The Book of Matthew

Thursday: Seek First His Righteousness

Matthew 6:25-34 In this week’s lessons, we learn that not only does Jesus warn us not to worry, but he also provides us with a cure in commanding us not to do it.
Theme
Seek First His Righteousness

The apostle Peter was one among many Christians who have learned this lesson. In the early days of his association with Jesus he was worried about many things. After he first had courage to walk upon the water he began to look at the waves and became so worried that he began to sink (Matt. 14:30). He was worried that Jesus might not pay taxes (Matt. 17:24ff.). At one point, He was anxious about who might betray Him (John 13:24). He was worried that Jesus might have to suffer and so rebuked Him on one occasion (Matt. 16:22), and sought to defend Him with a sword on another (John 18:10). Peter was a great worrier, but after he had come to know Jesus better he learned that Jesus was able to take care of him. Thus, toward the end of Peter’s life, in his first epistle he wrote to other Christians telling them that they were to live by “casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

In this verse the word “care” is the same word that we have in the Sermon on the Mount. The word “cast” is not the normal word for throwing something. It is a word that signified a definite act of the will by which we stop worrying about things and let God assume the responsibility for our welfare. Finally, the second word “care” in the phrase “he careth for you” is not the word “worry,” but literally means, “for He is mindful of you and your interests.” “God thinks about you!” That is what Peter means. That is what he had learned. And that is what God encourages you to learn also.

The final reason that Jesus gives us to teach us not to worry is one that appeals to experience. Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (v. 33). In other words, make it your business to seek God’s interests and follow His way, and see if all of your physical needs do not come to you effortlessly and without any necessity on your part of taking thought about them.

Do you know the bliss of that statement? Do you know its truth? If you do not, it may be that you have never had that hunger and thirst after righteousness that Jesus speaks of earlier in the Sermon, or the poverty of spirit that Jesus asks for in those who should inherit God’s kingdom. Remember Christ’s teaching recorded just a few verses earlier: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (vv. 19-21).

Study Questions
  1. In 1 Peter 5:7, what is the meaning of the word “cast”? Peter also uses forms of the word “care” in two different ways in this verse. What is the meaning of each one?
  2. What is the third lesson Jesus gives about not worrying?
Application

Application: How can you better seek first after God’s kingdom and righteousness?

Key Point: Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (v. 33). In other words, make it your business to seek God’s interests and follow His way, and see if all of your physical needs do not come to you effortlessly and without any necessity on your part of taking thought about them.

For Further Study: Download for free and listen to Donald Barnhouse’s two-part message, “Why Worry?” (part one) and “Why Worry?” (part two). (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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