(Matthew Chapter 7, Verses 7-11)
Another set of wonderful promises in this section of scripture. Beginning with, “Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened,.” These are such positive messages to the Christian who is really looking for the truth. There is no if, but or maybe about this passage, but rather a positive statement that says, “Do this and you will get what you are after.”
Now each of these points while similar are slightly different and it is worth considering them individually for a moment. “Ask and it will be given.” When we are trying to understand a matter and when we need help or some other assistance, the Lord says simply to ask. He says ask and you will get what you are after. Consider the reverse of this. If you don’t ask for something, how will the person, including the Lord, know what you really want? How can someone give when they don’t know what you need? Too often in the world we hear people complain that they never get anything, but often it is because they don’t ask. Rather than get all bitter and twisted about it, would it not be simpler just to ask? After all, what is the worst that could happen? You could get a knock back and the person say no, but at least it is a decision which you can then work on. When the answer is no, sometimes you need to ask in a different. Many times a negative answer is not necessarily the final answer, it just may mean there are other things that need to be done.
Which brings us to, “Seek and you will find.” Have you ever lost something of value, say your car keys or the TV remote? Would there be any point just sitting around wishing they would turn up without going to look for them? Of course not. The Lord gives an example in the parable of a woman having ten coins and on losing one of the coins she searched diligently and swept the house until she located it (Luke 15:8-10). Seeking the things of the Lord is much the same as this. We need to seek diligently, looking high and low, and then the Lord has promised we will find what we are seeking.
Then we have the scripture, “Knock and it will be opened.” This is a bit like the other two above in that if we were to come to a door wanting to enter, how would those on the other side know we were there if we did not knock? It would be pointless to just stand there in the hope that someone might open the door. Generally when we come to a building or house wishing to enter or speak to those inside we need to knock. Knocking on the door announces our arrival and lets the occupants know we are waiting for them. It gets their attention so that they will come and open the door for us. Generally we knock because we want to come inside for any one of many reasons. It is the same with the Lord. We want to come into his presence and so we need to knock at his door, metaphorically speaking. We need to make ourselves known to him through prayer to seek entrance to his presence so we can ask and seek the things we may wish to know. Prayer is rather like knocking on heavens door. We address our prayers to God and then ask for whatever we may be seeking. And best of all in this section of scripture the Lord has said we will receive what we need and are seeking…presuming of course that it is in his will and is what we really need at that time. Make no mistake, sometimes the Lord does say no, but when he does it is because whatever we were seeking is not what we may really need.
He further goes on to show that when we ask him for anything, he always gives us good things. He likens it to us with our children. If they ask us for bread would we give them a stone? Of course not! And in the same way when we ask the Lord for anything he will give us what is good for us. This is why in some cases we may not get what we are seeking because it is not good for us. We do not know the future but the Lord does. I recall a personal example where at one time I sought to change jobs and asked the Lord to make the change happen. It didn’t and I was puzzled because I was far and away the best candidate for the role. The person actually employed was later fired for fraudulent activity. But shortly after that the organisation was restructured and the role ceased to exist. In the wisdom of the Lord who knew these things in advance, he protected my employment situation whereas if I had followed the course I wanted I’d have been unemployed. He gave me what I needed and indeed something better by saying no to my request.
The Luke version of this scripture goes one step further saying if we ask him he will give us the Holy Spirit. (Luke 11:9-13) There is probably no greater gift than this, for it is the Holy Spirit who becomes our teacher, counsellor, guide and protector to lead us into the kingdom of God and to transform our natures into the image of Christ.
All we have to do is ask.