"And it came to pass, as she came unto her father, she was moved to ask."
King James Version
"God insists that we ask, not because He needs to know our situation but because we need the spiritual discipline of asking."
What request do I have in my life today that I need to ask my Father for?
"Every one that asketh receiveth; and (she) that seeketh findeth."
King James Version
"The simple heart that freely asks in love, obtains."
John Greenleaf Whittier
I've always had a great fondness for poetry. And I love the words penned by the famed poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, that begin our inspiration today: "The simple heart that freely asks in love, obtains." I know the truth of these words for when my father was still alive, I can't tell you how many times people would come to me and say, "Would you ask your dad if he would do ________. I know he wouldn't turn you down." And the first words out of my mouth would be, "Why don't you think my father would tell me, 'No?'"
The response was always the same, "Dorothy, don't be silly. Your dad loves you so much, he couldn't possibly say 'No' to you."
Of course, I'd laugh and have to agree, for I can't think of my dad saying "No" to anything that he believed was for my betterment and joy.
This is exactly the lesson we can take from our text today found in Joshua 15: 18. According to several Biblical scholars, Caleb's daughter, Achsah, was given in marriage to Othniel. On their wedding day, Othniel encouraged his new wife, Achsah, to ask her father, Caleb, for a field, a plot of land. In other words, it was like an inheritance. Some scholars believe that Othniel, as the new son-in-law, didn't want to appear pushy or "money" grabbing so this is why he told his wife to ask her father for the land. I'd like to offer a slightly different perspective. I think, having had the experience of people coming to me, wanting me to talk to my dad on
their behalf, Othniel, understood full well the relationship between father and daughter. In fact, I believe he knew that before Achsah even asked her dad, the answer would be, "Yes!" Especially when what was being requested was for the good of his daughter.
You and I need to take a pen and underline this story. If for no other reason than to remind us how much our heavenly Father loves for us to come and ask Him for His unlimited help. There's an old English proverb which states: "Many things are lost for want of asking."
Several years ago, a client of our company was involved in a large building campaign. There was a well-known local woman who had made it clear she would be interested in donating to this project, but there was one problem. No one wanted to ask her. Finally, a very dear gentleman said he would ask, and guess what? She immediately said, "Yes!" All it took was asking.
Sadly, sometimes you and I act as though God is some hesitant Father, unwilling to give us what we need most. Richard Trench made this very astute observation about prayer and asking: "Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance; it is laying hold of His highest willingness." This is what Achsah did when she went to her earthly father, Caleb, with her request. She didn't go haltingly to a reluctant father who didn't want to meet her need. Instead, she went to a willing father who was able and ready to meet her every request. When Jesus was on earth, in trying to explain the generosity of our heavenly Father, He used this example: "If your (daughter) asks for bread, will the father give a stone? Or if (she) asks for a fish, will the father give a serpent? Or if (she) asks for an egg, will the father give a scorpion? If ye then, being sinful, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give to you." (Luke 11: 11-13).
All we have to do is ask our Dad!
"Heaven is never deaf."
"O Lord, I know not what to ask of Thee. Thou alone knowest what are my true needs. Thou lovest me more than I myself know how to love. Help me to see my real needs which are concealed from me. I dare not ask either a cross or consolation. I can only wait on Thee. My heart is open to Thee. Visit and help me…I worship in silence Thy holy will and Thine inscrutable ways…I put my trust in Thee. I have no other desire than to fulfill Thy will. Teach me how to pray. Pray Thou Thyself in me."