Matthew 7:7-11 “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 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 things to those who ask him!”
In this passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was teaching a multitude of his disciples about the necessity and effectiveness of prayer. He urges them to ask God to meet their needs, and promises that answers will be given. They can trust God to provide for them, because He is a good and gracious Father.
I. Asking accomplishes two things. First, it recognizes our poverty, and second, it appeals to the mercy and kindness of God for provision. Without first acknowledging our need, we are unlikely to ever ask for help. in the first place. That truth is so obvious that we almost miss it. The reality is that we never even think to ask for anything unless we first feel that we are lacking in some way. Asking recognizes our inability to meet those needs on our own. Through asking we express dependence on God to do that which we cannot do by our own assets or abilities. It takes humility to ask for help since we must first acknowledge our dependence on God and then appeal to Him for help.
II. Jesus urges his listeners to “ask, seek, and knock,” and then promises that God will answer each accordingly. You see, God desires us to ask because He intends to answer. He takes no pleasure in withholding things from us. Sometimes we feel like God is holding out on us, but in reality He is only doing that which will bring us the greatest good. Jesus reassures us that God hears our prayers, and answers accordingly. Notice that each appeal is accompanied by a reciprocal promise: “Ask, and it will be given to you”; “Seek and you will find”; “Knock and it will be opened to you.” Each promise carries the certainty of fulfillment. There is an unmistakable clarity that God will provide. He not only hears, but He answers. This truth is further strengthened when Jesus repeats it a second time. “Everyone who asks, receives!” “The one who seeks, finds!” “The one who knocks will have it opened to him.” Jesus wants to make sure that the disciples get it. He’s telling them, “You can count on this!! Whatever you ask for, seek to find, and knock to have opened will be made available to you.” This is not a game, it’s a reality. Persistence will prevail. We must ask in earnest, seek in desperation, and knock with perseverance. A genuine appeal and a persistent petition will be answered in the way that God has determined is best for us.
Jesus’ point in all of this is not that God can be manipulated into doing whatever we want whenever we command him to do so. The point is that we must ask in order to receive, seek in order to find, and knock in order to have it opened. We must come to Him as the only One who can satisfy our need. He already knows what we need, but He wants us to come to Him as a demonstration of our dependence. When we come to Him, we show that we trust Him to provide in the wisdom of His timing and ways. In asking, He gets the glory and we get the answers. We receive what we need when we need it, and He receives the honor and glory that is due His name. As God has provided for our greatest need, so also may we trust Him to provide for every other need. God intends to provide for our physical and spiritual needs.
We can trust that God will provide for us, because He is our Heavenly Father. And we can trust that He will provide answers that are good for us. In the next post, we’ll look at how God is our gracious heavenly Father. We will also consider further how God has provided for our greatest need… redemption.
Until then, may I leave you with this one question: What are you asking God to provide, and do you believe the words of Jesus that God has promised to answer you accordingly?
Blessings in Christ,