Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ask for what?

“9 And I tell you, ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 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)

Quick, what good gift is the above quotation telling us to ask, seek and knock for?  Anyone?  Here’s another one…

18 Now early in the morning, as he was returning to the city, he was hungry. 19 And seeing a single fig tree by the road, he went to it and found nothing on it except leaves only. And he said to it, “May there be no more fruit from you forever, and the fig tree withered at once. 20 And when they saw it, the disciples were astonished, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will do not only what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,” it will happen! 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, if you believe, you will receive.” (Matt 21)

Whatever you ask for?  Does God really give us whatever we ask for?  Do we want Him to?

15 He caused rocks to split in the wilderness

and provided drink abundantly as from the depths.
16 And he brought streams out of the rock

and caused water to flow down like rivers.
17 But they sinned still further against him

by rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18 And they tested God in their heart

by asking food for their craving.
19 And they spoke against God.

They said, “Is God able

to prepare a table in the wilderness?
20 Yes, he struck the rock and water flowed

and streams gushed out,

but can he also give food

or provide meat for his people?”
21 Therefore Yahweh heard

and he was very angry,

and a fire was kindled against Jacob,

and his anger also rose up against Israel,
22 because they did not believe God,

and they did not trust his salvation.” (Ps 78)

Do you really want meat to eat “until it comes out from your nose and becomes as nausea to you” (Num 11)?

Did Jesus get everything he asked for?  39 And going forward a little he fell down on his face, praying and saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “So, were you not able to stay awake with me one hour? 41 Stay awake and pray that you will not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!” 42 Again for the second time he went away and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will must be done.” 43 And he came again and found them sleeping, for they could not keep their eyes open. 44 And leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same thing again.” (Matt 26)  Did Paul?  “Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, in order that it would torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would depart from me. And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, because the power is perfected in weakness.” (1Cor 12)  Did David?  16 David pleaded with God on behalf of the boy and David fasted. He went to spend the night and lay upon the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood over him to lift him up from the ground, but he was not willing, and he did not eat any food with them. 18 It happened on the seventh day that the child died…” (2Sam 12)

The Israelites whine and get what they ask for and it makes them sick.  David, Paul and Jesus ask and do not receive.  What the heck?  Why pray at all?  If we dare pray, what should we pray for?  

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