Bees and Snakes
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11
Some problems have Daddy’s name written all over them. For instance, my kids recently discovered bees had moved into a crack in our concrete front porch. So, armed with bug spray, I went out to do battle.
I got stung. Five times.
I don’t like being stung by insects. But better me than my kids or wife. Taking care of my family’s well-being is at the top of my job description after all. My children recognized a need, and they asked me to address it. They trusted me to protect them from something they feared.
In Matthew 7, Jesus teaches that we too should bring our needs to God (v. 7), trusting Him with our requests. To illustrate, Jesus gives a case study in character: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?” (vv. 9–10). For loving parents, the answer is obvious. But Jesus answers anyway, challenging us not to lose faith in our Father’s generous goodness: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (v. 11).
I can’t imagine loving my kids more. But Jesus assures us that even the best earthly father’s love is eclipsed by God’s love for us.
Father, thank You for loving us so much more than even the best father here ever could. Help us to do as Jesus said with everything that’s on our hearts; to ask, seek, and knock in our relationship with You.
The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7) focuses on the attitudes and actions that are to characterize “citizens” who live under God’s rule. Yet an even more intimate relationship comes into play in the sermon. A common thread that runs through the chapters is a “family focus” or, more specifically, a “Father focus.” In Matthew 5:9 Jesus declared, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (emphasis added). And when followers of Christ display heaven’s light by the way they live, the “Father in heaven” gets the credit (v. 16). Showing love for one’s enemies also demonstrates kinship with our heavenly Father (vv. 43–48).
Those who engage in holy habits (6:4, 6, 18), including prayer, do so with the knowledge that the primary audience is their Father in heaven. The King who rules over all is “our Father” and cares enough to hear our prayers for all our needs. Thus, we can confidently address Him, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (v. 9).
When you pray this week, reflect on the fact that you are praying to the One Scripture calls our heavenly Father.