At the end of last year, YouVersion highlighted the top 10 Bible verses that were shared the most. I found the list interesting and thought that it could be helpful to understand them in their original context. Today we are looking at Matthew 7:7—which according to YouVersion was the fourth-most shared verse in 2013.
Ask, and It Will Be Given “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7 ESV)
Matthew 7 is part of a larger unit known as The Sermon on the Mount. In this sermon, Jesus essentially outlines life in His kingdom. Matthew 7 is part of that.
Because of the many paragraph breaks and subtitles throughout the sermon it can appear that Jesus is taking a shotgun approach to preaching. In other words, it can seem as if Jesus is just standing before the crowd and giving them a few great sound bytes about a variety of different topics. Matthew 7:7-11 seems to be just one of these shotgun pellets.
While it is quite likely that what we have in Matthew 5-7 are the disciples sermon notes—it would be incorrect to think that there is not at least a thematic connection between each of these topics. Matthew 7:7 is a call for us to see our absolute dependence upon the Lord to live out the ethics of His kingdom.
I wonder how much impact the false gospel of prosperity teachers has upon the sharing of this verse. I wonder how many people share this verse with the thought that all we have to do to receive our blessings is to ask, seek, and knock. If we persistently pray, seek the Lord, and ask him for these blessings then we can claim this promise.
But the verses after 7:7 help us see that the Lord doesn’t always give that which is asked for. The point of verse 9 is that God gives to us that which we need and that which most benefits us. If we ask for something stupid the Lord isn’t going to give that to us. The context strikes out any prosperity teaching in Matthew 7:7.
One of the worst fruits of the rise in the prosperity gospel is that very precious verses like this one are not allowed to take deep root in our hearts. Out of fear of swallowing their false gospel we can wrongly neuter such passages. We can spend all of our time showing what Matthew 7:7 doesn’t mean and not let the full force of this precious promise sink into our hearts.
The point here is that God really hears our prayer. He really does respond to the prayers of his people. When we ask he really does answer. When we seek our Father we will really do find Him. When we knock on the door to his throne room, he really does answer. When we ask for bread and fish he really does give the good things that we seek.
When I think about the way my children ask for things it helps this verse to come alive. They ask as ones without any resources of their own. Everything that they have at this young age comes from the hands of their father and mother. They are utterly dependent upon us. In the same way we are absolutely dependent upon the Lord. Matthew 7:7 is not only a reminder of our dependence on the Lord but also a reminder that He is a gracious and loving Father that delights in providing for His children.
God really does answer prayer. Let us pray, knowing that we are dependent children begging our gracious Father.