Author: Ron Graham
This page continues to study Matthew chapter 7 and the Sermon on the Mount.
Prayer consists of two kinds of communication to God (Philippians 4:6, 1Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Jesus, in his sermon on the mount, teaches us about the second of the above. Asking of God was the emphasis in the Lord’s example prayer in Matthew 6. Now, in chapter 7, Jesus reasons with us as to why we should ask of God (Matthew 7:7-11).
Jesus shows us that we are dealing with a God different to the gods of human imagination. They are usually fickle and often cruel. The true Father in heaven is anxious to give good things generously, to all his children who ask of him in the proper spirit (2Corinthians 9:8; James 4:3).
The gifts that God gives in answer to our requests are never disappointing gifts. Jesus pictures a son who asks for bread, and his father picks up a stone. A stone might have a similar shape and appearance to a small loaf, but it would be no use to a hungry boy. Or maybe the son asks for a fish, and his father catches an eel or a sea snake. A Jewish boy could not eat such a "fish", because it would be unclean food to him. God is not a father like that. When we ask of God, we receive good gifts.
Paul put this principle in very strong words: God is "able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think" and we can be "filled up to all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:14-21).
John says, "We know that he hears us in whatever we ask, so we know that we have the requests which we have asked from him" (1John 5:14-15; 3:22). No wonder Jesus says, "Ask and it shall be given you".
1. What is "it" that we will receive if we ask, find if we seek, and have opened to us if we knock? (v.7-8)
2. In verse 12, which part of the law and the prophets is Jesus referring to? Compare Matthew 22:34-40. Verse 12 starts with "Therefore..." suggesting that what Jesus enjoins is connected to what he has previously said (verses 7-11). Can you see the connection?
3. What Jesus says about asking and receiving in Matthew 7:7-11 develops two statements in chapter six which tell us what God sees (Matthew 6:6) and what God knows (Matthew 6:8,32). Remind yourself of these, and look up also, Hebrews 4:13; 1Samuel 16:6-7; Matthew 10:29-31.
4. What attribute of God stands out in Matthew 7:7-12? Hint: the answer lies in the contrast in verse 11