This new understanding of what it meant to seek the kingdom really came full circle with the other passages RJ and I have been studying lately.
We are reading Isaiah in the mornings. The first five chapters are describing how Israel has fallen, but it sounds just like our Western culture today. We wanted to know how we could be righteous when we are living amongst so much evil. Then the next day we read chapter 6 where Isaiah has the vision of the God in the temple, and receives his commission. I had been in a doctrines class where we discussed how to use this passage as an outline for planning a worship gathering, and I realized that this was how Isaac was able to be righteous throughout the trying times of wickedness.
When he encountered the holiness of God, he was confronted with his own wickedness. Jesus tells us that Eternal Life, is knowing God (John 17:3). Isaiah was able to live in the realm of eternity because he was confronted with who God was, and who he was in light of that.
Next Isaiah is purified. The two things I noticed about this are: 1) it was painful-the angel presses a hot coal to Isaiah's lips, which he has identified as the source of his wickedness. and 2) Isaiah submits to it anyway- although Isaiah does not initiate this purification, he does no jump back yelling, "What are you going to do with that...No way!"
Lastly, Isaiah answers God's call before he even knows what it is. Isaiah says, "Send Me", then God says (paraphrased) "I am going to send you to tell people about their sin and destruction, while all the time they will not listen to you. You will preach to the people that their sin is destroying them and will bring them ruin, and you will have to watch them continue in it, and suffer their punishment alongside them."
So this is where the last passage comes in. We chose to make Isaiah 58:6-7 our theme verse for Lent. We wanted to keep it before us, that we never fast for the sake of fasting, but in order to share with others. This to me is the heart of God for us. So it is, for now, how we are learning to know God.
Back to Matthew- Jesus promises that when we cease to be concerned with our own needs, and seek first to submit to God and be righteous before him (ie. the fast he has desired means sharing with others) he will always provide for our physical needs as well.
Now we just need to know what to do with all the extra food. Maybe we will send some "Buckets of Hope" to Haiti. What would you do?