“I tell you, although he will not get up and supply him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his shameless persistence and insistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!” (Luke 11:8-13 AMP – emphasis added)
The human mind tends to be lazy. We want to get an initial understanding of something and “get a handle on it.” From that point, it is fixed and we move on to get another theory neatly under our belt. But the wisdom and knowledge of God is infinite. Just about the time we think we have Him figured out, He does the opposite. And how many times I have had the meaning of a verse opened by Him into a greater depth I never saw before!
Imagine the shock that came upon those faithful Jews who administered the daily sacrifices and guarded the temple of God, knowing that what they were doing was necessary for maintaining their covenant with God. Yet, this same God allowed the Babylonians to come down upon them, take them into captivity, destroy the temple, and put an end to their daily sacrifices! The Ark of the Covenant was lost, never to be seen again. The shekinah glory above the mercy seat was gone! Men built more temples, but the glory of God was lost forever. Every time we think we have God in our nice, neat little doctrinal box, He blows up the box with a new and greater revelation of who He is! In this particular case, He was doing away with the Old Covenant to make room for the next one—a new one not based on law-keeping, but rather the mighty power of His grace.
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 RSVA)
Oswald Chambers wrote,
“God cannot reveal anything to us if we have not His Spirit. An obstinate outlook will effectually hinder God from revealing anything to us. If we have made up our minds about a doctrine, the light of God will come no more to us on that line, we cannot get it. This obtuse stage will end immediately [when] His resurrection life has its way with us.”
We try to resist God with our puny human minds–minds that have been infected with the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil! For instance, we constantly use our minds to categorize people and things (this is good and that is evil). The way the typical carnal Christian thinking works when we meet another Christian is to start asking questions to find out how they believe and where they go to church. Then we say to ourselves, “Oh, you are one of those,” put that person in a convenient pigeon-hole and don’t listen to them any longer unless they are in the same pigeon-hole with us! Our beliefs are not tried and tested when we pigeon-hole people and shut them off if what they say is a challenge to us.
The Pharisees had a hard time with Jesus. They were constantly trying back Him into a doctrinal blind alley. Nicodemus had his mind blown by Jesus one night when he tired to pigeon-hole Him! So, in typical Pharisaic fashion he said to Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him…” Jesus stopped him dead cold in his tracks and told him that he was not even in the game, much less on first base. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus was speaking of a spiritual rebirth of the New Covenant in which the Spirit of God comes into those who keep seeking and are not content with their religious status quo. But that old man could only relate to a spiritual answer with another carnal question, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” As Oswald Chamber rightfully wrote, “If we have made up our minds about a doctrine, the light of God will come no more to us on that line, we cannot get it.”
One of the most important aspects of being led and taught by the Spirit of God is spiritual flexibility. Jesus went on to tell that old Jew, “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit”(John 3:8 RSVA). You cannot predict the wind. Its very unpredictability is demonstrated in Tornado Alley in the mid-west United States every year. Hundreds die in those storms in spite of their storm cellars and early warning systems. Religious people use their knowledge of the Bible to put God in their doctrinal boxes. They say, “Oh, God would not do that!” Or, “It says this in the Bible so God has to do it!” God laughs at our attempts to control Him with our puny minds so we can be God. Isn’t this the very motive behind so much of our Bible studying? Aren’t we trying to get a handle on God so we can control this unpredictable, wild Lover who swoops into our lives and longs to take us to ever greater heights of intimacy with Him?
Yes, He is a wild Lover. He calls us to follow Him, keep seeking Him, keep asking what His will is for us each moment of each day, and keep knocking on His heavenly door until He lets us into His inner chambers where He dwells. Here we abandon ourselves to Him and say as Mary did, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word.”
Oh, dear saints, our Father has so much more for each of us to discover and experience– who He is and the depths of His great love for us. Don’t be content with your own shallow understanding and stop there, thinking you have arrived. One of the most damaging things men do is give another man a theology degree that tells him He has arrived and knows all about God. Paul had one of those degrees because he sat at the feet of and learned from that highly regarded Jewish scholar, Gamaliel. Then on one fine day when Paul had God all figured out and was going about to kill all those cult followers of Jesus, He had an encounter with the living God. All of a sudden his fine education and training became so much dung. But Paul did ask the right question in his divine encounter, “Who are you, Lord?”
My dear Christian friends, if we are to ever apprehend this God by whom we have been apprehended, this is the question that we all should ask Him every day and then stand by to have our minds blown.
Who ARE you Lord?
“Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no foreign god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, and he ate the produce of the field; and he made him suck honey out of the Rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.” (Deuteronomy 32:11-13 RSVA – emphasis added)