September 14, 2022

September 14, 2022

Author: Pastor Mark Bauer
September 14, 2022

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his the son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:7-11

Well this is a very familiar passage to many of us. It’s coming from the sermon on the mount and in these verses here Jesus gives us, gives his people a promise. It’s a promise that our prayers will be answered. Jesus tells us “Ask and it will be given to you.” Jesus does not say ask and it may be given, does not say ask and it might be given, or perhaps or maybe possible that it will be given. No Jesus promises that it will be given. There is no uncertainty to this promise it is definitive, and it will be given. The same promises are given for those who seek, Jesus promises that those who seek will find and likewise for those who knock. Jesus promises it will be open. He then reaffirms this promise by saying that for everyone who asks will receive. It’s a promise that applies to everyone, everyone who asks you are given this promise.

As I was thinking about these verses I was thinking about this promise. What I found interesting is that Jesus does not point to the sovereignty of God as the basis for our certainty and knowing that our prayers will be answered. He does not tell us look to God who is our king, who reigns as king above who is all powerful, God who is all knowing, God who is all wise. He doesn’t point to God as king as the basis for giving us confidence in knowing that our prayers will be answered. No instead Jesus links this promise to the fact that God is our father. And then he does a comparison, he says as an earthly father gives good gifts to his children. Jesus then goes on and says that God our heavenly father will give good things to those who ask. I can imagine that as the people there are listening to these verses and hearing Jesus speak or even as we read these now, I think any father, any parent listening to these words will relate to this comparison.

Know that as parents, as fathers how much we desire what is best for our children. How much we care about them, how much we love them. How much we want to do what is best for them, and when they come to us and make a request to us and ask us for something we don’t ignore them. We listen to them carefully, we listen to their request and will seek to give them what is best for them. Jesus reminds us, those of us who are fathers, those of us who are parents that our response to this request would be like that of a father for his children. In verse nine he says and if a child is hungry, if your child is hungry and he comes to you and he asks for bread, Jesus says no father, no parent would give their child a stone. If your child is asking for food you wouldn’t give them a stone, that would be cruel, that would be unloving. You wouldn’t give them something that does not meet their needs. Or worse yet, if the child is asking for a fish no father would ever think of giving them a serpent, something that might be harmful to them. Jesus stresses that even earthly fathers who are evil, who are sinful, when it comes to our children, even sinful man knows how to give good gifts to their children.

So then he argues from the lesser to the greater. And he says well if an earthly father will give good gifts to his children how much more then does your father in heaven, our father that knows us, who knows us perfectly, who knows us personally. Who knows each of us and knows what is best for each of us. Not only does he know what’s best for us but he is able to give us what is best for us. He knows exactly what we need, he knows exactly at the right time that we need it. Our father in heaven is the one, he’s the one that we look to - who will give us good gifts.But then as I was thinking about this there is a limitation though in this, but the only limitation to this promise is not on God’s part. No the limitation is on our part. The promise requires that we must ask to be able to receive. Even though God knows our hearts, he knows our desires, he knows what’s best for us. Yet in this promise it says ask. You have to ask for it, you have to seek, you need to knock. We need to be praying. Praying for those things that we need, and then when we pray, when we pray we then have this promise that God will then answer our prayers. Although at times we may not receive that answer according to our own timeline. We may not receive the answer in quite the way that we want it. It may not even be exactly what we’re asking for, but we know based on Gods goodness we know that we are promised that our heavenly father will answer our prayers. He is good, he is the source of every good, every perfect gift. And he is the one that will give us good things. He will give us good things to those who ask. So then I might ask, why then do we not pray? why then do we not ask? Is it because we doubt? Do we doubt that God will answer our prayers? Well if that’s the case for you look again to this promise here in these verses. Look to Jesus’ words, he says clearly, definitively ask and it will be given to you. It is certain God will answer our prayers. Our perhaps maybe we might question God, God’s goodness. We might suspect that God may answer our prayers but he’s not gonna give me what I want, he’s gonna give me perhaps something that’s bad for me. Well then again I would say look to these verses. Just as an earthly father would not give a stone or a serpent to their child, God will never give us a stone. Something that's not needed for us, he will never give us a serpent that’s harmful to us. No, may we never have thoughts of God such as this. God is good, he is a good God and he gives us good things. So I would say look to these verses to encourage us to pray, look to these promises that Jesus gives us and know and know that our father who is in heaven will give us good things to those who ask him well.