Saturday, February 2, 2008
Guarantee #9: Ask and Get!
The guarantee reads: If I can get another Christian to agree with me, then I know God will give what I ask.
There are many verses that would seemingly support this guarantee, two of the most popular are:
Matthew 18:19-20: Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Matthew 7:7: Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Are these scriptures true? Yes. Are they guarantees? I don't think so, but they're often taught as such. What's the difference?
Might it be: Is the believer using these verses as some kind of magical formula to get what he or she wants? Or, are these verses part of the believer's belief system along with the entire teaching of scripture and the basis for his or her faith? It makes a real difference.
I've been in many church groups where the group is told that the leaders prayed about it and God told them (fill in the blank), and that ends it. Again, it seems this truth might be being used to control a group or to get what is wanted. How often have I heard "God told me…" and anyone who speaks after that is going against God's Word (so it seems).
I ask myself why am I writing this post? My answer (to myself ;-) is to address the misuses and abuses of promises in the scripture that are true.
Yes, these scriptures are promises, but they need to be taken in context and applied within the scope of the entire scripture revelation. Many say to just believe the promises, have faith. But the scripture says that faith is the victory; i.e., faith itself, not what belief brings. I don't hear that quoted or taught very often.
There are books and pamphlets that list all the promises of scripture and it seems you can use these references as you would a dictionary. Just look up your need, find the promise, claim it, find someone to pray it for you, and you have it. Voilá! Who wouldn't buy into this? Is this really the teaching of scripture?
I close with the verses in Hebrews 11 that I've quoted before–at the beginning of the chapter of the heroes of faith verse 13 "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, …" and then again at the end of the chapter verse 39 "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:…" But, remember these people are listed as heroes of faith.
Our heroes of faith did not receive what had been promised, but they are known for their faith.
So what does this mean for us? Am I to have faith? Am I to claim promises? Am I to trust God? Am I to pray believing God hears and answers? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Just don't say it is a guarantee that God will deliver.
What the scriptures seem to teach overall is that God is in charge and He knows what's best for us and He is with us and He loves us. Trust Him and live your life with that knowledge as foundational.