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
One of the very basic principles of Biblical study is to apply textual context when examining a given passage. Perhaps one of the most blatant examples of a passage of Scripture that is studied out of context and then twisted to fit a humanistic, self-centered agenda is Matthew 7:7-11. Taken in isolation and viewed on the surface without digging into the full context of the passage, it seems to reduce the Almighty and holy God of Creation to a sort of celestial “Santa Claus”. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
We must remember that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has been describing what it is like to live in the Kingdom of God, to be a citizen of God’s domain, and a member of His family, with Him at the head of the family. Repeatedly Jesus has implored His audience to seek God’s Kingdom and the will of the Father and has warned against seeking after our own selfish desires and lust that corrupt us. This sets the stage and the mentality in the mind of the audience to give appropriate context for the petitions we bring to the throne of grace.
When we are focused on Kingdom priorities and the fulfillment of God’s will in our individual lives, this ultimately transforms our way of thinking as our desires are replaced by His desires. Our hearts become broken for the things that break the heart of God. Our hearts are filled with joy at that which brings joy to the heart of the Father. And it informs our petitions before the throne of grace.
If a child were to go to his father and ask for a poisonous snake as a pet, would a loving and generous father give that child such a gift when requested? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. Just as a father would give a gift to the child that is good for them, they would withhold “gifts” from the child that would prevent them from living their best life, knowing that the request was not in their best interest.
We do not get to define what is “good” for us. That is the prerogative of the Father. He is the one who knows what our future holds. He is the only one who sees beyond what our limited vision is capable of seeing. When we are focused on Kingdom priorities, it changes our petitions to reflect God’s desires for His children. The more intimately we know the heart of the Father, the more confidently we can approach the throne of grace knowing our Godly petitions will be granted in the interest of His Kingdom.
It takes boldness and even audacity to approach a king with a personal request. Typically, from a standpoint of human interests in government, the only thing a citizen could rightfully ask the king for is mercy. In some cases, entering into the presence of a king without invitation or announcement would be grounds for execution.
Such was the plight of Queen Esther as she entered the presence of the King, knowing that to do so could mean certain death (Esther 4:16). However, as Esther had already cultivated a relationship with the king as his queen, and she had found favor in his eyes, Esther was was allowed to issue an invitation to fellowship, which he graciously accepted. It was at this dinner that Esther exposed a plot to exterminate the Jewish race. Her genuine relationship with the King gave her the boldness and confidence to approach Him with her request. In so doing, the Jews were saved from certain destruction – preserving God’s plan for His people.
As children of the King, we are effectively Princes and Princesses of Creation. Our relationship with the Father gives us the boldness and conviction by which we can approach His throne with our petitions. By virtue of our relationship with the Father we can enter into His presence without fear, knowing that He will hear our prayer and grant our desires insomuch that they align with His Kingdom purposes.