But the Father is More Faithful When We Ask Him Purposely

imagesJesus said, “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” (Matt. 7:11)! Note the words, “you are evil.” The pronoun, “you,” is plural—all of you. The adjective, “evil” (Gk. poneros), means, “in the ethical sense wicked, evil, bad, vicious, degenerate.” (Gingrich) It simply means, “sinful.” Jesus said you all are evil, sinful, and bad inside. But you know how to give good gifts to your children.

Yes, sinful, bad people know how to give good gifts to their children. We’ve heard of corrupt politicians who provide for their children. Janet Napoles, the queen of PDAF, provided for her children well. It was reported that her youngest daughter lived in posh Ritz Carlon in Los Angeles during her college years. She also drove a Porsche in Manila.[1]

We’ve heard of immoral actors who provide well for their children well. There was a well-known comedian who sired many children with many women. He has a grandson from a woman who is older than his son from another woman. But he provides well for his children.

Jesus said you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your kids. But your Father in heaven knows more about how to give good gifts to those who ask Him. You sinful people know how to take care of your kids. Your Father in heaven knows better how to take care of His children.

We have to ask the question. What are the “good things” that God shall give to those who ask Him? God shall give us many good things. Let me cite just a few of them. First, God shall give us bread and fish—our basic needs in life. These are the good things.

But the words, “good things,” indicate a broader, bigger idea. Jesus is also talking about the kingdom of God. Second, therefore, the good things are the blessings of the kingdom. Ask for the blessings of the kingdom.

Third, praying for the salvation of people is a good thing to God. Peter says God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).

More than half a century ago, George Mueller, that prince of intercessors with God, began to pray for a group of five personal friends. After five years one of them came to Christ. In ten years, two more of them found peace in the same Saviour. He prayed on for twenty-five years, and the fourth man was saved.

For the fifth he prayed until the time of his death, and this friend, too, came to Christ a few months afterwards. For this latter friend, Mr. Mueller had prayed almost fifty-two years!                                    (Earnest Worker, 7700 Illustrations)

Until today, I’m asking God for the salvation of my father. Ask God for the salvation of people. God shall answer it.

Fourth, Jesus said that we should ask for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10). Thus, the good things include the will of God for our lives.

The good things are not everything that we ask from God. You ask God for a stone to eat. Instead, God gives you sliced bread. You keep asking God for a stone. But God gives you something better. Stop asking God for things that are good to you, but not good to God.

The good things are good according to God, not according to you. They are the things that align with God’s will for you. Ask for the good things according to God’s will. God will give it to you.

Fifth, Jesus has been talking about the new lifestyle of the kingdom. Ask God to give you the power of the Spirit to live according to His will. Ask and it shall be given to you.

Luke 11:13 says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Matthew writes about “good things.” But Luke replaces the words, “good things,” with the words, “Holy Spirit.” God has given us the best gift—the gift of the Holy Spirit. Ask for the power of the Holy Spirit in your life.

You badly need the power of the Spirit. Your friends tell you to go drinking with them. Ask for the power of the Spirit to say no to them. Some people irritate you. Ask for the power of the Spirit to be patient with them. You are ashamed to share Jesus to your friends. Ask for the power of the Spirit to tell the Gospel to them. Your children are giving you a headache. Ask for the power of the Spirit to deal with them the right way.

Jesus said, “Those who ask Him.” Who are those who ask Him? They are those who have trusted Christ as their Savior. They are those who seek His kingdom and His righteousness.

CONCLUSION

This is how God treats you. He treats you according to His faithfulness. He gives you good things because He is faithful. The Father is faithful when we ask Him persistently. Parents are faithful when we ask them particularly. But the Father is more faithful when we ask Him purposely.

[1] Natashya Gutierrez, “Napoles’ daughter blogs about lavish lifestyle,” Rappler. Cited June 21, 2015. Online: http://www.rappler.com/nation/34895-napoles-daughter-blogs-lavish-lifestyle

A Parent is Faithful When We Ask Particularly

indexThe question in v. 9 gives the same meaning as that of v. 10.

   A     Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread,

          B     will give him a stone? (v. 9)

   A1   Or if he asks for a fish,

          B1   will give him a serpent? (v. 10)

Note that Jesus cites the basic foods in their time—bread and fish. In the Philippines, it is rice and fish. But in Jesus’ time, it is bread and fish. It tells us that Jesus is focused on our basic needs. Ask for your bread and fish, and you shall receive it. Seek for bread and fish, and you shall find. Knock for bread and fish, and it will be opened to you.

The two questions are rhetorical. A rhetorical question is asked to produce an effect. In this case, the effect is a negative answer—“No.” Jesus asked, “Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?” The obvious answer is, No, of course not. When a son asks his dad for bread, his dad will not give him a stone. When a son asks his dad for fish, he would not give him a snake.

But the point is not about asking bread and fish. It is not even about bread and fish. The point is about a faithful father that provides the needs of his son.

Jesus uses the example of a human parent that provides faithfully. But in the next verse, v. 11, Jesus uses the example of a divine parent, the Father in heaven, that provides more faithfully.