Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you, and you are left to live alone in the midst of the land!
Genesis 9: 8-17
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.Continue Reading Genesis 9: 8-17 »Read Genesis 9:8-17 Take-Aways »Read Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible »
Genesis 6: 18-21
But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.Continue Reading Genesis 6: 18-21 »Read Genesis 6:18-21 Take-Aways »Read New Interpreters Bible Commentary »
Exodus 23: 10-12
For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild animals may eat. You shall do the same with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.Continue Reading Exodus 23: 10-12 »Read Exodus 23:10-12 Take-Aways »Read New Interpreter's Bible Commentary »
Leviticus 25: 1-24
The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land shall observe a sabbath for the Lord.Continue Reading Leviticus 25: 1-24 »Read Eerdman's Commentary on the Bible »Read Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible »
Leviticus 26: 3-13
If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land.Continue Reading Leviticus 26: 3-13 »Read Leviticus 26:3-13 Take-Aways »Read John Calvin's Commentaries on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis »
Job 38: 39-41; 39: 5-8
Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in their covert? Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food? . . .Continue Reading Job 38: 39-41; 39: 5-8 »Read job 38:39-41;39:5-8 Take-Aways »Read Eerdman's Commentary on the Bible »Read Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible »
Psalms 145: 3-17
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendour of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed, and I will declare your greatness.Continue Reading Psalms 145: 3-17 »Read Psalm 145:3-17 Take-Aways »Read Eerdman's Commentary on the Bible »
Matthew 6: 25-31
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Continue Reading Matthew 6: 25-31 »Read Matthew 6:25-31 Take-Aways »Read Calvin’s Commentary on Matthew, Mark, and Luke »Read Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible »
Genesis 9: 8-17
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Genesis 9:8-17 Take-Aways
After the flood, God’s covenant is established not just with Noah, or humanity, but with “every living creature that is on the earth.” It is not just all of humanity that God promises not to destroy again, but “all flesh.” What is the significance of God promising to be faithful and preserve creation alongside Noah? Considering that the flood was humanity’s sinfulness being born out on the earth (see Take-Aways for Gen 6: 18-21), does God’s covenant with “every living creature” have any implications for our relationship with creation?
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible
God Blesses Noah, and Grants Flesh for Food Chapter 9 – The blessing of God is the cause of our doing well. On him we depend, to him we should be thankful. Let us not forget the advantage and pleasure we have from the labour of beasts, and which their flesh affords. Nor ought we to be less thankful for the security we enjoy from the savage and hurtful beasts, through the fear of man which God has fixed deep in them. We see the fulfilment of this promise every day, and on every side. This grant of the animals for food fully warrants the use of them, but not the abuse of them by gluttony, still less by cruelty. We ought not to pain them needlessly whilst they live, nor when we take away their lives.
Genesis 6: 18-21
But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive. Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.
Genesis 6:18-21 Take-Aways
The story of Noah and the Ark is a familiar one. It is a powerful example of how human behavior is connected with creation. In the brief five chapters of the Bible previous to this one, twice already human disobedience has altered the earth from the state in which it was originally created (see Gen 3:17-18, 4:12-14 and section “Human Sin and Creation”). Prior to flooding the earth, God takes special care to save not only Noah, but all the animals. Humanity has despoiled creation, but God’s plans are to wash that stain away and begin anew. It is not just humanity, through Noah, that God is saving, but all of creation.
New Interpreters Bible Commentary
The basic character of the human heart is set alongside the response of the divine heart. God appears, not as an angry and vengeful judge, but as a grieving and pained parent, distressed at what has happened. God “regrets” having proceeded with the creation in the first place, given these tragic developments. We may discern divine consternation and disappointment, since God’s vision for what the world might have been has been dashed by a narrow and self-centered human vision (Volume I, p389). The author focuses on what has happened to the earth, a word repeated six times. God deems the earth to be corrupt (vv11a,12a) because it is filled with violence. Corruption (Hebrew sahat) involves ruin, decadence, or decay, the effect of violence; it stands over against the “good” God saw in chap. 1. The earth (not just the creatures) has not continued as it was created to be (on defiling or polluting the earth, see 4:10-12; Num 35:33-34; Isa 24:5-7; Jer 3:1-3) (Volume I, p390).
Exodus 23: 10-12
For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild animals may eat. You shall do the same with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard. For six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest, so that your ox and your donkey may have relief, and your home-born slave and the resident alien may be refreshed.
Exodus 23:10-12 Take-Aways
The command to rest on the seventh day and to let the land lie fallow in the seventh year is repeated several times in the first five books of the Bible. While “the Sabbath was made for humankind” (Mk 2:27), this passage in Exodus reveals that the command to rest is for animals as well as humans. It should also be noted that the reason in this passage to rest the land in the seventh year is for the benefit of the poor. Consider the fact that while it is the consumption of natural resources by industrialized nations that is having the greatest detrimental impact on our planet, it is the world’s poorest populations that are being harmed by climate change right now because they are most reliant on subsistence agriculture, and most likely to live in areas severely affected by drought and flood. Forty percent of the world’s population, including the poorest among us, gets its drinking water from glaciers that are disappearing. What would it do for the poor if we took more care to rest from our consumption? (See the section “Creation Care as Justice”).
New Interpreter's Bible Commentary
The pattern of seven years may indeed derive from old cultic procedure, but here the law simply concerns crop rotation and the practice of letting the land lie fallow every seventh year. The motivation for such rotation is noteworthy. It is not said that such “rest” is good for the land–which it is. Rather, the fallow land, which will continue to produce some useful volunteer growth, is for the benefit of those who have not property of their own. Thus fields, vineyards, and orchards are, in the “off year,” fair territory for the poor and for wild animals. The law resists any practice of “enclosure” that draws too tightly the bounds of private property. Even private property must be managed to keep it sometimes open to the needs and requirements of the community (Volume I, p870-871). [commentary for Ex. 23: 10-19] The three-festival calendar is explicitly oriented to Yahweh. In it, the crucial times of the agricultural economy become times at which Yahweh’s sovereignty is enacted. The two “laws of seven” have a very different orientation, being primarily concerned for God’s creation (for the poor and wild animals, for the ox and donkey, for the slave, and for the resident alien). These laws themselves do not say much about Yahweh, aside from the motivational addendum of v.13. Thus vv. 10-12 concern creaturely well-being, and vv. 14-19 concern the creator who own the land. Concerning both creaturely well-being and acknowledgment of the creator, the covenant community practices a rhythm of observations not unlike the church year. The community is enjoined to treat time as holy, both in order to value creation and to honor the creator. (In Gen 2:1-4a, time is the first element of creation that God makes holy.) All of these times, the festivals of seven and the threefold festival, intend to break the conventional economic practice of working, getting, and spending, or ingathering and harvest. The festivals are an act of faith because they make an ordered acknowledgment that prevents human business from degenerating into an endless effort at management, success, and self-security.” Volume I, p874-875
Leviticus 25: 1-24
The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land shall observe a sabbath for the Lord. For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of complete rest for the land, a sabbath for the Lord: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your unpruned vine: it shall be a year of complete rest for the land. You may eat what the land yields during its sabbath—you, your male and female slaves, your hired and your bound labourers who live with you; for your livestock also, and for the wild animals in your land all its yield shall be for food.
Eerdman's Commentary on the Bible
25: 1-7 reaffirm the old practice of the fallow year found in Exod 23: 10-11. A rotating fallow is normal; but here the whole land is to lie fallow at once . . . A complete rest from human exploitation gives the land a year for God, just as the weekly Sabbath devotes a day completely to God. How was it possible for peasants on tight margins to give up cultivation for a year? Fertility could be maintained only if fields were left fallow not just every seven years but every other year. A farmer might divide his holding into two parts, one part lying fallow each year. If he was going to let his whole holding lie fallow in the seventh year, he would cultivate both parts in the sixth year and suffer very little loss of production (Hopkins 1985; 194-201). 25: 5-6, 11-12. They may eat from the land but not harvest it. What is the difference? The point is that the produce is open for anyone to pick; it is not for the landholder to gather it in the normal way (p 112).
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible
The Sabbath of Rest for the Land in the Seventh Year All labour was to cease in the seventh year, as much as daily labour on the seventh day. These statues tell us to beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of his possessions. We are to exercise willing dependence on God’s providence for our support; to consider ourselves the Lord’s tenants or stewards, and to use our possessions accordingly. This year of rest typified the spiritual rest which all believers enter into through Christ. Through Him we are eased of the burden of wordly care and labour, both being sanctified and sweetened to us; and we are enabled and encouraged to live by faith.
Leviticus 26: 3-13
If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword shall go through your land. You shall give chase to your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall give chase to a hundred, and a hundred of you shall give chase to ten thousand; your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. I will look with favour upon you and make you fruitful and multiply you; and I will maintain my covenant with you. You shall eat old grain long stored, and you shall have to clear out the old to make way for the new. I will place my dwelling in your midst, and I shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be their slaves no more; I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.
Leviticus 26:3-13 Take-Aways
Though often thought of as a long list of dos and don’ts, the book of Leviticus offers many poignant and insightful portrayals of humanity’s intimate connection with the earth. God specifically ties Israel’s faithfulness to its relationship with the land. Refer back to Lev. 25 where Israel is commanded to provide sabbath and redemption for the land. Pairing these two chapters together emphasizes the mutual relationship God intends between humanity and creation. We need not choose between meeting our needs and caring for creation. Rather, showing faithfulness to God by caring for creation ensures that God will provide for us by sending “rains in their season.” God sustains all of creation. When we act in accordance with the mutuality God intended for humanity to have with the land, then both humanity and creation flourish. (A side note, notice also that following God’s statutes is linked to there being “peace in the land.” Consider that it is our dependence on non-renewable energy that has made us reliant on countries in the Middle East, Russia, and Venezuela in order to maintain our lifestyle. For more see the section “Human Sin and Creation.”)
John Calvin's Commentaries on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis
4. Then I will give you rain in due season. He might in one word have promised great abundance of food, but, that His grace may be more illustrious, the instruments are mentioned which He employs for its supply. He might give us bread as He formerly rained down manna from heaven; but in order that the signs of His paternal solicitude may be constantly before us, after the seed is sown, the earth requires rain from heaven; and thus the order of the seasons is so regulated that every day may renew the memory of God’s bounty. For this reason rain is mentioned, and the increase of the fruits of the earth; and the continued succession of thrashing, the vintage, and sowing-time, indicates a very abundant supply of corn and wine. For, if the harvest be small, there will not be much work to occupy the husbandman; and, if the vintage be light, hence also will arise an unsatisfactory period of leisure. But when God declares that from harvest to sowing-time they shall have constant employment, He bids them expect a fruitful year, as immediately follows, “ye shall eat your bread to the full” (Vol. 1).
Job 38: 39-41; 39: 5-8
Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in their covert? Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food? . . . Who has let the wild ass go free? Who has loosed the bonds of the swift ass, to which I have given the steppe for its home, the salt land for its dwelling-place? It scorns the tumult of the city; it does not hear the shouts of the driver. It ranges the mountains as its pasture, and it searches after every green thing.
job 38:39-41;39:5-8 Take-Aways
The book of Job contains exquisite poetry about God’s creative acts and the intricate workings of the natural world, of which God knows every detail. With God’s response to Job, beginning in chapter 38, we are reminded that God is not only the one who created the world, but the one who is continually in the process of creating. God is the one who continues to provide prey for the lion and raven, and monitor the wanderings of wild animals. The earth is sustained through God’s never wavering faithfulness. God’s response is meant to overwhelm Job with the vastness of the entire created order for which God cares very deeply. We do well to not forget that we are but one of God’s creations and to not treat the others as insignificant.
Eerdman's Commentary on the Bible
[Commentary for Job 38:1-40:2] God appears to Job in a whirlwind, a common context for a theophany experience. His first words accuse Job in a way that sounds remarkably like the sentiments of one of the friends, namely, that Job is full of words but without understanding. God tells Job to gird up his loins, suggesting that Job needs to muster some strength. There is a suggestion here that Job needs to take his destiny into his own hands instead of blaming God for his misfortune. God declares that he will question Job and expect some response, although in fact all his questions turn out to be unanswerable and Job had little to say. There is a parody here of passages in which human beings praise God as creator, asking questions out of wonder (e.g., Isa 40:12-26). Here the tables are turned, and God is asking the questions. God speaks of his task of creation and inquires whether Job was there so that he would know the order contained within it. How can Job hope to understand the order in the world if he had no part in the task? This section describes the wonders of the natural world. The greatness of God’s deeds are highlighted by his creative actions in restraining the sea in 38: 8-11. There is some mention of the wicked in God’s listing of his deeds (vv. 13 and 15), but it is almost incidental given the greatness of the actions being described. This part places strong emphasis on the sheer expanse of the earth – God has walked the ocean shore and been to the gates of death. He asks Job if he knows the way to such places. He also inquires whether Job knows where the storehouses of snow or hail are kept or the way to the source of light and wind. He mocks the idea of the path of wisdom down which a person may walk, confident of the answers. God has done everything in his own time to benefit the earth, bringing rain in a desert where there is no human life. His sphere of action is far greater than just providing for human needs or creating an order and system of justice to satisfy human desires. God is the originator of all, the one who gave birth to ice and frost, the one who controls the stars and the heavens, the one who causes floods and storms. This is a real attack on human wisdom – given by God in the first place, we are reminded, and yet by its nature limited. When it comes to the real questions about order and creation, humans are left behind. God now moves on to a catalogue of living creatures and their ways at the end of ch. 38 and in ch. 39. Can Job hunt as a lion does to satisfy its young? Does he know the time when the mountain goat gives birth? This sentiment recalls the book of Ecclesiastes and its doctrine of the proper time (Ecclesiastes 3). There is a time for things to happen and order in the universe, but only God knows them; human beings are unable to know. The times of activities in the world of nature, that is, of wild animals, are unknown to humans (39: 1-4). Animals do things that humans cannot comprehend – they are outside the bounds of human wisdom. God had provided for these animals who refuse to be domesticated. God laughs at human attempts to tame such animals: “Is the wild ox willing to serve you?” The description of the ostrich suggests that animals may do things that human beings feel to be immoral – it leaves its eggs and deals cruelly with its young. Yet this is the way God had ordained it, and the ostrich is happy with that; it does not question God’s ways as Job has done. God asks Job whether he had made horses mighty, beautiful, and strong or whether it is because of his command that the hawk and eagle soar high. God cares for all his creatures, not just human beings, and their ways are beyond human comprehension just as God’s ways are. At the beginning of ch. 40 God taunts Job to respond to him, in terms reminiscent of Job’s taunt to him. This elicits Job’s first response. The basic message here is that the universe is a mystery; it was not created just for human use, and so neither it nor its creator can be judged solely by human standards. The natural world reveals God’s order; its pattern and meaning are discernible although its secrets are with God. There are strong overtones in this sentiment of ch. 28 – humans search the depths of the earth but never find wisdom (p 361).
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible
God Inquires of Job Concerning Several Animals In these questions the Lord continued to humble Job. In this chapter several animals are spoken of, whose nature or situation particularly show the power, wisdom, and manifold works of God. The wild ass. It is better to labour and be good for something, than to ramble and be good for nothing. From the untameableness of this and other creatures, we may see, how unfit we are to give law to Providence, who cannot give law even to a wild ass’s colt. The unicorn, a strong, stately, proud creature. He is able to serve, but not willing; and God challenges Job to force him to it. It is a great mercy if, where God gives strength for service, he gives a heart; it is what we should pray for, and reason ourselves into, which the brutes cannot do. Those gifts are not always the most valuable that make the finest show. Who would not rather have the voice of the nightingale, than the tail of the peacock; the eye of the eagle and her soaring wing, and the natural affection of the stork, than the beautiful feathers of the ostrich, which can never rise above the earth, and is without natural affection? The description of the war-horse helps to explain the character of presumptuous sinners. Every one turneth to his course, as the horse rushes into the battle. When a man’s heart is fully set in him to do evil, and he is carried on in a wicked way, by the violence of his appetites and passions, there is no making him fear the wrath of God, and the fatal consequences of sin. Secure sinners think themselves as safe in their sins as the eagle in her nest on high, in the clefts of the rocks; but I will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord, Jer 49:16. All these beautiful references to the works of nature, should teach us a right view of the riches of the wisdom of Him who made and sustains all things. The want of right views concerning the wisdom of God, which is ever present in all things, led Job to think and speak unworthily of Providence.
Psalms 145: 3-17
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendour of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed, and I will declare your greatness. They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness, and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made. All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your faithful shall bless you. They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power, to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendour of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds. The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing. The Lord is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.
Psalm 145:3-17 Take-Aways
How often do we give thanks for the steadfast faithfulness God shows us through creation? How often do we view the fruits of creation as a gift of grace? The psalmist states that part of God’s righteousness is the provision of “food in due season.” This faithfulness is shown to “every living thing” because God meets each of their desires. If God cares enough for all of creation to provide for its every desire, shouldn’t we show it the same regard?
Eerdman's Commentary on the Bible
The second element of which the psalm consists has to do with the reasons why the Lord should be praised. Special emphasis is placed on the following aspects: the unsearchable greatness of the Lord (vv. 3,6); the mighty acts and wondrous works of the Lord (vv. 4-5, 6, 9, 10, 17); the everlasting kingdom of the lord which is emphasized in vv. 11-13, and in v. 1; the Lord’s steadfast love, compassion, mercy, kindness, and graciousness are also important reasons why he should be praised (cf., e.g., vv. 8, 9, 13b); the love of the lord is clearly evinced by his tenderness toward and assistance to those who are in need and who are dependent on him (cf. esp. vv. 14-19). Although the psalm emphasizes that God shows love to and cares for those who are in need, his love is not unconditional. He does preserve those who love him, but he will destroy the wicked. These themes are not detached from one another; indeed, they are interwoven and interact in various ways. In this passage the greatness and power of God are related to his love; his goodness and mercy are not in conflict with his wrath but are the obverse side of the same coin; the kingship of the Lord is mentioned in the same breath as his condescending love toward those who are in need (p 432).
Matthew 6: 25-31
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Matthew 6:25-31 Take-Aways
Part of the impulse that leads to our misuse of creation is a natural desire to ensure that our needs, and those of our families, are met. It is right and appropriate for us to look to the gifts of creation to meet our needs for food, fuel, shelter etc. What we must remember is that our ultimate reliance must not be on ourselves, but on God. Our primary concern should be to trust and obey. God provides graciously for the beautiful lilies of the field; even more so will God provide for humanity, who is made in God’s image. We must care for the earth that has been entrusted to us, and God will care for us.
Calvin’s Commentary on Matthew, Mark, and Luke
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom31.ix.lix.html?scrBook=Matt&scrCh=6&scrV=25#ix.lix-p2.1 Throughout the whole of this discourse, Christ reproves that excessive anxiety, with which men torment themselves, about food and clothing, and, at the same time, applies a remedy for curing this disease. When he forbids them to be anxious, this is not to be taken literally, as if he intended to take away from his people all care. We know that men are born on the condition of having some care; and, indeed, this is not the least portion of the miseries, which the Lord has laid upon us as a punishment, in order to humble us. But immoderate care is condemned for two reasons: either because in so doing men tease and vex themselves to no purpose, by carrying their anxiety farther than is proper or than their calling demands; or because they claim more for themselves than they have a right to do, and place such a reliance on their own industry, that they neglect to call upon God. We ought to remember this promise: though unbelievers shall “rise up early, and sit up late, and eat the bread of sorrows,” yet believers will obtain, through the kindness of God, rest and sleep. Though the children of God are not free from toil and anxiety, yet, properly speaking, we do not say that they are anxious about life: because, through their reliance on the providence of God, they enjoy calm repose.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible
Evil of Being Worldly-Minded Worldly-mindedness is a common and fatal symptom of hypocrisy, for by no sin can Satan have a surer and faster hold of the soul, under the cloak of a profession of religion. Something the soul will have, which it looks upon as the best thing; in which it has pleasure and confidence above other things. Christ counsels to make our best things the joys and glories of the other world, those things not seen which are eternal, and to place our happiness in them. There are treasures in heaven. It is our wisdom to give all diligence to make our title to eternal life sure through Jesus Christ, and to look on all things here below, as not worthy to be compared with it, and to be content with nothing short of it. It is happiness above and beyond the changes and chances of time, an inheritance incorruptible. The worldly man is wrong in his first principle; therefore all his reasonings and actions there from must be wrong. It is equally to be applied to false religion; that which is deemed light is thick darkness. This is an awful, but a common case; we should therefore carefully examine our leading principles by the word of God, with earnest prayer for the teaching of his Spirit. A man may do some service to two masters, but he can devote himself to the service of no more than one. God requires the whole heart, and will not share it with the world. When two masters oppose each other, no man can serve both. He who holds to the world and loves it, must despise God; he who loves God, must give up the friendship of the world. Trust in God commended There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of this life. This often insnares the poor as much as the love of wealth does the rich. But there is a carefulness about temporal things which is a duty, though we must not carry these lawful cares too far. Take no thought for your life. Not about the length of it; but refer it to God to lengthen or shorten it as he pleases; our times are in his hand, and they are in a good hand. Not about the comforts of this life; but leave it to God to make it bitter or sweet as he pleases. Food and raiment God has promised, therefore we may expect them. Take no thought for the morrow, for the time to come. Be not anxious for the future, how you shall live next year, or when you are old, or what you shall leave behind you. As we must not boast of tomorrow, so we must not care for tomorrow, or the events of it. God has given us life, and has given us the body. And what can he not do for us, who did that? If we take care about our souls and for eternity, which are more than the body and its life, we may leave it to God to provide for us food and raiment, which are less. Improve this as an encouragement to trust in God. We must reconcile ourselves to our worldly estate, as we do to our stature. We cannot alter the disposals of Providence, therefore we must submit and resign ourselves to them. Thoughtfulness for our souls is the best cure of thoughtfulness for the world. Seek first the kingdom of God, and make religion your business: say not that this is the way to starve; no, it is the way to be well provided for, even in this world. The conclusion of the whole matter is, that it is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that by daily prayers we may get strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that attend them, and then let none of these things move us. Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to his wise disposal. Let thy Spirit convince us of sin in the want of this disposition, and take away the worldliness of our hearts.