We know from the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew Chapter 6 that God wants us to recognize Him on a daily basis as the source of our physical sustenance—“Give us this day our daily bread.” Today there are millions who are living in food survival mode. They can easily identify with Jesus’ statement. In contrast, it’s harder for those of us accustomed to three square meals a day (with the opportunity for snacking in-between) to relate to God in the same way. Though it’s hard to believe, this could change.
Recently in a dozen U.S. states more than 7 million turkeys and chickens have been killed as the result of a bird flu pandemic. Scientists are at a loss to explain the rapid spread of this plague.
Consider this! California is the source of nearly half of all the fresh produce grown in the entire country. However, because of its lengthy drought—with no end in sight—California is facing serious challenges.
In the Southwest a multi-year drought has reduced the size of the U.S. cattle herd to its smallest size since the 1950s. And in the last two years an epidemic of porcine diarrhea destroyed ten percent of the entire pig population. Add to these calamities the continuing reduction in the overall supply of sea creatures, the negative impact of citrus greening disease on the Florida citrus crop and the TR4 fungus plague affecting global banana production.
Yes, with our ingenuity, we have successfully faced crises before. However, we also know from Scripture that God often gives people warnings of impending disaster. We also see God’s mercy when they listen and repent.
For example, consider the wicked people of Nineveh. They responded to Jonah’s message of judgment. As I explain in Principle #4 in Jonah, p. 1209 in my Life Essentials Study Bible:
. . . the hearts of the people may have been prepared because of two terrible famines in 765 and 759 B.C. as well as a total solar eclipse on June 15, 763. To the superstitious, pagan Assyrians, those kinds of environmental phenomena indicated divine wrath. In other words, God may have used natural disasters to cause these people to be receptive to His warning of divine judgment through Jonah.
I know how easy it is to ask the blessing on a meal as a matter of routine. The next time we pray “Give us this day our daily bread,” let’s do so with a deep sense of appreciation for what God is providing. And let’s also pray for our nation that it will turn back to God’s will and ways.