I continue to blog on chapter 1 of my book because the passage is so rich with meaning. Matthew 7.7 is quite popular as a teaching on prayer by Christ. In fact, songs have been sung about it. Theologies have been formed around it.
Here’s the deal, God wants you to have everything that makes you happy. God wants to make you happy and rich. Now, if you send money to me, I, the all-powerful intercessory prayer warrior, will intercede on your behalf so that God will open up the heaven’s treasure trove and pour down his blessings because we have a good God. Amen? Well, if you said amen to that, please do send money. I’m half kidding.
The fact is, my above sermonic plot line is repeated in a less extreme form in seeing the verse as yet one more of God’s precious promise. What if God does NOT keep his promise? I’m sure, if you’re honest with yourself, really really honest, you’ll say that God has failed his promise endlessly if these verses are the promise. Some of you who are smarter would say, “But the verse which follows shows how God keeps his promise.” Sure, it does! The bigger question we need to ask is, why is the discussion about prayer and God’s “promise” lands in the major topic of not judging.
Well, some of you still smarter interpreters will say that Matthew 5-7 is just nothing but a collection of Jesus’ sayings clumped into one with no apparent logic. What if there is logical connection, even if Matthew and not Jesus edited and put together the text? What if this is not a set of random sayings? Hmmmm … I bet many will have no answer for that one.
The fact is, I think it’s a desperate grasp for straws when we say that large sections of the Bible have no logical order. As one of my self-defense instructor used to say, “Don’t read your own limitations into the situation of others.” Exactly! What if we assume that the Bible is logically put together? What a thought, huh? “You mean we can’t just quote random verses and call them promises?” you say. Well, yeah! Unless you’re ready to settle with a God who repeatedly breaks his “precious promise,” you’d better take the view of the Bible having its own contextual logic. Otherwise, you have to take the alternate solution, “Maybe I just don’t have enough faith for this promise to happen.” Hmmm … you have to make that call.
As I always say, the texts are not at fault. The interpreter is!
To get to the meaning, remember always that this is part of a discussion about judging. This is not God’s promise.