Asking and Commanding
Isaiah 45:11
Thus said the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons…

I. PRAYER IS A NECESSARY LINK IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE DIVINE PROMISES. "Ask Me of things to come." Even to the Son, Jehovah says," "Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen," &c. And to the chosen people, at the end of a paragraph beginning with "I will," and unfolding the work which He is prepared to do, not for their sakes, but for His own — He says, "For this, moreover, will I be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." Our Lord is unremitting in the stress He lays on prayer, and pledges Himself to do only whatsoever is asked in His name.

1. Prayer is part of the system of co-operation between God and man which pervades nature and life.

2. Prayer, when genuine, indicates the presence of a disposition to which God can entrust His best gifts without injury to the recipient. To bless some men, apart from humility and submission, and weanedness of soul from creature aid, would only injure. And so, in His dear love, God withholds His choicest gifts until the heart is sore broken, and cries to Him. That cry is the blessed symptom of soul-health.

3. Prayer is also in its essence, when inspired by faith, an openness towards God, a receptiveness, a faculty of apprehending with open hand what He would impart. Let us pray —

(1) Unitedly. God would be inquired of by the "house" of Israel.

(2) Sympathetically. A prayer offered in the presence of others should receive their endorsement.

(3) Earnestly. The Divine gauge of the worth of prayer is its pressure on the heart of God.

(4) In the name of Jesus.

II. THE IMPERATIVE ACCENT IN FAITH. "Concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My hands, command ye Me." Our Lord spoke in this tone when He said, "Father, I will." Joshua used it when in the supreme moment of triumph he lifted up his spear towards the setting sun, and cried, "Sun, stand thou still!" Elijah used it when he shut the heavens for three years and six months, and again opened them. Luther used it when, kneeling by the dying Melanchthon, he forbade death to take his prey. It is a marvellous relationship into which God bids us enter. We are accustomed to obey Him. But with the single limitation that our biddings must concern His sons, and the work of His hands, and must be included in His word of promise, Jehovah says to us, His redeemed children in Jesus Christ, "Command ye Me!" The world is full of mighty forces which are labouring for our weal. How is it that these great natural forces — which are manifestations of the power of God — so absolutely obey man? Is it not because, since the days of Bacon, man has so diligently studied, and so absolutely obeyed, the conditions under which they work? "Obey the law of a force, and the force will obey you," is almost an axiom in physics. So God gives the Holy Spirit to them that obey Him. All the resources of God dwell bodily in the risen and glorified Lord. Obey Him, and He pours such mighty energy into and through the spirit that men are amazed at the prodigality of its supply; resist or thwart Him, and He retires from the spirit, leaving it to struggle as best it may with its difficulties and trials. But after our greatest deeds of prayer and faith we shall ever lie low before God; as Elijah did, who, after calling fire from heaven, prostrated himself on the ground, with his face between his knees.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.

WEB: Thus says Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: "You ask me about the things that are to come, concerning my sons, and you command me concerning the work of my hands!

The Sovereignty of God
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