This is the third and final message in our series on “What can I do for you”? Our study has examined the invitation that God has given to many Biblical characters throughout history. Is such an invitation being made available to the church of our day? If so, what are some of the keys we can learn to help in our understanding in what this means for us?
First, we need to know that God desires that we come to Him in prayer in making request for needs. He also makes clear that we are not to limit Him in our asking.
Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:24).
Let’s consider an example from the Old Testament where an invitation was given to a king of Israel to ask largely of the Lord.
Then he said, “Take the arrows”; so he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground”; so he struck three times, and stopped. And the man of God was angry with him, and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike Syria only three times (2 Kings 13:18-19).
God was angry because the king did not honour God by asking what was needed to totally destroy the enemy. In our asking, it is vital that we do not limit God. He is the God of the impossible and He is glorified when we can trust Him to bring the needed victories and breakthroughs (Jeremiah 32:27).
In the opening verse above, we see Nehemiah being given an opportunity to ask anything he needed from a heathen king. Carefully consider his response because it will prove helpful in our approach to God. The first thing Nehemiah did was to pray to God as to what he should ask for. This is an important key that we need to examine in more detail.
Nehemiah was not interested in asking anything from the king that would fulfil his wish list or agenda. He asked the Lord concerning what his request should be. In chapter one of the Book of Nehemiah, we see Nehemiah being overwhelmed with the breakdown of the walls in Jerusalem.
And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven (Nehemiah 1:3-4).
The key to Nehemiah’s invitation to ask largely was due to knowing the burden and heart cry of the Lord. Nehemiah, along with Ezra, were key leaders who were products of the captivity of Babylon (Ezra 7:6).
The prophet Jeremiah gave a promise to those who would submit to the period of captivity in Babylon.
For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart (Jeremiah 24:6-7).
Ezra and Nehemiah were leaders who came to know the burden and heart of God. This is why they could be trusted with an invitation to ask largely of the Lord. Nehemiah was reflecting the very heartbeat of God. He was an instrument who was able to be used to fulfil God’s agenda. Nehemiah asked for everything that was needed that would enable him to fulfil the task of the rebuilding of the walls. Nehemiah even asked for the necessary permits and rites of passage (Nehemiah 2:7).
As we are in the Christmas season, what request will you make known to God? Perhaps the walls in your homes need to be rebuilt or you are in need of healing and provision.
One thing we can all ask of the Lord is to have a greater burden for souls. Next year is a year of Intercession for Lighthouse. Can we believe the Lord to break our hearts so that we come to know his heart? Can we also believe God for wisdom and understanding in how to shepherd and lead the multitudes that will come into the church. Let us be reminded of the prayer of Solomon as we close this series on “What can I do for you?”
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you (1 Kings 3:5)?
Monday: Jeremiah 32:27
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
Tuesday: Luke 11:9
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Wednesday: Ezra 7:21
And I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the region beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require of you, let it be done diligently
Thursday: Philippians 4:19
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Friday: 2 Chronicles 14:11
And Asa cried out to the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O LORD our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!”
Saturday: Psalm 91:15
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
Sunday: Hebrews 4:16
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
All scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV).
By Pastor Timothy O’Connell