Personal thoughts on Luke 11:1-13 and Jeremiah 18:1-11...
Recently I was reading in Luke 11:1-13 how Jesus’ disciples came to Him and said John the Baptist had taught his disciples to pray a specific way. Jesus’ disciples asked if He would teach them to pray His way. Jesus accommodated them with what we call the Lord’s prayer. I love how The Voice translates verses 2 - 4:
"Father [in heaven], may Your name be revered. May Your kingdom come. [May Your will be accomplished on earth as it is in heaven.] Give us the food we need for tomorrow, And forgive us for our wrongs, for we forgive those who wrong us. And lead us away from temptation. [And save us from the evil one.]”*
Jesus then launches into dialogue about how the Father is willing to give us what we need and what we ask for, as long as it is within His will, and summarizes in verse 13 (continuing from The Voice):
"Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask!”
I had surgery nearly two weeks ago and had fears of something happening to me while in the hospital and even during the procedure. So I began praying a few days beforehand asking God to remove my problem, or if He didn’t to help me deal with it. I didn’t have the problems I feared, and I knew Who to thank. Last week I found the above verses during my personal Bible study, and they fit together perfectly with my circumstances. No matter how trivial our problems seem to be, God wants to help. There’s another verse in the Bible (James 4:2-3) that says we have not because we ask not. However, sometimes we think we can handle our problems on our own and don’t bother to ask.
Just as Jesus talked about the friend arriving at midnight and a father giving his son whatever he could (instead of something that would have been harmful), so does our Heavenly Father. He is just waiting on us…. Think of the many blessings we miss out on because we don’t ask!
This leads me to Jeremiah 18:1-11, which was preached on in our service yesterday morning. Most people remember this as the story of the potter’s wheel, which it is, but what I got out of it deals with God changing His mind. Uh, oh! We Christians don’t like to think about that, because then we see through our own eyes and think maybe God is wishy-washy, which we know He definitely isn’t! However, these verses, especially verses 7-11, state that God is the One Who sets up and takes away kingdoms. And He is willing to change His plans if we are willing to obey and follow Him (to confuse you even further, God already know what we will choose to do!). Listen to what He says as from the New King James version study Bible:
"The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.
"Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.”’”
Did you get that!?! Does it remind you of what happened to the Ninehvites in the story of Jonah (see specifically Jonah 3:5-10)? Just thinking about it right now reminds me also of King Hezekiah whose life was extended because of his prayer (see II Kings 20:1-11).
Again, God wants to give His children the best that He has to offer. But it must be according to His will, and we must be in obedience to Him. Who knows what blessings we’ll receive, if we obey. And who knows what might become of us if we don’t!
* According to The Voice translation of the Bible, the phrases in brackets are omitted in the earliest manuscripts.