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Sermon on the Mount: Ask…Seek…Knock
“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, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
Matthew 7:7-11 NASB1995
After telling us not to be judgmental, but also asking us to be discerning (unconditional love but not unconditional approval), Jesus tells us to bring our requests to God and to ask, seek and knock. When we ask, the response is to be given time with God and He will hear us. When we seek, we find what we are looking for through God’s graces and mercy. And when we are persistent and keep knocking, the door to the Kingdom of God is opened for us! God is not a heavenly lottery ticket or a slot machine granting magic wishes; His response can be “NO”, or muted, or delayed, all for serving His good purposes. He IS the Heavenly Father of those who believe and He will give good gifts far beyond what we, who are evil, would give to each other and to our children.
David Guzik from Enduring Word biblical commentaries has gathered some excellent comments about ask..seek..knock:
i. In this three-fold description of prayer as asking, seeking, and knocking we see different aspects of prayer and different aspects of its reward.
· Prayer is like asking in that we simply make our requests known to God, and everyone who asks receives. Receiving is the reward of asking.
· Prayer is like seeking in that we search after God, His word, and His will; and he who seeks finds. Finding is the reward of seeking.
· Prayer is like knocking until the door is opened, and we seek entrance into the great heavenly palace of our Great King. Entering through the opened door into His palace is the reward of knocking, and the best reward of all.
ii. “Ask with confidence and humility. Seek with care and application. Knock with earnestness and perseverance.” (Clarke)
iii. The idea of knocking also implies that we sense resistance. After all, if the door were already open, there would be no need to knock. Yet Jesus encouraged us, “Even when you sense that the door is closed and you must knock, then do so and continue to do so, and you will be answered.”
iv. Yet the image of knocking also implies that there is a door that can be opened. “His doors are meant to open: they were made on purpose for entrance; and so the blessed gospel of God is made on purpose for you to enter into life and peace. It would be of no use to knock at a wall, but you may wisely knock at a door, for it is arranged for opening.” (Spurgeon)
v. We come to God’s door and all we must do is knock. If it were locked against us we would need a burglar’s tools to break in, but that isn’t necessary; all we must do is knock, and even if I don’t have a burglar’s skills I can still knock – I know enough to do that!
vi. “Any uneducated man can knock if that is all, which is required of him…A man can knock though he may be no philosopher A dumb man can knock. A blind man can knock. With a palsied hand a man may knock…The way to open heaven’s gate is wonderfully simplified to those who are lowly enough to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and ask, seek, and knock believingly. God has not provided a salvation which can only be understood by learned men…it is intended for the ignorant, the short-witted, and the dying, as well as for others, and hence it must be as plain as knocking at a door.” (Spurgeon)
So ask with confidence and humility, seek with care and the appropriate application to our lives as believers, knock with perseverance and earnestness, and God will answer those that He loves! When we come to a door that is closed, it is always appropriate to knock!
My next Sermon on the Mount devotional will be on Matthew 7:12: The Golden Rule.
David Guzik commentaries from Enduring Word are used with written permission.