"And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
"You fathers—if your children ask [for bread, do you give them a stone? Or if they ask] for a fish, do you give them a snake instead?
Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not!
So if you sinful people 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."(Luke 11:9-13)
The passage is still focused on prayer. We can tell that from the link between the "friend at midnight" and this section on stones, snakes and scorpions. We are still dealing with a request for bread, like the example of the friend at midnight. This is not an actual incident that happened. The friend at midnight didn’t go around a number of houses seeking bread. The setting was more the sense, "Suppose a friend came to you at midnight", "what if", "Who among you" would refuse a "friend at midnight" in a Jewish village setting. Answer, no one. So too we have the same setting in this case.Suppose your children ask for bread.Who among you would give your child a stone if he asked for bread? Or worse yet, a snake or a scorpion, if they wanted fish or eggs? No of course not, that's ridiculous. So too, we have a similar example as with the friend at midnight, a ludicrous thought of such a thing ever happening. Can you imagine a father giving his son a stone in place of bread, a snake instead of a fish, or a scorpion instead of an egg? No one would do such a thing. Exactly! You all know to give your children good things.
Do you see that the point is carried over from the analogy of the friend at midnight. You are not likely to refuse a friend just because he comes at midnight. Even if you are tempted to tell him to go away, you wouldn't to avoid the shame that would come your way when he told people what you had done. But the bottom line is that you would give him what he asked for because he is a friend and a fellow villager. But in this case, the relationship has been moved closer than a friend coming at an inopportune time. Now we are talking about your children coming and asking for things. Imagine me handling requests from my grandkids. I want to give them every good thing I can give them. I want to give them surprises and treats because I want them to experience those things. Would I give them stones, snakes and scorpions? Of course not. Jesus has simply moved the analogy up a notch closer to our hearts and ramped up the unlikelihood of such a thing happening. Like He said in verse 12, "OF COURSE NOT". In the example of the friend at midnight, there was a degree of separation from close family. He was a friend, not family. Now we are talking about a family member. Even less likely for us to treat them badly or give them something harmful. It would never happen.
That is Jesus' point. Remember how Luke's version of the Lord's Prayer starts off: Father. . . Give us each day our daily bread. This analogy has been moved deliberately into the family setting and still we are talking about bread. It is no coincidence. The Lord's Prayer asks for bread, the friend at midnight asks for bread and now the children are asking for bread. Are you getting the point? Jesus is simply just moving the example closer and closer to home. Either Jesus used these illustrations one of the times He shared the Lord's Prayer teaching, or Luke has moved it to this place to match it with the other segments where "asking for bread" is a focus. In fact Matthew has this element in Matt 7:7-11. Matthew's use of them is more disconnected than what Luke has done with them. So either Luke has rearranged the material or Jesus has used these examples in a new setting. Either way the teaching is important for us to grasp.
When you approach Father God, remember you are approaching Him on the basis of your family relationship. As John's gospel puts it, "But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12) You are a child of God. As Paul reminds us in Romans, we are joint heirs with Christ. As we have talked about before, you have throne room access rights. There is no time of the day or night that you would be barred from entering the King's chamber. You are His child. Joachim Jeremias, a German theologian and commentator of the early 20th Century, felt the "ask, seek, knock", referred to seeking access to the royal or heavenly chambers. That may well be, but realize you have that right as a child of God. (See the comments I made in Gemz 193 and 194.) While everyone else has to wait for the King to give audience or access to Him as he "sits in State", as His child you can run in and sit on his lap whenever you want. In fact, in the analogy of the friend at midnight, you can go into His bedroom and touch Him on the arm to wake Him up because you have had a bad dream AT MIDNIGHT. You have unalienable rights as His son or daughter, all the privileges of royalty.
When you address the Lord as Father, the significance of it is huge. Hence this passage on prayer from 11:1-13, is a matter of your escalating rights of access in prayer to your Heavenly Father. Do you really think He will refuse you because He is too busy or too tired. Do you really think He will give you something that is not in your best interests or something that will hurt you? Hardly! Oh. but that does not mean you will always get what you want either. There will be times when God withholds things from us because He knows what is best for us. As Jesus said, "You sinful people 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." This is not meaning asking for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is referring to the indwelling Spirit of God. When you have the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord of the Universe dwelling inside you, then you have everything. What could you possibly lack?
One more thing I wish to draw your attention to: notice the intriguing order of Ask, Seek, Knock. In the context of the friend at midnight one would think the natural order would be seek, knock and ask. Or maybe knock, seek and ask. I am not sure of the reason for this order. Perhaps it is a spiritual significance of asking God first (our prayers) and really seeking Him for the answer at a deeper level than normal and then we find the door is thrown wide open for us to enter into His presence. I do know from a personal encounter with God where I heard His audible voice in the context of John 5:39, that we haveto come to Him. It is not a matter of searching the Scriptures daily, having a devotional time, doing a Bible reading. It is all about relationship, coming into God's Presence. Start to utilize your throne rights and get into His Presence. When you do that, know that nothing will be withheld from you. You won't just be given bread for today, but you will have a truck load for tomorrow and all the blessings of the Age to Come too.
In short, realize that these segments in Luke 11 – The Lord's Prayer, The Friend at Midnight and Giving a Son a Stone, Snake or Scorpion are all connected. In summary, they show us that God is always willing to receive us and hear our requests, any time of day and night. And furthermore, He will always give us every good and perfect gift and never something to harm us.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men! Rick Godwin
The Most Important Thing A Father Can Do For His Children Is To Love Their Mother. Theodore Hesburgh
Life is God's gift to us. What we do with it is our gift to God. AR Bernard
One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is time alone with God. Joyce Meyer
C'mon over and bring the kids. God