29 Oct 2014
This morning this question was presented ….. What is the connection between asking and obeying? One thing these two have in common is that they are both commanded. We are directed by God to ask and we are instructed to obey. But are these two attitudes more closely connected in other ways?
Before we attempt to delve more into this question it seems that we should attempt to define in biblical terms the attitudes of asking and obeying. First let’s examine the attitude of asking.
The attitude behind our asking is critical. Note below: when King Ahaz was instructed by God to ask for a sign, he arrogantly refused.
Isaiah 7:10-13 (NASB77)
10 Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying,
11 "Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven."
12 But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!"
13 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?
Jesus instructs us regarding asking. The process of asking begins with a progression of attitude adjustments. First we are to recognize that God is Holy. We are told that we are to ask that God and His name be kept holy, (hallowed be thy name). Our next step in the progression of attitude adjustment is to place the will of God above our own, (thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven). Only after these steps of perspective adjustment are accomplished are we ready to ask for those things we believe we need.
2 Chronicles 1:5-7 (NASB77)
5 Now the bronze altar, which Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, was there before the tabernacle of the LORD, and Solomon and the assembly sought it out.
6 And Solomon went up there before the LORD to the bronze altar which was at the tent of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.
7 In that night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, "Ask what I shall give you."
After Solomon had thoroughly demonstrated his reverence and desire to please God, it came to pass that God asked Solomon “what shall I give you?” What is your normal perspective, your regular attitude in asking?
Solomon continued to demonstrated his desire to put and keep Godfirst as he responded to God’s inquiry.
2 Chronicles 1:10-12 (NASB77)
10 "Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can rule this great people of Thine?"
11 And God said to Solomon, "Because you had this in mind, and did not ask for riches, wealth, or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor have you even asked for long life, but you have asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge, that you may rule My people, over whom I have made you king,
12 wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you. And I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed, nor those who will come after you."
It certainly seems that to humbly put the desires and honor of God firstis a good way to ask.
In the interest of time let’s quickly examine obedience. What does it look like to maintain an attitude of obedience to God? Perhaps we can gain some insights from the following passages?
Isaiah 29:13 (AMP)
13 And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning],
1 Samuel 15:22-23 (AMP)
22 Samuel said, Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim (household good luck images). Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (AMP)
12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you but [reverently] to fear the Lord your God, [that is] to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being,
13 To keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?
1 John 5:3 (AMP)
3 For the [true] love of God is this: that we do His commands [keep His ordinances and are mindful of His precepts and teaching]. And these orders of His are not irksome (burdensome, oppressive, or grievous).
Could it be that the primary binding element in asking as we are instructed by God and obeying as we are commanded by God is the idea of loving God, putting Him first every day in every way?
Perhaps we should ask how can we move toward God in the priority of our attitudes of asking and obeying? Perhaps a place to start is to consider how we prepare for asking properly. Solomon sacrificed one thousand burnt offerings. What does this mean in our lives? Have you ever wondered what might be required for your heart attitudes to move God to appear to you in a dream and ask you what He can do for you?
Could it be that we are generally too quick to ask and too slow to obey? Could the cause of this condition be that we are considerably too light on love?
I wonder what might happen if only one person after so loving, honoring and obeying God was ask by God what He could do for them ….. And this same person would respond by asking God to bring a revival, a national spiritual awakening, which would bring great glory to His name and vibrant vitality to His bride?
I wonder …. Could that one person be you?