The Challenge to the Seeker
Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you:

When we pass on to the consideration of this second challenge, with accompanying assurance, of Jesus Christ, we may at once inwardly notice a leading difference between it and that which went before, and that difference one in the nature of an advance. It is true that when a child "asks" he expects to receive, and to receive "bread," and not a "stone," at the hand of his father. And Jesus emphasizes this fact to his present purpose: "if ye then, being evil, know bow to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall that Father of yours, which is in heaven, give good gifts to them that ask him?" On the other hand, it is a most certain thing that when as grown men we "ask" - not like children asking of their father - our voice is not very acceptable to the world, even when it is attended to, and very often is not attended to. "Asking" is not liked. And it is no little evidence of this that we do not like "asking." We all feel that a solitary act of asking means some sort and some little degree of humiliation; more asking means that we are run into some extremity; and perpetual asking, that we are lost to self-respect. Nor have we fashioned this rough code without some good reason; for we have been sometimes sharply reminded that stones may be sent for bread, and serpents for fish. But, again, who can deny that the world has some admiration for the man who "seeks"? The better part of the world despise those who live ever on the "ask" system, but are prone to respect those who set to work, "quit them like men," and "seek" with mind and heart and strength. May we not, then, note, that while Christ does love, for his own reasons and in his own sense, what the world and the better part of it do not over and above love, viz. the "askers," yet this is no reason why he does not love the "seekers"? "Faith without works is dead." And so in a sense is asking without seeking. Prayer and work are far too often divorced. Note, then -

I. SEEKING LOOKS LIKE HONESTY; SHOWS SINCERITY; PROVES REALITY; ADDS TO FAITH, AS SURELY AS DILIGENCE SCOUTS DOUBT; WAKES SLEEPING POWERS; PREVENTS THEM FALLING ASLEEP AGAIN; AND ACQUIRES FRESH FORCE. Whatever advantage genuinely belongs to the real observing of practical work in our worldly life, is the merest shadow of that which any one may find who shall heartily, lovingly take to it in the conduct of his Christian life.

II. SOME THINGS ARE IN THEIR VERY NATURE TO BE HAD MORE REALLY IN SEEKING THAN IN ASKING, THOUGH EVEN THE ASKING BE OF GOD. The great thing, sanctification as compared with justification, may illustrate this. The latter is to be had, from that first solemn moment which finds us, with all the deepest anguished desire of a sin-convicted conscience and soul, begging, crying, or "asking" for it. But sanctification is not to be had for the mere asking for it, any more than that "increase of faith" which the disciples so ignorantly, yet so innocently, "asked" from Christ. But sanctification needs a long, patient, earnest "seeking" for. How many are fatally faulty in this very matter! They wish for forgiveness, beg for pardon, cry for mercy; and these got, or supposed to be so, they do not continuously and with holy perseverance and patience seek sanctification. Other, perhaps we should rather say all, Christian graces demand the same earnest practical seeking; certainly those that follow on that root of all graces, faith - as, for instance, hope and love. We "seek" these by using them, doing the works of them, trying their strength.

III. SPECIAL PROMISES ARE MADE TO SEEKING. How wide is the range of these even through the Old Testament! "They that seek me early shall find me;" "Blessed are they that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways;" "Seek good and not evil, that ye may live, saith the Lord; yea, seek ye me;" "Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad;" "He is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him;" "To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life." Whatever best things diligent and honourable earthly seeking has found, as lesson and encouragement by the way, what are they all by the side of the things given to the seeking of what is contained in three such words as those, "glory, honour, immortality,"! It is surely this kind of "seeking" to which Christ here gives the sanction of his emphatic invitation. It is to this matter of seeking, to these objects of seeking, that an illimitable prospect of supply opens. For these none can seek too early, too perseveringly, too earnestly, too long. The seeker is blessed because he seeks, blessed all the while he seeks, and blessed in the entire escape assured to him, from illusion now or disappointment hereafter, in respect of the fact and the habit of seeking, which mark him. - B.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

WEB: "Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you.

The Challenge of the Closed Door
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