Ask, Seek, Knock

Near the end of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord made a statement that has far-reaching application to us.  He said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Mt. 7:7, 8)  In the context, the Lord was talking about the faithfulness of His Father in heaven, who unfailingly gives good gifts to His people in response to their prayers.  This statement reinforced  the Lord’s teaching about prayer in Mt. 6:5-15, included in which was His observation in v. 8, “for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

Obviously this truth has great import with regard to our prayers to God.  Even though He knows our needs better than we do, He wants us to express those things to Him.  Then He will faithfully grant those things that are best for us, and which are consistent with His will.  We can take great comfort from this truth, and should avail ourselves of it every day.

There is another aspect to this principle, however, that is also important to us.  It is the idea that God rewards those who seek Him.  The writer of Hebrews said that we must believe this truth in order to be pleasing to God.  In Heb. 11:6 he said, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

It only makes sense, of course, that God would reward those who seek Him.  After all, it is His eternal purpose that we should live with Him forever in the place that is prepared for us in heaven.  This is why He sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Our sins separate us from God (Isa. 59:2), but by the blood of Jesus Christ we are reconciled to Him through obedience to the gospel (Eph. 2:14-16).  If we seek God in accordance with His inspired word, He will reward us with salvation and eternal life.

The principle of seeking God was attested by Paul when he spoke to the Athenians on the Areopagus.  In Acts 17:23-28 he revealed to them the “unknown God” whom they were worshiping in ignorance.  Among the things he told them was that God made every nation of mankind to live on the earth so they would seek Him, although He is not far from each of one of us (v. 27).  In other words, God does not come looking for us to drag us, screaming and kicking in protest, into His kingdom.  He expects us to seek for Him, and He has left evidence of Himself all around us so that we will know He is there and will want to seek Him.

Creation tells us that God is there, but it is His word, the Bible, that tells us what He expects of us.  If we are serious about seeking God, this is where we must look, for no other source will guide us to Him.  James, the Lord’s half-brother, urged his readers to “in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:21).  Therefore, if we wish to find God, we must look into His book and make it a living part of our lives.

Our Father in heaven wants to give us everything of eternal value so we will live well here on earth, and will live with Him in heaven in eternity.  But like any good parent, He requires us to put forth the effort to please Him in order to receive these blessings.  This is what seeking God is all about.  It is putting Him and His kingdom first in our lives (Mt. 6:33), and submitting ourselves in obedience to His will until He calls us home.  There is a wonderful reward awaiting each of one of us, if we will only ask, seek, and knock.