2004-09-30 - Ask
Isa 65:24 "It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. (NAS)
This is a promise to Israel at the end of Isaiah. The nation had finally been broken by the silence of God in response to their disobedience. The Lord has been listening the whole time, but has been waiting for their hearts to turn away from their pride back to Him. The answer that Israel hears is full of amazing promises of the millennium. The Father has so many good things in store for us, but we allow pride and our own agendas to get in the way. God does know our needs and our desires before we voice them, or know them ourselves. Some would say, "Why do I have to ask if God knows already what is best for me?"
If we automatically asked for what we need, we would be robots. God created man to have fellowship with Him. In order to have a relationship with someone, there are matters of trust and risk. With a robot, or computer, the response is predictable and consistent. This is not the case with creatures possessing a free will. Emotions, health, safety, etc. may color our reactions to others, even our dearest friends. From those situations we learn things about ourselves and our Provider.
If we were automatically given everything that was best for us, we would come to expect it. When things are handed to us, we become ungrateful and we do not learn anything. Some of the Israelites rebelled against the perfect provision of God that came in the form of manna to eat. The entire nation had been provided for one day at a time for years. There was no sickness, no hunger, even their shoes didn't wear out! In the midst of this total care, they wanted something else.
Num 11:4-6 And the rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, "Who will give us meat to eat? 5 "We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, 6 but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna." (NAS)
Fellowship with God means spending time with Him. When children are very young their parents provide for every need. As they grow and learn to communicate, we begin to ask for things. At first, those things are often not really what we need or should have. Sometimes the answer is no, or wait. Learning what is good or bad for us is something that happens along the way. Sound very similar to growing as Christians. Learning to leave our pride behind and accept the good things God has for us comes with asking.
I Jn 5:14-15 And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. (NAS)
There will be times when what we ask for is not the best. When we learn that what we have asked for is not what we had hoped it would be, we grow. If we grow, slowly our wills are conformed to match Jesus' will for our lives. This doesn't make us robots any more than learning how to choose as we grow up makes us robots. But it does equip us for life. Start asking, but listen for the answers.
Grace & Peace,