From: Su Min
Subject: Ask Seek Knock
My dearly beloved,
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the council of the wickedToday's reading is Matt 7:7-12.
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruits in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous
Ask ask ask, Knock, knock, knock, Seek and ye shall find: so goes a Sunday School song. Jesus promises us "Everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened."
The false prophets who preach a gospel of health and wealth like to use passages like this to suggest that we can pray our hearts out and receive a million dollars, an instant cure of cancer, friendship, success and material blessings to match our every whom and fancy.
The spirit of discernment tells me that it was not only material blessings that Jesus had in mind when he directed us to ask, knock, seek. Jesus nailed to the cross stretches his arms out to reach us across the world, yet stands boldly up, reaching up towards heaven. The cross has a horizontal component and a vertical component. Even as Jesus had spoken so much about a spiritual plane of thinking rather than a materialistic plane, surely his main thrust of teaching here is spiritual: that as we ask for spiritual blessings we will receive blessings: as we seek spiritual truths in bible study and small group discussion, we will find God speaking to us to gives the answers, as we knock the door to be let into the kingdom, the door will be opened.
We have been given the bible as God's telephone number:
- Which of you if his son asks for bread will give him a stone (Matt 7:9)?
- Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake (Matt 7:10)?
- Or if he asks for an egg will give him a scorpion (Luke 11:12)?
- 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!
Call unto me and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not (Jer 33:3).What of material blessings? What of health and wealth? The answer lies I believe in learning to ask, not only from the bottom of our hearts, not only with persistence and fervour, not only pleading for God's mercy, but with the focus on God's will and perfect judgement and His supreme plan for the kingdom. It is God's prerogative to give and to take away. It is for Him to have mercy on whom he will show mercy. For some he will intervene and provide miracle cures. For others he has destined them to progress through the illness till they find sweet release in mortal death. God works in mysterious ways. Many of us have been so blessed by being ministered to by those saints who despite a terminal illness have found peace with God and the ability to radiate God's love to us.
He will call upon me and I will answer him
I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and deliver him.
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation (Ps 91:15-16).
Jesus could have prayed for anything at Gethsemane, yet he prayed, "Yet not as I will, but as you will (Matt 26:39)". "May your will be done (Matt 26:42)."
Thy kingdom come... thy will be done... (Matt 6:10). So too we should learn to pray, even as we ask for material blessings, that the blessings are congruent with God's perfect will.
Jesus ends this teaching on a practical note: Even as we ask for material and spiritual blessings, our blessed lives must have an impact on others, to the glory of God. How simple it is for us to learn what we should do to others. "In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matt 7: 12).
Let us pray
Thank You for Your lesson today.
Thank You for showing us Your word reaching to us on a vertical plane as well as a horizontal plane.
Thank You for the promise to reward those who ask, knock and seek in the direction of Your kingdom.
Teach us to seek Your perfect will Father.
Give us the discipline to submit to your will when we find it.
Help us do to others as we would have them do to us.
In the Name of Jesus who showed us how to do it. Amen.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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