September 29, 2009

When God Tells You To Ask

“Moreover, the Lord spoke again to King Ahaz, saying, Ask for yourself a sign (a token or proof) of the Lord your God [one that will convince you that God has spoken and will keep His word]; ask it either in the depth below or the height above [let it be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven]. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.”
- Isaiah 7:10-12


War was unsuccessfully being plotted against Jerusalem. It was scary times, but God was on the scene and in control. He knew about the evil plotting against His people and He did not like it one bit. So He sent Isaiah with a message for Ahaz.

God was so thorough that He not only told Ahaz, through the prophet, that Jerusalem was in danger, but He even went as far as to lay out the plans in detail that had been created to destroy them. How amazing is that? That fact alone, that God would love a people so much that He would send specific word about someone’s plans to destroy them astounds me.

After revealing the enemy’s plans of destruction, the Lord tells Ahaz not to worry, that the plans wouldn’t stand and would never come to pass. But then He takes it one step even further, when He gives HIS offensive plan to Ahaz, with a clear timeline of how and when everything will happen.

But the Lord didn’t even stop there. He loved Ahaz so much, and was so concerned that Ahaz be strengthened and encouraged to believe in His word, that He told Ahaz to ask Him for a sign as confirmation of God’s word. And here’s the kicker...Ahaz refused the Lord.

How many times have we done this? How often have we listened to and received a word from God, through our pastor or a preacher, then crossed our arms and refused it? How many times has God reached out to us, through the ministry, and tugged on our heartstrings? Yet we feel condemned of our own sins, shortcomings, flaws, or faults, so we choose to shake our heads and say, “No, I don’t deserve to ask God for anything. I’m not worthy to receive a word from Him.”

I wonder how often God becomes weary with me. I can just imagine Him reaching to me, saying, “Hope, here I am. Ask what you want of me and I’ll grant it to you.” And there I sit, trapped by my own fears or failures, convincing myself that I shouldn’t request something more from God.

How dare we refuse God? How dare we weary Him with our foolishness?

Perhaps there is an underlying reason why we decide not to ask Him for that sign that we need, or otherwise. Maybe it’s because there is hidden rebellion in our heart. Maybe we think we have the answers we need already, so what more could God say to convince us otherwise? This is a scary place to be.

Or maybe we want to believe God’s word spoken to our lives, but we’ve lost all hope and that word seems far too wonderful, beyond our wildest expectations. Maybe our vision has dimmed to the point that we can barely see the hope of the prize we strive for.

Whatever the reason, we must choose to set it aside. We have to realize that God loves us. He sent His son into this world of sin, so that we could be saved. How can we refuse such love?

The solution to this is simple. When God calls, respond. When He speaks a word into your life that sparks hope inside you, but you’re still afraid, ask for that sign you need. When He gives you that promise, write it down. Count on it. Believe it. Above all, never be afraid to ask, especially when He tells you to.