Passage: Matthew 7:9-11 [NKJV]
Mat 7:9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Mat 7:10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! Mat 7:11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.
Jesus adapts a standard Jewish argument here called qal vahomer: arguing from the lesser to the greater (if the lesser is true, how much more the greater). Fish and bread were basic staples, integral to the diet of most of Jesus’ hearers; they do not stand for the fineries of the wealthy. [IVP Bible Background Commentary]Mat 7:11 To them that ask him – But on this condition, that ye follow the example of his goodness, by doing to all as ye would they should do to you. For this is the law and the prophets – This is the sum of all, exactly answering Mat_5:17. The whole is comprised in one word, Imitate the God of love. Thus far proceeds the doctrinal part of the sermon. In the next verse begins the exhortation to practise it. [Wesley Explanatory Notes]
Here Jesus is explaining to others that they as parents would never give their child a snake when they asked for a fish, so how much better is God at giving gifts to His children who ask. This speaks to the subject of prayer and making a request of our Father in Heaven.
I have a child who was born with Autism. I have asked God to heal him on a daily basis. Why hasn’t my request for a “gift” been answered miraculously? Why hasn’t God been willing to give me the miracle that I really want; a son who will not have the struggles this world will throw at him because of his autism?
The way I see it is this….
God is concerned with one thing when he views our lives; getting His children to heaven. Period. That is His ultimate goal. He does everything with that goal in mind…EVERYTHING! Do you understand the implications of that? This means that if I ask for something, God is immediately moved by my request and He wants to and WILL give me the fish instead of the snake. But remember, He is omniscient, omnipotent, and knows everything that needs to be known to give me the “golden” fish that I need, maybe not the plain fish that I think I so desperatly want.
Think of just a few things that God has done with the goal of getting his children to heaven…
1. Sent His only Son to die for us.2. Created the sanctuary service to show us His love3. Gave us the Bible4. Guided Moses, Joseph, Noah, Jonah, The Apostles, Jacob, Joshua, Elisha, etc, etc, etc.5. Died on the Cross.6. Lived a sinless life.7. His mercy extends beyond comprehension.8. Pretty much everything God does is with that goal in mind…
Another way of putting this might be in this example of a hypothetical conversation with God…
“Dear God”, says me. “Please Lord heal my son. I am so worried about how he may have struggles because of his autism. I want him so much to be able to make it in this awful world. I know You can heal him, You have done it many times before in other situations.”
“My child”, says God. “You have asked me to heal your son physically, but I have something better in mind for him and for you. You see dear child, I can see the future. I know what is coming around the bend. I know where I need you to be and where your son needs to be to get you both into heaven with me. You may have a hard time understanding it now, but soon when we are together you will say to Me…
“Lord, thank you for giving me the “fish” when I asked for the “snake”. You knew I was asking for a snake even though I thought I was asking for a fish.”
…and so you see that I was able to give you a much better gift then you were even asking for. I have so looked forward to this day so that I could show it all to you and so that you would truly see that I always had your best interest and your son’s best interest in my heart.”
“Dear Lord”, says me. “I will never stop asking for you to heal my son, but from now on, because you are the Creator of everything, I will trust You with my cares and concerns and know that you will always give me the “golden fish” instead of the snake that I might be asking for.”
Another way to think of it; as a parent…
When your child asks you for candy, with big begging eyes, you probably want very much to be able to give them that candy and make them feel good in that moment. But, you also know that they already had a lot of sugar in their diets earlier in the day and that there is a birthday party later that will most assuredly have more sugary treats, so you must not give them that candy they so desire right now. You also know that if they become used to getting the candy whenever they ask there may be “spoiled child syndrome” to deal with later. By denying them this candy you are actually giving them a better gift.
God does this for us, but as the source of all wisdom and power in the universe. How much more should we trust Him?!
So you see dear friends/readers; God always has your best interest in mind. He loves you and me so much that, even though we might get angry with Him for not giving us what we want, he is willing to give us that better fish; that “golden” fish that we never realized we needed. Thank Him today for wanting to get you to heaven! 🙂
Dear Lord in Heaven,
This is my simple prayer today. Please do WHATEVER it takes to get me, my son, my family and my friends to heaven. This is my deepest hearts desire. Amen