Is it possible that Matthew 7:7 is the most encouraging verse in the Bible?
Hi, welcome to today’s little lesson, and I’m so blessed to be with you once again as I’m sitting here along the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio on this beautiful, cloudy and calm afternoon. Thanks so much for joining me.
If you have been joining me we’re working our way through the Sermon on the Mount, asking and trying to answer some questions along the way and we’re now in Matthew chapter seven. We happen to be in verse number seven.
I know that Jesus did not give the Sermon on the Mount in chapters and verses, but there’s something about that number seven, and here we are in chapter seven and verse number seven. And boy, is it a good one. Oh my goodness. Is it a good one. And so if nothing else, just let this verse soak in to your heart and mind.
This is Jesus. This is God speaking, and he’s talking about getting your prayers answered, how much God wants to bless you and help you. And boy, do we all like to hear that kind of stuff. It’s encouraging.
That’s why I asked, is Matthew 7:7 the most encouraging verse in the entire Bible? Maybe yes. Here it is. Matthew 7:7. Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. He who seeks, finds. And to him who knocks, it will be open.”
Now, those are two very encouraging verses I kept reading down through verse number eight. And so if nothing else, if nothing else, what we get from these verses is God’s desire, his willingness, his openness to wanting to answer our prayers, our asking, our seeking, and our knocking.
I’m understanding that the verb tenses in all of those cases, it would actually be perhaps translated, “ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking.” And so it’s just, don’t stop. Don’t ever think that you’re too blessed. Don’t ever think that you’ve bothered God. Don’t ever think he doesn’t want to hear your request. Don’t ever think that. He’s a good, good God and he is our father.
In fact, Jesus can’t resist reminding us of that in the very next couple of verses because he talks about the father and son relationship here, and he says in verse number nine, “Or what man is there among you, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?” So this is an encouragement. Again, you have a father and son, a father and child relationship with God and just like an earthly father, the son asks him for a loaf, he doesn’t give him a stone.
He repeats it again in verse number 10, a little different example. “Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?” Well, no, no, and then just to elaborate even more, Jesus says in verse number 11 … Maybe this is the most encouraging verse in the entire Bible … “If you then,” speaking to his disciples, “being evil,” that is, you’re basically selfish, “know how to give good gifts to your children,” so if evil people, if they have enough goodness in them, and I’m telling you some of the worst incorrigible characters in the world still give gifts to their own children, right?
So Jesus said, “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father,” who’s infinitely good, who’s not evil at all, “how much more will your father who is in Heaven give what is good to those who ask him.”
And so there you have it. There you and I have it, some of the most encouraging verses. To encourage us to ask, not stop asking, to seek and knock, to believe that what we’re asking for, that’s what we will receive. And it’s an encourager. It’s a big encourager.
Now we know from other verses that Jesus said, for example, “Everything you ask for in prayer, believing you shall receive.” Matthew 21 and verse number 22. And James talked about, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men generously and without reproach and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect he will receive anything from God being unstable in all his ways.”
There you have it. You just can’t take one verse here and say, well, that’s the only verse. No, no, no. Take all the verses. Obviously faith is a component in getting our prayers answered, but this is Jesus speaking, right? We need to remind ourselves. This is God speaking, God who cannot lie. It’s impossible, the Bible says, for God to lie. So our faith ought to be built up and encouraged and activated just when we read verses like these. Oh my goodness.
Now one other key, I think that maybe we’re missing, Jesus says, “How much more will your heavenly father give what is good to those who ask him?” We want to make sure we’re asking for what is good. And I think we should think of a little bit of historical context here because a lot of the things that people ask for today in our modern culture and society, modern world, didn’t even exist. Nobody was asking for an iPhone back in Jesus’s day.
And there’s another verse in Luke, I think it’s Luke 11 and verse number 13. Jesus says something very similar to this, he says, “if you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give the holy spirit to those who ask him?”
So there is something, well we know is good, the Holy Spirit. And if we’re thinking again in terms of everything that Christ talked about, he said, “Don’t lay up your treasures on this earth,” for example. And so if you said, “Oh Jesus, I asked for treasures,” what do you think the chances of that prayer being answered are? Jesus would say, that’s not good. Now, if you’re asking for treasure that you can lay up in Heaven, oh, now that’s good.
Oh Lord, I want to help more widows and orphans, so can you please promote me at my job and give me wisdom, so I could obey your commandments, and give me the Holy Spirit so I can be holy. That way I’ll, when I stand before you, I’ll be pure and blameless and I’ll have reward waiting for me when I stand before you.
See, these are all the things that God would define as good, not a fancier this or that or other thing. It’s not really focused on material things. In this very sermon Jesus was telling his disciples, don’t be concerned about food or coverage. That’s the kind of stuff that they were concerned about in that day because they were so poor by comparison to many of us in the modern world. So that’s one reason some prayers don’t get answered.
Another reason, no faith. In some cases you couldn’t have faith because there’s no promise. There’s no revelation that what you’re asking for is God’s will. You can ask for what is good by God’s definition, and you can ask in faith for what God says is good.
All right, thank you so much for joining me on this Lake Erie little lesson, hope to see you next time. God bless you.