When You Have Not Because You Ask Not
The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD.
“Heaven is full of answers to prayers for which no one ever bothered to ask,” so said the venerable Billy Graham. How often do we go plodding on, sometimes blundering, getting ourselves into situations which turn into nightmares because we never bother to stop long enough and say, “God, what do you want me to do? Is this your will, or does it simply look pretty good to me?” Answers to prayers that were never prayed could have saved you all kinds of headaches.
Long ago Joshua and his staff could have saved themselves all kinds of heartaches had they only stopped long enough to ask God for guidance. Here’s how they got themselves into trouble. After God gave them two great victories–one at Jericho and Ai–they met together and renewed their commitment to serve God. The law was read and the people nodded their heads in agreement.
But shortly after that the Gibeonites, having heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, decided they had better sue for peace. Here’s what happened: “They resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. The men put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All of the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy…. ‘We have come from a distant country, make a treaty with us,’” they said.
Even Joshua was fooled as they told him how the bread that was now dry and moldy had been soft and fresh when they started their trip. Yes, of course, they lied. But they were convincing. And Joshua signed a treaty with them, agreeing to conditions whereby they would be servants to the Israelites but never would they be killed.
The key to their failure is summed up in a few words which Joshua himself later wrote, “The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD” (Joshua 9:14). They sniffed the moldy bread, and ran their fingers through the worn and ragged garments, and bought into their lies which they told with consummate skill.
Do you know, friend, that the problem that confronted them is still with us today? Nobody is so smart, so savvy, so discerning that he can’t be deceived by the enemies in life, to say nothing of the devil who is a master of deception. That’s why bringing God into your negotiations, asking Him for direction and guidance, is so important.
Answers to prayer you never prayed can keep you from entering into a marriage which turns into a nightmare, or from living with that guy whom you want to believe loves you so much and fully intends to marry you after he makes enough money, or from signing on the dotted line, committing yourself to something you will later regret.
James, the half-brother of Jesus, gave us a powerful promise when he wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). It’s OK to acknowledge that you don’t know what to do, and ask God for wisdom and direction.
Someone wisely said that he who knows not and knows that he knows not is a wise man, but he who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool. He was right.
Are you in need of an answer to a prayer that you have not yet prayed? God won’t thump you over the head to get your attention, but He will respond to your simple cry of, “Lord, I need your help. What should I do? What is your will in this whole matter?”
If you are married, make it a practice to join hands and hearts with your husband or wife and pray together before you make any major decisions. If you are single, start each day asking God to guide and direct you.
We have not, because we ask not.