Day 5

God Will Give You Good Things

Wisdom Psalm 4:1-8
New Testament Matthew 4:23-5:20
Old Testament Genesis 9:18-11:9


We all seek happiness. We are all searching for love. We are all desperate for peace. But so often, we look in the wrong places.

St Augustine prayed, ‘Lord... you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.’ God is the source of all good things.


Psalm 4:1-8

Psalm 4

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.

  1 Answer me when I call to you,
   my righteous God.
  Give me relief from my distress;
   have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

  2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
   How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
  3 Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
   the Lord hears when I call to him.

  4 Tremble and do not sin;
   when you are on your beds,
   search your hearts and be silent.
  5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
   and trust in the Lord.

  6 Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
   Let the light of your face shine on us.
  7 Fill my heart with joy
   when their grain and new wine abound.

  8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
   for you alone, Lord,
   make me dwell in safety.


The source of joy and peace

So often we seek joy and peace in the wrong places: ‘How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?’ (v.2). We think that money, possessions or success will be the answer. But these are delusions and false gods. True joy and peace, as David tells us, are to be found in a relationship with God (v.3).

We are not promised a problem-free life – the psalm starts with a cry: ‘Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer’ (v.1b). David is confident that God will hear: ‘He listens the split second I call to him’ (v.3b, MSG).

God alone is the true source of joy and peace: ‘Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety’ (vv.6b–8).

There is greater joy in the presence of God than there is in material prosperity and luxury. Prosperity, despite the apparent security it brings, does not necessarily lead to peaceful sleep. Only in God’s will can we truly ‘dwell in safety’ (v.8).


Lord, let the light of your face shine on me. Fill my heart with the joy of your presence and grant me peaceful sleep.

New Testament

Matthew 4:23-5:20

Jesus Heals the Sick

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and illness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

  3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  4 Blessed are those who mourn,
   for they will be comforted.
  5 Blessed are the meek,
   for they will inherit the earth.
  6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
   for they will be filled.
  7 Blessed are the merciful,
   for they will be shown mercy.
  8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
   for they will see God.
  9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
   for they will be called children of God.
  10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

The Fulfillment of the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.


The source of God’s favour and true happiness

According to Jesus, true happiness does not come from all the things that society suggests. It does not come from celebrity, beauty, wealth and possessions. It is not about how you feel. It is not about what you have or even about what you do.

The Greek word, ‘makarios’ (used in 5:3–11) means ‘blessed’, ‘fortunate’, ‘happy’ – the privileged recipient of God’s favour. Or, as the Amplified version puts it, ‘happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous, that is, with life-joy and satisfaction… regardless of their outward conditions.’

In the Beatitudes (‘beautiful attitudes’!) Jesus highlights eight unexpected situations in which you receive God’s favour and blessings.

  1. Be spiritually desperate for God

    ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’ (v.3a). The word for ‘poor’ means ‘begging… dependent on others for support’. Here, it means being brought low or weakened to the point of realising the need to depend on Jesus: ‘You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope’ (v.3a, MSG). The poor in spirit are blessed because, through what Jesus has made possible, ‘yours is the kingdom of heaven’ (v.3b).

  2. Weep over your condition

    ‘Blessed are those who mourn’ (v.4a). Mourn your own sin and the mess in the world around you. Weep with those who weep. It is not wrong to weep and to mourn the loss of those you love. Jesus’ promise is that those who mourn ‘will be comforted’ (v.4b). God’s comfort goes way beyond any kind of ordinary comfort. As Joyce Meyer writes, ‘It’s almost worth having a problem in order to be able to experience [God’s comfort].’

  3. Be content with who you are

    ‘Blessed are the meek’ (v.5a). The Greek word for ‘meek’ means ‘gentle’, ‘considerate’, ‘unassuming’. It is showing kindness and love for others. It is the opposite of arrogance and self-seeking. It means ‘broken’, not in the sense of a broken glass that is shattered, but in the way that a horse is broken – tamed, strength under control. Through Jesus the meek are blessed – ‘they will inherit the earth’ (v.5b).

    ‘You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less’ (v.5a, MSG).

  4. Be hungry for God

    ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness’ (v.6a). ‘You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God’ (v.6a, MSG). Pursue a relationship with God as your number one priority in life. Pursuing anything else for its own sake ultimately leaves you empty. But the blessing of a hunger for God and his righteousness is that you ‘will be filled’ (v.6b).

  5. Receive forgiveness and be merciful

    ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy’ (v.7a). Don’t give people what they ‘deserve’; give them what they don’t deserve. As C.S. Lewis put it, ‘To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.’ The merciful are blessed because ‘they will be shown mercy’ (v.7b).

  6. Be completely sincere

    ‘You’re blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right’ (v.8a, MSG). ‘Blessed are the pure in heart’ (v.8a). This is not just outward purity but integrity, openness, sincerity and authenticity. It is a purity that truly allows you to ‘see God’ (v.8b). A pure heart starts with your thoughts because your thoughts become your words, your actions and your character.

    A key step to being pure in heart is allowing others to see us as we are – in all our brokenness and vulnerability.

  7. Strive to bring peace

    ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ (v.9a). Don’t stir up conflict, but make peace. Jesus, the Son of God, came to make peace for you on the cross (Colossians 1:20). Blessed are the peacemakers ‘for they will be called children of God’ (Matthew 5:9b).

    ‘You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight’ (v.9a, MSG).

  8. Expect nothing in return except persecution

    ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness’ (v.10a). Don’t expect anything from the world in return except criticism. But God is with the persecuted church: ‘theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (v.10b).

    ‘You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution’ (v.10, MSG).

We see here the third way in which Jesus fulfils the Old Testament. We have already seen that Jesus fulfils the Old Testament history (1:1–17) and how he fulfils the promises of the Old Testament prophecies (1:18–4:16). Now, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus fulfils the Old Testament Law by revealing its full depth and meaning: ‘Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures – either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete’ (5:17, MSG).

The American rock singer turned pastor, John Wimber, said, ‘Jesus is insatiable. Everything we do pleases him but nothing satisfies him. I have been satisfied with Jesus but he has not been satisfied with me. He keeps raising the standards. He walks in high places.’

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus ‘raised the bar’ to the sky, not to bring us down but to lift us up: ‘I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine!’ (5:16, MSG).


Lord, help me this year to live by the values of the Sermon on the Mount and to be characterised by the Beatitudes, so I might be a light to the world around me.

Old Testament

Genesis 9:18-11:9

The Sons of Noah

18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.

20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.

24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,

  “Cursed be Canaan!
   The lowest of slaves
   will he be to his brothers. ”

26 He also said,

  “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem!
   May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
  27 May God extend Japheth’s territory;
   may Japheth live in the tents of Shem,
   and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”

28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.

The Table of Nations

10 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.

The Japhethites

  2 The sons of Japheth:
   Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.

  3 The sons of Gomer:
   Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.

  4 The sons of Javan:
   Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites. 5 (From these the    maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans
   within their nations, each with its own language.)

The Hamites

  6 The sons of Ham:
   Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan.

  7 The sons of Cush:
   Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteka.

  The sons of Raamah:
   Sheba and Dedan.

8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city.

  13 Egypt was the father of
   the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 14 Pathrusites,
   Kasluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites.

  15 Canaan was the father of
   Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, 16 Jebusites, Amorites,
   Girgashites, 17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites,
   Zemarites and Hamathites.

Later the Canaanite clans scattered 19 and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, as far as Lasha.

20 These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.

The Semites

21 Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber.

  22 The sons of Shem:
   Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram.
  23 The sons of Aram:
   Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshek.
  24 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah,
   and Shelah the father of Eber.
  25 Two sons were born to Eber:
   One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his    brother was named Joktan.
  26 Joktan was the father of
   Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28    Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were    sons of Joktan.

30 The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country.

31 These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.

32 These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.

The Tower of Babel

11 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel —because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.


The source of love and unity

Today’s passage begins with the rather strange account of Noah getting drunk. The fact that he was a righteous man did not mean that he was perfect. Shem and Japheth are commended for ‘cover[ing] their father’s nakedness’ (9:23).

Love covers and protects. It does not seek to expose other people’s weaknesses and faults. It does not delight in other’s misfortunes.

Love and unity go hand in hand. The Tower of Babel is the symbol of disunity (11:1–9). The people said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves’ (v.4). This act of pride and power-seeking led to disunity, symbolised in the confusion of different languages in the world. ‘The Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth’ (v.9).

The day of Pentecost was the reversal of Babel. The Holy Spirit enables people to say: ‘each of us hears them [speaking] in our native language’ (Acts 2:8). The gift of tongues symbolises the fact that the Holy Spirit reverses the disunity of Babel and unites all peoples and languages.

This is a common experience today as we see the Holy Spirit bringing love and unity across churches, languages and nations.


Lord, may we never seek to make a name for ourselves or our own church, denomination or movement. Rather, may we seek to glorify your name. Pour out your Spirit, O Lord, on the church as on the day of Pentecost. May there be a reversal of Babel. May there be an end to disunity. May your Spirit and the values of the kingdom of God bring love, joy, peace, true happiness and unity.

Pippa adds

In Matthew 4:24 it says, ‘People brought to [Jesus] all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering… and he healed them.’

I am going to pray for everyone I know who is sick or suffering today and bring them to Jesus, it’s quite a long list.



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The Bible with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel Commentary is available as a book.


For a more detailed explanation and application of ‘The Sermon on the Mount’ (Matthew 5–7) see Nicky Gumbel’s book The Jesus Lifestyle.

C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: HarperCollins, 2001; Originally published 1949), pp.181–183.

St Augustine, Confessions: Book 1 (Penguin, 1961) p.21.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (

Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company All rights reserved ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica UK trademark number 1448790.

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