Matthew 6:1-18 Do and Pray In Secret Rabbi Michael Weiner
So far we have completed the first of the three chapters that make up the “Big Sermon.” Now our study of Matthew 5 is complete. Let’s continue, beginning with Matthew 6:1 Beware of practicing your righteousness before others to be seen by them; otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. This verse is a preamble to the following seventeen verses that end with Matthew 6:17-18 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that your fasting won’t be evident to men, but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.
In these verses, Yeshua is mixing an admonition to be humble and not showy, both in what we do in obedience to Him (“practicing your righteousness”) and in our prayer life (Matthew 6:9a Therefore, pray in this way.) He repeatedly drives home the point that we are to do what we do (for Him) in secret … Matthew 6:3-4 But when you do tzadakah, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your tzadakah may be in secret; and your Father, who sees in secret, shall reward you.
Tzadakah are literally “acts of righteousness” that are frequently called “charity,” sometimes also called “acts of love.” Our giving should be done anonymously whenever possible. When we receive the recognition of men, Yeshua is saying there is no need for God to reward us, as we have already received our reward.
And when we pray, likewise, we should also pray without notice. Matthew 6:6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room; and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, shall reward you. When our fellow man recognizes our goodness, there is no need for God to do so. Let’s be so secretive, that even our left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Message received.