Scriptures

Ask, Seek, Knock

Introduction

‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. ‘Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So, in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.’ Matthew 7:7-12

‘Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. ‘So, I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. ‘Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’ Luke 11:5-13

Please note that the asking, seeking and knocking are continuous actions not a onetime request. There is a progression here of one’s intensity by which he seeks God’s help. By faith one must seek God according to His will. As opposed to the self-righteous hearts of dogs who continually reject all righteousness, the humble-hearted must intensify their dependence on God for direction in life. We need to believe that God will provide.

Jesus illustrates the willingness of God to care for His children. An earthly father wouldn’t mock his son’s request for help by giving a stone or a serpent, neither would God do such a thing in the spiritual realm. It’s the rule with God to answer prayer but how and when He answers is His choice. His wise answers are often not the answers we feel we should have.

The parable

To illustrate that God can be trusted to respond to our prayers, Jesus tells the parable of the friend who calls at midnight. Hospitality was of paramount importance in the biblical world, and when a guest arrived, even unexpected, even at midnight, there was no question that hospitality must be extended. So, when the man in the story finds himself without enough bread for his guest, he goes to a friend and asks to borrow some, even though he must wake up his friend’s entire household.

‘Do not bother me,’ the friend answers from within. ‘The door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’ Luke 11:7

Hearers today might empathize with the woken-up friend and think that the midnight caller is pushing the limits of friendship. But in the culture of the biblical world, it is the woken-up friend who is behaving badly. The ability of his friend to provide hospitality, and thus his honour, is at stake.

Jesus says that the man will eventually respond to his friend’s request, not because he is a friend, but because of his friend’s shamelessness, Luke 11:8. His friend displays no shame in asking for help to meet the requirements of hospitality. The woken-up friend would incur dishonour if he failed to help his neighbour in this essential obligation. So, he will respond because of social pressure at the very least.

Jesus’ parable implies that if it is so among friends with their mixed motives and self-interest, how much more so with God who wants to give us what is good and life-giving, and who is invested in keeping God’s name holy.

The discourse in Luke comes later in Jesus’ ministry and nearer to Pentecost than does the Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew occurs. Therefore, Jesus can be more specific with reference to the needs of his disciples.

From the passage here, it’s clear that God’s children shouldn’t hesitate to pray to the Father for the measure of the Holy Spirit which has been promised to baptised believers, Acts 2:38, and who is a guarantee of our inheritance, Ephesians 1:13.

Luke says that God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask, Luke 11:13. When this statement in Matthew is considered with Luke 11:13, both Matthew and Luke are stating that one receives the good things that result from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the Father’s very best gift. He’s the gift of Himself to dwell with us and within us forever.

‘Do also to them’

is often referred to as the Golden Rule, Luke 6:31. This is the principle of loving our neighbour as our self. This is a fundamental principle of the Christian life that manifests one’s relationship both with his fellow brother in Christ, as well as non-Christians.

This isn’t a selfish motivation for being kind to others, but a mental check by which we can continually guard our behaviour in relation to others. This fundamental principle is the foundation upon which is built all that God would have us do in our relationships with others.

‘Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore, love is the fulfilment of the law.’ Romans 13:8-10

‘For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Galatians 5:14

If the way, we go about sharing the Gospel with others is a reflection of what God has done in our lives, what does this tell us about how we should share the Gospel with others?

We need to remember how the Gospel was shared with us, with love, patience, compassion and understanding of where the other person is at.

‘Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.’ 2 Timothy 2:23-26

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

John 10:10

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