Bible study for Nov. 4: Praying for Ourselves

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Matthew 6:11 (CSB—Matt. 6:11b); Isaiah 38:1-6, 15-17
Victor S. Lyons, pastor
Second Memorial Baptist Church, Perry

What are your needs today?

The phrase “daily bread” echoes Proverbs 30:8-9 where poverty and wealth are two conditions to be avoided at all cost. The wise teacher has witnessed the wealthy denying God and living self-confident in his riches. Moreover, he has witnessed those in poverty reduced to stealing thus profaning God’s name. He asks for daily provisions from the hand of God.

Since our first president, George Washington, many have witnessed the providential hand of God over our nation. We thank God for His blessings.

Daily bread can also be a symbol of all of our material needs. This requires a greater understanding of all of our needs.

Almost a century ago, Maslow’s 5-stage model presented a basic lists of human needs. These included (1) biological requirements for human survival (e.g. food, shelter, clothing, and sleep), (2) protection or security needs; (3) love and belonging needs, (4) esteem needs, and (5) self-actualization needs. Maslow mistakenly thought that an individual would not need to fulfill level 1 before moving on to fulfill level 2.

Maslow’s model was later revised to include eight categories of needs. The first four are unchanged: biological requirements, protection needs, love/belonging needs, and esteem needs. Added are five and six: (5) cognitive needs – the need for knowledge and understanding, curiosity, exploration, need for meaning and predictability; (6) Aesthetic needsappreciation and search for beauty, balance, form. The seventh need is from Maslow, namely self-actualization. And finally an eighth is added: (7) Transcendence needs – A person is motivated by values which transcend beyond the personal self (e.g., mystical experiences, aesthetic experiences, service to others, the pursuit of science or religious faith).

Each person is made in God’s image and has a richness of needs that reveal the true complexity of the created human personality.

God knows our needs better than we do!

Take your needs to God in prayer.
Matthew 6:11 (CSB—11b); Isaiah 38:1-3

This King Hezekiah story begins with a visit from the prophet Isaiah. The prophet delivers the word of the Lord which confirms Hezekiah’s terminally ill condition. He exhorts the king to put his affairs in order. Recovery is impossible!

However, King Hezekiah does not just give up. He turns his gaze from the prophet toward the wall and prays directly to God. He begs the Lord to remember how he had lived in an upright manner and has tried to please the Lord. Finally, his prayers are reduced to nothing more than the sound of bitter weeping.

Like King Hezekiah, we should turn to God with our need. He is our helper in time of trouble.

God graciously answers our requests in accordance with His will.
Isaiah 38:4-6

Isaiah’s unexpected second visit to King Hezekiah reverses all that was affirmed in the first. A keen awareness of Hezekiah’s emotional prayer and the renewed ancient commitment to David has prompted God to restore health to Hezekiah and to eliminate his premature death. Moreover, the Assyrians are to be halted and the city defended by God Himself. Like a faithful soldier, God will stand guard over the life of Hezekiah and the lives of his people.

A sign is given to Hezekiah; time is turned back—the sun’s shadow went back to ten steps on Ahaz’s stairway (cf. 2 Kings 20:1-11. Here King Hezekiah choses that time be turned back instead of running it forward.). Perhaps it is best if God decides when we need a sign. Meanwhile, we should be faithful to Scripture and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God will give us the confirmation that we need. He knows our every need before we ask (Matthew 6:32).

God answers in a way that benefits and strengthens us.
Isaiah 38:15-17

King Hezekiah’s great poem announces that God is in the healing business. His royal testimony adds public weight to the value of remaining faithful to God. For the next fifteen years, the king has the opportunity of being a moral example as he dedicates himself to a life of gratitude in the house of the Lord (verse 20).

Live it Out

Do not live on your circumstances of wealth or poverty. Place yourself in the care of the Lord.

Ask God to make you more aware of your emotional and spiritual needs which are essential to health and one-term success in life.

Pray for God to intervene when there is a need. He may directly or indirectly bring aid to our side.

 

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