July 30, 2012
"So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him." Matthew 7:11
Late last week my father-in-law called to ask what gift our daughter might like to receive in honor of her birthday. Shamefully prepared for the question I gave my father-in-law several ideas.
For the record I believe every grandmama and grandad should be entitled to purchase whatever gift they like for their grandchild. But do you want to know the truth? I love it when people solicit ideas from me. Why? Because I know my child. I know her likes and dislikes. I know what size she wears, what color she prefers. I know that she likes her clothes to fit loosely, and that for now she's not exactly the girly-girl type. I know that she loves music and that she wants to feel grown-up. I know what my daughter wants even before she asks. More than just her wants, I know what she needs. I know my child. So I love it when others come to me for advice in regards to my daughter.
Do you realize it's the same way between us and God?
God knows everything about me. He knows when I sit or when I rise. He knows my thoughts even when I'm far away. He knows everything I do. He knows what I'm going to say even before I say it. God knit me together in my mother's womb. He knows my anxious thoughts. He knows my heart. (Psalm 139:1-4, 13, 23)
God knows me . . . and He knows you. When we find ourselves in need or in want of something, who better to ask than our Heavenly Father?
When Jesus spoke on effective prayer He said, "Keep on asking, and you
will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep
on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8)
Keep on asking and I'll receive that for which I ask? Sounds great! However, there's a catch.
God is a good Father. Just as I declined the request my daughter made for a horse (gotta love a seven year old girl's heart!) our Heavenly Father may not always give us exactly what we want. Instead, He gives us what He knows we need.
James writes, "You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are
jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, so you fight and wage
war to take it away from them. Yet you don't have what you want because
you don't ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong--you want only what will give you pleasure." (James 4:2-3)
God says that sometimes we fail to receive what we ask for because we ask for something He knows we don't need; we ask with selfish motives. When we ask God for something with a pure heart, however, He gives abundantly!
In 1 Kings 3 King Solomon asks God for wisdom to rule His people. Solomon asked God to equip him with something that would benefit others. God replies, "Because you have asked for
wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a
long life or wealth or the death of your enemies—I
will give you what you asked for! And
I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame!" (1 Kings 3:11, 13) Solomon sought God with pure motives and God rewarded him. However, things fared differently for Solomon's father, King David.
In 2 Samuel 11 King David notices a beautiful woman bathing near his palace. Unmoved by the fact that this woman is married to a man named Uriah, King David sleeps with her and she becomes pregnant. In his moment of weakness King David arranges for Uriah to be killed in battle and then takes Uriah's widow as his wife. In 2 Samuel 12:8 God comes to David and says, "I
gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel
and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much,
Can you hear the grief of a Father's broken heart?
Rather than recognizing that God had given David everything he needed--and would have given him much, much more--David allowed the desires of his flesh to rule his life. And David paid dearly in the loss of his child. But God is a God of compassion and forgiveness. In 2 Samuel 12 David professes his guilt before God and God restores David by blessing him with another son--Solomon, the wisest king to ever live.
James 1:17 reads, "Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father." God may not always give us what we want but what He does give is good and perfect.
What is it that you need? What is it that you want? Go to your Father in prayer, to the One who knows you best. Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)