Physical Sustenance

Continuing on our journey through the Amidah, we come to the tenth section, petitioning the Lord for deliverance from want:

Bless this year for us, O Lord our God,
together with all the varieties of its produce, for our welfare.
Bestow ([from the 15th of Nissan insert:] dew and rain for) a blessing upon the face of the earth.
O satisfy us with your goodness, and bless our year like the best of years.
Blessed are you, O Lord, who blesses the years.

The Israelites, still functioning in a mostly agrarian way of life, knew that the Lord caused the crops to grow and the animals to flourish, the rain to fall, and the earth to give forth its abundance.  All things come from His hand.  They had seen ample provision, and they had seen famine and scarcity.  They knew the Source of their provision.

The Israelites also were calling on the Lord to remember His promises He made to them:  “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.” (Leviticus 26:3-5)

Not only did the Lord promise to bless the Israelites’ crops if they followed His commands – He also promised to bless their animals and their families if they walked with Him:  “ If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors.  He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.  You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor will any of your livestock be without young.”  (Deuteronomy 7:12-14)

Notice the order of the sections of this prayer.  Before coming to the Lord with their requests, the Israelites first reminded themselves they serve a holy and righteous God, and then came before the Lord in repentance, confessed their sins, and asked the Lord’s forgiveness.

When the Israelites asked for deliverance from “want”, they were not talking about “want” as we know it today.  They were asking for His provision for daily necessities, like God provided manna for them in the desert – just enough for every day.  This is the same thing that Jesus prayed for when He taught His disciples to pray:  “Give us today our daily bread.”  (Matthew 6:11)

Do we remember our ultimate food source?  Do we thank Him for all our provisions each day – not just at the table, but everywhere, and for everything?