression
nor reap
nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Concessive
Are you not of more value than they?
Advantage
Negative
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
. (I see this as synonymous to v.25 b/c it is still the "summary" of life)
And why are you anxious about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field,
how they grow:
Explanation
they neither toil
nor spin,
yet I tell you,
... even Solomon ... was not arrayed like one of these.
in all his glory
Context
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, ... will he not much more clothe you,
O you of little faith?
Accompianment
which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven,
Temporal
An Inference from Nature's Lessons (unholy people worry)
Worry Is Idolatry
Therefore do not be anxious,
saying,
‘What shall we eat?’
or ‘What shall we drink?’
or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the Gentiles seek after all these things,
Ground
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
Distinction
and all these things will be added to you.
Life Summarized (tomorrow's worries)
Today Will Be Tomorrow, Will Be Today
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
phrasing
General Overview
Jesus' three-fold statement, "Do not be anxious," dominates this passage. He begins with a summary of life: food & clothing, the very basic necessities of life. These are things are the content of the worry that Jesus forbids. Note, that this pericope is bookend with His two statements that summarize life, chiefly, worry today and worry tomorrow. Jesus begins this section right after His teaching on money and some commentators have stated this type of worry as idolatry or covetousness. Consider the following commentaries: Chrysostom: Having now, as you see, in all ways taught the advantage of contemning riches, as well for the very preservation of the riches, as for the pleasure of the soul, and for acquiring self-command, and for the securing of godliness; He proceeds to establish the practicability of this command. For this especially pertains to the best legislation, not only to enjoin what is expedient, but also to make it possible. Therefore He also goes on to say, “Take no thought for your life, 6 what ye shall eat... That is, lest they should say, “What then? if we cast all away, how shall we be able to live?” At this objection, in what follows, He makes a stand, very seasonably. For as surely as if at the beginning He had said, “Take no thought,” the word would have seemed burdensome; so surely, now that He hath shown the mischief arising out of covetousness , His admonition coming after is made easy to receive." (Homilies, pp. 147-48) Stott: "The ‘worldliness’ which Christians are to avoid can take either a religious or a secular shape... Secular people are preoccupied with the quest for food, drink and clothing . Christians are to be free of these slef- centered material anxieties and instead to give themselves to the spread of God’s rule and God’s righteousness." (Stott, Message from the Sermon on the Mount, p. 25) ECB (Evangelical Commentary on the Bible) "God’s slave has but one task—to obey him (v. 24); he depends on the Master to provide his needs (vv. 31–33). As one who has no rights, the slave joyously receives food and clothing and all the wonders of the natural world, as gifts from a Lord who is also his Father (vv. 26–33). Freed from bondage to money, he is able to enjoy the things that money can buy. Not so the slave of money: given the elusiveness and the vulnerability of his treasures, he is perpetually anxious (vv. 19–21, 31–32). He who rejects the true God for a false one (v. 24) loses this world as well as the next." (ECB, p. 730) I tend to agree with the commentary and reached this conclusion before consulting them. It is no accident that Jesus' teaching on worry, even about the basic needs of life, come directly after His teaching about serving God or money. Within these two pericopes we are presented with an alternative. We either have faith that God provides our needs or we stay in unbelief and spend our energies on the pursuit of "food and clothing."
Verse 25: Life is Not About Your Needs
His first anxious statement is a summary of life itself. Food and clothing are the very essentials needed to survive, yet He tells His disciples not to even be concerned with these things. He follows this up with a rhetorical question: "Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" The expected answer is "yes!"
Verses 26-30: Nature's Carefree Attitude
The next section presents us with two examples from nature. Birds are not anxious about their daily living. They have no need of sowing seed or reaping a harvest or storing their grain. They are care-free as opposed to Jesus' audience who are anxious. The contrast is sharp and meant as such. This is deduced by Jesus' concessive statement, "Are you not of more value than they?" His second illustration is concerning the flowers of the field. These particular type of flowers are probably wild flowers. They have not had any man plant or cultivate them, nor does anyone care for them to continue their existence. The contrast is that they are used for fuel for the ovens. The beautiful adornment of these flowers are compared as "greater dressed" than even Solomon, Israel's wisest and richest kings. But the fate of the flowers is not the fate of God's people. Jesus' next rhetorical question parallels the first. If God takes care of wild things and the has their existence extinguished "tomorrow in the oven," we have no cause that He will not clothe us. Jesus seems to be using the accepted Jewish method of teaching by arguing from the least to the greatest. If God takes great care in providing for the things in His creation surely He is ever watchful over His people.
Verses 31-33: Worry Is Idolatry
Verse 31 begins with an inference from Nature's lesson. The inference is restated from verse 25. Stop worrying about food, drink, and clothing. More than this, He now brings in the vain pursuit of these things by the Gentiles. This would surely be a sore rebuke to any self-respecting Jew, and especially to the Pharisees, who were lovers of money. It is seemingly a reference to idolatry, though some would say covetousness. Paul equates the two together in (Colossians 3:5). The Gentiles' chasing after the basics is sharply contrasted with God's people. They are to be concerned with seeking after God and His will as their priority. The basics will surely come, but it must not be with them. God's kingdom, that is His will on earth and heaven (Matt 6:9-13) are to be their top priority. note: I believe that the word 'fist' is speaking of priority rather than ordinal duty, though both are closely tied.
Verse 34: Today Will Be Tomorrow, Will Be Today
The final section is the bookend that closes this pericope. It is a restatement of Jesus' opening statement, but with an application. If you worry today, you will worry tomorrow, and it will be today's worries all over again. Tomorrow will have it's own problems. But these will be no other cause to worry because you have learned to pursue God and His kingdom and the righteousness that comes from such.
Wisdom, Works, and Worship
God is good. And He demonstrates this in the daily care of His people. Worry drains the soul of its priority to focus on its worship of God and be overly concerned about basic life needs. Jesus' teaching was to clarify that the Father is concerned about our needs. And because He takes great care in feeding the animals and providing the fields with a covering of beauty, He will surely provide for us. Worry shows forth in our spirits two things: (1) ungratefulness – being anxious is usually brought on by the fact that we do not possess enough or that we are not satisfied with what we have already been given. When we feel the need for more we begin to feed that craving. It may begin with the pursuit of basic things, or for most, more "comfortable" living. But it always ends with the chasing after greater things. (2) idolatry – these pursuits lead us to these false gods. They promise to fulfill our desires yet continue to lead us farther and farther into greed and covetousness. We ultimately "exchange our souls for the world" (Matt 16:26). As God's people our focus and anxiety (this word is used positively in 1Corinthians 7:34) should be directed on His affairs. When we do this we quickly find that our day-to-day concerns pale in comparison to the glory of serving God. Let us be resolved to understand God's goodness in providing our basic needs and stop pursuing the very things that unholy people pursue.
Prayer
Good Father, We know that you are good. We see your provision for us. We plead your grace to give us the resolve leave behind the daily worries and anxieties that seem to knock on our hearts. It is our own unbelief that causes us to doubt your goodness and turn us from you to the things of the world. It is our own greed that consumes our thoughts. Turn our hearts again to you, and to your kingdom, that we may truly be singular in our hearts and minds towards you. Let us praise you with song and word to show forth to the Gentiles that you are a good God, better than the god of materialism. Let us be consumed with your holiness for our brief time here upon this earth. Amen.
Comments
Gary Vilches
Wow! This beautifully executed. Well done!
Steven Long
Thank you Gary. I always appreciate the feedback :)
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.