Summary: Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. Does this mean Jesus is our genie in a bottle? Can I ask for anything I want and Jesus will just give it to me? There's much to understand about what Jesus said here.
ASK, SEEK, KNOCK
1) Ask, Seek, Knock (7-8). Here we see three different words three different meanings. I think this illustrates a process; like a chain of events if you will. As the Fourfold gospel commentary puts it, “Asking is a simple use of voice, seeking is a motion of the body, and knocking is an effort to open and pass through obstacles.” People’s NT commentary, “Ask implies a simple petition. Seek indicates an earnest search. Knock shows perseverance in spite of hindrances.”
Ask-step one. It’s on the mind and heart and it prompts us to ask God.
Seek-step two. He responds with “you want this? Come after it.” He may not always do it this way. Sometimes we ask and God gives without him motivating us to seek it out. But often times he motivates us to get up and go. To seek would involve leaving something behind in order to pursue; pushing something aside in order to seek. Do we want it enough to go seeking it out? Are we willing to put in the footwork; make the sacrifices? Do we trust God’s leading in getting us there?
Knock-step three. Once we get to where God wants us to go are we willing to knock on the door? Are we willing to be persistent in knocking on the door if need be? Adam Clarke’s commentary words it like this: “Ask with confidence and humility. Seek with care and application. Knock with earnestness and perseverance.”
Persistence pays off. Luke 18:1-8. [significance of using a widow, contrast between judge and God] Why would God make us do this before giving us his blessing? To see if we are willing to pursue what we are asking for; how important is it to us. He may also hold off so that we may appreciate it more. When something doesn’t come easy it’s appreciated more. Sometimes we think God shouldn’t make us ask, seek or knock. He knows what we need so he should just give it to us. Or in the very least, when we ask for it we shouldn’t have to go through any effort to get it or we shouldn’t have to wait. Often times God does operate that way. By his greatness he answers immediately. Sometimes he gives us blessings without even asking for them. But just because he does it this way sometimes it’s wrong for us to expect or demand him to do it this way all the time. There are times when we will need to go through a process in order to receive. We might have to wait before God will answer but it’s not diabolical; it’s wise. And it’s not punishing; it’s rewarding.
“A true story: Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing. Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took a hold on the rope, and started up the face of that rock. She got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda’s eye and knocked out her contact lens. Here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet below her and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn’t there. Here she was, far from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff. She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth." She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me." Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey! Any of you guys lose a contact lens?" Well, that would be startling enough, until you learn why the climber saw it. An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it!” Who do you think told that ant to pick up that contact lens and carry it? God, of course. Why would the ant pick it up; it’s not food. What do you think this woman gained through this experience? A better understanding of how great God is and how much he cares for her.