Seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness
Paul Niehoff (Australia)
Most of us live very busy lives with many activities taking up our time. And of course most of these activities are required as a part of living life. We strive after a great number of objectives. Early on it may be education. Later, employment to earn a living. Then we may seek a marriage and to start a family. Somewhere amongst all this we need a place to live, to either rent or buy. Later on we may look for a retirement accommodation.
All of these are usually necessary parts of life, but God gives us a direction in Matthew 6:31-33. “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ Or, ‘What shall we drink?’ Or, ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Verse 31 in other translations is rendered “Do not be anxious” or even “Do not be over-anxious”. Verse 32 reminds us that God is fully aware that we have certain needs. But the overall emphasis on this section of Scripture in Matthew 6 is on putting our first priority on God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. It is right to plan and prepare for our needs but these plans and preparations must come second to desiring the Kingdom of God.
This same emphasis and order is also stated in Matthew 6:10. After hallowing God’s name, we are told to pray for God’s Kingdom to come and His Will to be done on earth. And after this we are we to pray for our daily needs. We know that God’s Will is summed up in His commandments, statutes and judgements. If we want to know what righteousness is, we read in Psalm 119:172 that all of God’s commandments are righteousness.
Looking at the world today, none of its ways are in accordance with God’s Will. Considering the political system, some leaders are despots, others make promises to be elected that they do not intend, or that they are unable, to keep. Many cannot be trusted. Our education system does not like to acknowledge God’s revealed Truth. They mainly teach evolution without a Creator and that morality is relative, depending on the circumstances.
What about the medical system? In some highly developed countries, medicine can be extremely expensive and with poor outcomes. Many bankruptcies are the result of medical expenses. In the legal system, to receive some form of justice may depend on the wealth of the plaintiff or the accused. We could also look at business or agriculture. The pursuit of money is usually the most important factor. We often hear in the news of dubious business practices where some have been fined or jailed for their illegal actions.
Yes, at times, we can read of some good examples in all of these systems, but the fact that they are written about indicates they are not the usual cases, but rather rarities, otherwise they would not be reported.
But when the Kingdom of God is established and ruling over the earth, all of this will change. The leaders will not have to make promises in order to be voted into office. Neither will they lead coups or military takeovers. God will establish righteous government, so when an official says in that day, “I am from the government, I am here to help you,” this will be a true statement.
The education system will be based on God’s Word and obedience to Him. In Proverbs 1:7 we read, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” Also Psalm 111:10 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments.” Education will emphasise godly wisdom and understanding as well as knowledge.
Again, under the ruling Kingdom of God, there will be divine healing. Interestingly, we read in Ezekiel 47:12 that some medicines will grow on trees provided by God—the trees being watered by water flowing from the sanctuary of God.
In the legal system, God has instructed the judges to judge righteously and not to show partiality (Deuteronomy 1:16-17). Even in business and agriculture, God has given instructions not to cheat in measurements and to consider the land and the animals, to look after them. All of these instructions will be enforced in the Kingdom of God. It will be a time when people can trust and be trusted, a time of peace and security.
So it will be a whole new world, something to look forward to with our full being. And for us in the Church of God, if we endure to the end, there is the promise of joy and pleasures with God forevermore (Psalms 16:11).
The Good News Version sums up Matthew 6:33 very effectively, “Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things.”
At this time of the year, the Feast of Tabernacles, which pictures the coming of God’s Kingdom on earth, is just over a week away. We should especially seek first and think about the Kingdom of God during this time. Doing so will make the Feast so much more meaningful for us all.