God, in His great mercy, will give us what we ask for!
[SW145] 07/12/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Ask and Receive”
Text: Isaiah 5:20-21, 9:2ff, and others
Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
And clever in their own sight!
Isaiah speaks to Judah and Jerusalem, by the inspiration of the Lord. By calling evil good and good evil, by calling darkness light and light darkness, they say, “We prefer evil, we choose darkness.”
The consequence for preferring and choosing evil and darkness, even for God’s own people, is exile — absence from the presence of God. He gave them His sweet presence, but they have substituted that for the bitterness that results from exile.
In His great mercy, the Lord will exile them to Babylon and scatter them across the known world, just as He exiled and scattered northern Israel into Assyria. When they see the consequences of their evil, of their darkness, they will turn to Him and He will again choose them (Isaiah 14:1, Zechariah 1:17).
Their eyes were not single, looking to God only. They looked to other gods of the lands, gods that were no gods at all (Psalm 115), because they called darkness light.
Jesus Christ said that if the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! It swallows you up until what emanates from you is only darkness (Matthew 6:23).
He will give you what you ask for. It is for the purposes of salvation, of redemption of His people gone astray, then and now.
Then and now, it like the days of Noah:
Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Northern Israel did the same, and received what they asked for, too.
BUT GOD, in His great mercy, and for His name’s sake, sends the Light (capital “L”), the Christ!
Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.
Northern Israel’s exile began in 734 B.C. The first to go were Zebulun and Naphtali. Samaria held on for a few more years before it was also overrun by Assyria. Judah’s exile would begin in 598 B.C., 136 years later, long after Isaiah was martyred for prophesying God’s words.
But to these who chose darkness and evil, to these God sends light! Oh, His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts not like ours. We would have written them off, but He has mercy (Isaiah 55:7)! He will make a great Light come from their midst, and they will see a light they have never seen before!
That light is a “He” and not an “it.” It is Jesus Christ, Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government will not be disturbed. He will bring His peace when we submit to Him!
It is the same today. Even in the church, there are those who choose darkness rather than light, evil rather than good, who call darkness light, and light darkness, who reject the light of God’s Word, who run from the light rather than coming into it (see John 3). This is the verdict — light has come, but some have chosen darkness.
Today, once again, it is as in the days of Noah. The consequence for preferring and choosing evil and darkness, even for God’s own people, is that we receive what we ask for — exile, absence from the presence of God. He has given us His sweet presence, but we have substituted that which will become bitterness in us, as we suffer the consequences.
But even to these! Even to these God sends light today! Will we do as Bartimaeus did?
Mark 10:46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “ Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “ Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” 50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “ Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.
If we cry out in the darkness and evil we have chosen, if we cry out as we struggle in the mire of its consequences, He will give us the light of salvation!
Have mercy on me, Messiah! I want to regain my sight! I don’t want to be spiritually blind any more! And He will say, “Go, your faith has made you well (saved you).” Hallelujah!
Once we have the light of salvation, there is yet more to come. To His disciples, who were with Him, who believed in Him, who were saved, He said:
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. 10 “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11 “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 “ If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Why does Jesus say this to saved ones? Because we still have within us the propensity to evil. But He commands us to be filled; it is God’s will (Ephesians 5:18)!
If we ask our Father, we will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who purifies and cleanses and illuminates everything in which He dwells! Darkness must flee:
James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
COMMAND and RESULT: Ask, seek, knock (11:9-10) — it will be given, you will find, the door will be opened to you.
Darkness must flee (James 4:7)!
Much of the church is in exile, away from His presence, calling good evil and evil good, calling darkness light and light darkness, calling sweet bitter and bitter sweet. God is not with them, but He calls out, “Come to My light!”
Ask for darkness, and you will receive it. Ask for evil, and you will receive it. But turn and ask for light, and He will give it!
Isaiah 55:6 Seek the LORD while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the LORD,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.