Remember our scripture?
Matthew 7:7-12 (GW)
7 “Ask, and you will receive. Search and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened for you. 8 Everyone who asks will receive. The one who searches will find, and for the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “If your child asks you for bread, would any of you give him a stone? 10 Or if your child asks for a fish, would you give him a snake? 11 Even though you’re evil, you know how to give good gifts to your children. So how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him?
Every time we ask, God has something for us to receive. EVERYTIME! So, why aren’t we receiving what we ask every time we ask? This verse plainly says that “Everyone who asks will receive.” It doesn’t say, “You will receive what you ask for.” It does say, “You will receive.” I believe God did this because, He has so much to give to us, but we in our smallness can’t see His greater picture or fit His greatness. I may be asking for a cup of water but He has an ocean of water to give me. So in order, to get all His greatness to us, He had to word it this way. His heart is to give to us. He always wants to give to us.
Let’s look at some “askers” in the bible.
David is a great example of an “asker” who asked but didn’t receive what he asked for. Never the less, he did receive.
2 Samuel 7:1-3 (NIV)
God’s Promise to David
7 After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”
3 Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”
Here we see David asking the representative of God, the prophet Nathan to build a house for the Lord. David asked. What did he receive? Did he get what he asked for?
1 Chronicles 22:6-10 (NIV)
6 Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel. 7 David said to Solomon: “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God. 8 But this word of the Lord came to me: ‘You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. 9 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon,[a] and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. 10 He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’
No, David did not get what he asked for, but he received God’s greatness, in that David got to honor God as his heart so wanted. David spent his life, preparing all that was needed for God’s house to be built. David asked and he received, even though it wasn’t what he asked for, he received. What he received was better than what he asked for.
Solomon, David’s son wrote:
1 Kings 8:17-19 (NIV)
17 “My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 18 But the Lord said to my father David, ‘You did well to have it in your heart to build a temple for my Name. 19 Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, your own flesh and blood—he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.’
David received that his joy was full. His heart longed for the presence of the Lord, which he understood to only be found in the courts of the Lord. So preparing for the building of a court or house for the Lord brought David great joy. So, although he asked, he did not receive what he thought he wanted. God gave him something better. This is how it is in our lives too. Every time we ask, God has something for us to receive. EVERY TIME!
What I am finding is that I don’t always recognize the reception part. Sometimes, I ask and nothing seems to happen. However, as I am studying this, I am coming to the realization that I can succeed in asking but still fail in the receiving part because I don’t recognize the reception. Usually, because it doesn’t look like I think it should. I have this preconceived idea of what I think my answer should look like. This hinders me and is a sure sign to me, of a wrong motive. I want God to answer in the manner I think He should.
This brings me to my next point: Asking but failing to receive.
You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.
There are two reasons why we don’t get what we ask for.
- We don’t ask.
- We do ask but fail to receive.
Let’s look at the Israelites.
Numbers 11:4-6 (NLT)
4 Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. 5 “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. 6 But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!”
The background story of this is God had just provided supernatural release from 400 years of slavery for the Israelites and was bringing them into the land of promise. The journey was hard, but made especially harder by the fact that they all had to learn to look to God to provide. The desert was not a place of much food. So, God provided, supernaturally what they needed, Manna. Yet, they were unsatisfied. God’s provision wasn’t what they wanted, so they felt free to complain about it. Yikes! This sounds like me, when I don’t get what I think I should have or I have to do what I don’t want.
The Israelites were not good “askers.” I recognize this in my own life. Complaining about what I don’t have, especially longing for the places of provision that I used to have is not a great asking platform. It insults God and spits on His now provision for me. Plus, it wasn’t true. Egypt was a place of bondage and cruelty, not a great place of provision. Yet in this moment the Israelites made it seem like heaven. Never the less, they asked and let’s look at what they received.
Numbers 11:18-20 (AMP)
18 And say to the people, Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt. Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat.
19 You shall not eat one day, or two, or five, or ten, or twenty days,
20 But a whole month—until [you are satiated and vomit it up violently and] it comes out at your nostrils and is disgusting to you—because you have rejected and despised the Lord Who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, Why did we come out of Egypt?
Numbers 11:31-34 (AMP)
31 And there went forth a wind from the Lord and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall [so they flew low] beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and on the other side, all around the camp, about two cubits above the ground.
32 And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day and caught and gathered the quails. He who gathered least gathered ten homers; and they spread them out for themselves round about the camp [to cure them by drying].
33 While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote them with a very great plague.
34 That place was called Kibroth-hattaavah [the graves of sensuous desire], because there they buried the people who lusted, whose physical appetite caused them to sin.
The Israelites asked, but oh did they ask for the wrong thing, from a wrong motive. They got what they asked for but failed to receive what they needed. My heart is greatly saddened by this because I see this in my own life. I see places were God has delivered me but I am still longing for the “goodness” of those old ways and days. Yuck! What a place of deception. I see places in my life where God’s provision isn’t enough, I have complained. I just repent! Unlike the Israelites, I want to be satisfied with the “manna” of my situation. The manna being Jesus Christ, who is the bread of life, my sustenance, as I walk through the desert wilderness of my trials, let my heart always be satisfied with Him.
I just repent for asking with wrong motives and often not even asking at all. I repent for failing to receive, not because you haven’t given but because I don’t recognize your goodness. I ask you to show me how to ask and how to receive, to recognize your goodness. Give me your heart in asking and receiving. I pray also for those who are reading this. May you teach them how to ask and receive that their joy may be full. Help us to become excellent askers.
In Jesus Name, Amen