July 8 I Sunday

Job 36-37

Acts 15:22-41

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” —Matthew 7:7

 

Acts introduces Saul as an aggressive, angry and violent man, but what lay behind his aggression and persecution of the church? Surprisingly, his hatred towards Christianity grew out of his devotion to God. In Philippians 3:5-6, Saul, who later went by Paul, gives something of his testimony, stressing he was “of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews,” and a devoted Pharisee whose zeal for the law of Moses was proven by his persecution of the church.

Saul did not take his commitment to Judaism lightly. His conviction was that if Judaism, with all its beliefs surrounding the one true God and His relationship with Israel, was right, then anything else that threatened Judaism was, by definition, wrong. This included Jesus’s claims to be the Messiah and divine. Saul’s conclusion was that since Christianity was challenging Judaism, it had to be stopped, even if that meant imprisoning and killing its adherents.

Saul’s desire to please God was sincere. He was sincerely wrong of course, but we cannot doubt that he was genuinely seeking to please God. This leaves us with a conundrum given Jesus’s words in the opening verse. He tells us, “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:8). This is a fact of spiritual life, but what happens if, like Saul, we are asking for the wrong thing, seeking in the wrong direction or knocking on the wrong door?

The incredible answer is that when we genuinely ask, even if for the wrong thing, God will give us the right thing. When we genuinely seek, even if in the wrong direction, God will lead us in the right direction. If we knock on the wrong door, but are genuinely seeking and knocking, God will open the right door. God, in His infinite wisdom, knows our hearts and can see when our search for Him is genuine. As He said centuries earlier to the prophet Samuel, “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

This may explain why some people seem to come to Christ suddenly and dramatically. Though we may never see it in their actions, people can be seeking for God even though they don’t know how they should seek for Him. This is wonderful motivation not to give up on our unbelieving family or friends, for even if they are seeking for God in all the wrong places, He promises to reveal Himself to a genuinely seeking heart.

Prayer: You know, O Lord, what I need far better than I do. Thank You for giving Yourself and answering the door to anyone who asks, seeks and knocks.


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