2 Chronicles 6:18-21, Matthew 7:7-11
As we consider the theme of starting well and finish well, there is perhaps no better example than Solomon to define what ‘starting with a bang’ means. Solomon was afforded the amazing opportunity to receive from God whatever request he had: “Ask what I shall give you” (2 Chronicles 1:7). Solomon didn’t take long to think about it: give me “wisdom and knowledge to rule this great people!” He was way over his head, on a vertical learning curve, trying to fill the big shoes of his father, David, as the new king (2 Chronicles 1:10). Then God’s answer comes just as swiftly: “wisdom and knowledge are granted to you” (2 Chronicles 1:12). Done. It’s that simple. All Solomon had to do was ask. He was not afraid to ask the ‘big asks’ from God. He was bold before his Father in Heaven.
Boldness is also Solomon’s posture in his great prayer for forgiveness in 2 Chronicles 6:12-42. He turns the request into a promise in 2 Chronicles 6:21: ‘You indeed shall hear/listen [same word in the original] from heaven your dwelling place, you shall hear/listen, and you shall forgive.” The biggest ask, the most important prayer to God you and I can ever offer, is the request for forgiveness from Him through Jesus. All we have to do is ask and God promises to give it to us.
Jesus uses the same playbook in the Sermon on the Mount. First he puts to rest any notion that praying is reduced to a check-list of what we want God to do to make our lives comfortable. “Don’t worry about your life” Jesus says (Matthew 6:25-34). He also puts to rest the idea that our prayer life is about building monuments to ourselves (see 2 Chronicles 6:18). Instead, when we ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7), we are “seeking” the things of the “kingdom” and “God’s righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). But, as we ask the big asks, God will also take care of our needs, in His time and in His way (Matthew 7:9-11). This is the goodness of our Father in Heaven!
Questions for the week:
Are you ready for the big asks from your Father in Heaven? Asking and receiving (and the harder part, accepting) His forgiveness, spiritual renewal in our own life, your spouse, your children, siblings, grandchildren, friends, wisdom to fulfill your vocation, and so on. So in our journey to starting and finishing well we remember this piece of Solomonic wisdom: “All you have to do is ask.”