Jesus presents a picture and image of God as a loving father who desires to do good things for his children.
In Matthew 7:7-12 He compares the ‘heavenly father’ to an ‘earthly father.’
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Jesus Teaches On…
This is perhaps one of the better known passages on prayer from the teachings of Jesus.
We often look at this passage in light of what Jesus said about prayer.
Today I want to look at it to see what Jesus taught about God.
I’ve said it many times, ‘One of the greatest pictures we have of God comes from the lips of Jesus – God is a Father!’
Every truth we discover about God we must see through the lens of God as father.
Jesus is wrapping up teaching called The Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew chapters 5-7.
He talks about our relationship with God and our relationships with one another.
In verse 12, Jesus summarizes how we should treat our relationships. We should follow the golden rule. Treat others the way we desire to be treated. This is a common sense, practical way to live.
He even goes so far to say it is the summary message of all the law and the teachings of the prophets.
In verses 7-11, He focuses on our relationship with God. To make clear how we should look at God, he puts it in the context of prayer. He compares God to an earthly father.
If earthly fathers provide and give good things to their children, we should know that God is our heavenly father who will do even more for us.
Notice the contrasts between the earthly and the heavenly.
Earthly Father – evil compared to God.
Earthly Father – knows how to give good gifts to his children
‘How Much More…’
Heavenly Father – Perfect
Heavenly Father – Gives good things to them that ask
Notice the transition phrase that draws the comparison: ‘How Much More’
An earthy father is evil compared to God. Yet they give good things to their children. HOW MUCH MORE will God, our heavenly father, give good things to us.
Here are a few of my key takeaways from this passage.
1. God is good. This passage is not just a teaching on how to pray. It teaches us when we pray, we need to know that God is good and will not withhold from us good things.
2. We should learn to see God as our father. As I’ve mentioned many times, this is the greatest revelation of God found in the Bible. It takes the awesome power of the Creator and makes it intimate and knowable.
3. God is better than any earthly father. Jesus uses the term ‘evil’ when contrasting an earthly father with God. He is not saying that all earthly fathers are evil. He is saying that compared to the goodness and love of God, they are imperfect and evil.
Remember, this is in comparison to God. It’s also important to understand the word ‘evil.’
We tend to only think of evil as that which is vile and wicked. In this passage Jesus uses the word poneros – evil.
It is a word that is often associated with disease or moral corruption. The idea is not, wicked in the sense of vicious, malicious aggression. Rather, the brokenness and imperfection that characterizes fallen humanity.
According to Jesus, earthly fathers are imperfect, broken vessels compared to God. Yet they do good things.
God is perfect, not broken and full of faults and weakness; so He will do even more than an earthly father could ever do.
4. God does not want to deceive us. I’m amazed at the number of people who have such a poor view of God. They feel that God is withholding good from them. They are believing the same lie that Adam and Eve believed in the Garden. The serpent tempted them by accusing God of not being a good God. He accused God of holding out on them. See Genesis 3.
Jesus is reversing this misconception about God. He is a good, good Father.
5. God will give good things. In chapter 6 verse 32, Jesus informed us that the Father knows we need things in life. Things are a part of life. We should ask God to provide us with the things we need to make life work and to fulfill His purpose.
6. He is the God of ‘Much More.’ I do not believe we can deplete the resources of God. He is a God of abundance. I reject the teaching of many who portray God as only coming through at the last minute with barely enough to get by.
Sure, God sometimes waits till what seems like the last minute on our time table. But that is not the only way He operates. It is not the major way He operates. Study the Bible and you will find that God stores up plenty in advance on many (most) occasions.
Don’t limit God by thinking He will only come through at the last minute.
7. Asking is the key that unlocks the provision. One Greek Dictionary puts it this way: Ask is the Greek word aiteo which is strictly a demand for something due.
It’s obvious from this that asking is not approaching God like a beggar. The entire thrust of this passage implies that God is not a tyrant, but a father. Asking is what a son or daughter does when they request something.
It is not a demand as if God is our puppet. Rather it is a demand in the sense of a child requesting something to eat. They assume the answer is yes, so they ask boldly.
God is a good, good father. When we view God’s acts and ways through this lens, we discover the goodness of God. When we know the goodness of God, it transforms our lives.
What is your view of God? How does it affect the way you see life?
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