As we look forward to the coming year it seems appropriate that we consider “asking.” The three letter word “ask” while quite small can be very powerful when executed in favor with God.
Perhaps we should start our inquiry into the frequency and propensity of our asking? Someone from times gone by said “asking is the currency of the Kingdom.” The idea behind this quote is God has given us the opportunity, a great wealth, to ask Him and He has set no boundaries on the frequency or the breadth of our asking.
Imagine, a five year old son is visiting his father’s factory while it is vacant of other workers. Every minute the son is asking his father what is this and what is that. He wants to know why and how and when and is continuously asking his father questions. Is this not the kind of relationship our Father desires with His dearly loved children?
For example James tells us that if we lack wisdom …….
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” - James 1:5 (NASB95)
Think with me briefly about this opportunity. God is setting on His throne and knows everything about everything while I am walking around on earth knowing nearly nothing about anything. There is literally no end to the things that I can ask of God. What is in your life right now that would benefit from wisdom from above? Is there anything that comes into our lives that God does not have the ability to provide to us wisdom if we will but ask?
But do I ask? Do you ask? No doubt we spend a bit of our currency of asking when the stakes are very high. However God does not limit our asking to life and death situations. Sometimes our pride in what we think we know is the arch enemy of our asking.
James goes on from the passage above with this instruction ……” Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.
7 For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord,” - James 1:6-7 (AMP)
While James tells us that our asking must be in faith in order to expect answers, there can be also in a very real sense the expression of faith in the very act of asking. Further it seems clear that we can ask for wisdom regarding what to ask. God strongly desires that we ask. In the days of the Kings of Israel we see this incident. “Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying, "Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven." But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!" Then he said, "Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well?’ - Isaiah 7:10-13 (NASB95)
Like Ahaz, we have the choice ask or not to ask. Ahaz refused to ask and Isaiah’s words give us strong indication that God was not pleased with his choice. We likewise may fail or even refuse to ask. Will our failure to ask bringing displeasure to God?
Some perspectives that govern our interaction with other humans seem to also impact the choices we make pertaining to God. For example, if we do not know someone very well we are unlikely to ask them for help even if we know that they have the means to provide. In a similar vein, when we believe that someone will likely not provide in response to our asking, we normally will not ask. From these thoughts we might conclude that the depth and intimacy of our relationship with God highly impacts our propensity to ask of Him. Perhaps to increase our likely hood of asking we could consider taking steps to deepen our relationship with God.
In several places in His Word, God encourages us to ask of Him.
Luke 18:1 (NASB95)
1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,
Matthew 7:7-11 (NASB77)
7 "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. 8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.
9 "Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone?
10 "Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?
11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
God delights in our asking and He also delights in giving us what is good! When we ask specific requests from God and He answers these specific requests, His answers provide evidence of His love and care for His children. Conversely when we fail to ask, the evidence of God’s love and care for us might be a little sparser.
A rather famous case of asking is early in the kingship of Solomon. 1 Kings 3:5 (AMP)
5 In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night. And God said, Ask what I shall give you. Solomon asked for understanding and wisdom in order to rule God’s people well. This request was pleasing to God.
1 Kings 3:11-14 (AMP)
11 God said to him, Because you have asked this and have not asked for long life or for riches, nor for the lives of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to recognize what is just and right,
12 Behold, I have done as you asked. I have given you a wise, discerning mind, so that no one before you was your equal, nor shall any arise after you equal to you.
13 I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there shall not be any among the kings equal to you all your days.
14 And if you will go My way, keep My statutes and My commandments as your father David did, then I will lengthen your days.
King David had a very close relationship with Jehovah God. Below we see two times where he asked of God:
1 Chronicles 14:9-17 (AMP)
9 Now the Philistines had come and made a raid in the Valley of Rephaim.
10 David asked God, Shall I go up against the Philistines? And will You deliver them into my hand? And the Lord said, Go up, and I will deliver them into your hand.
11 So [Israel] came up to Baal-perazim, and David smote [the Philistines] there. Then David said, God has broken my enemies by my hand, like the bursting forth of waters. Therefore they called the name of that place Baal-perazim [Lord of breaking through].
12 [The Philistines] left their gods there; David commanded and they were burned.
13 And the Philistines again made a raid in the valley.
14 And David inquired again of God, and God said to him, Do not go up after them; turn away from them and come [around] upon them over opposite the mulberry trees.
15 And when you hear a sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry or balsam trees, then go out to battle, for God has gone out before you to smite the Philistine host.
16 So David did as God commanded him, and they smote the army of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gezer.
17 And the fame of David went out into all lands, and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations.
When we ask God and follow His directions His purposes will be accomplished in and through our lives. So as we consider the New Year ahead, let’s determine more than ever before to ask. To ask often, to ask in faith and to ask for those things that will bring glory to His name.