Ask and You Shall Receive, Whine and You Won’t Like It


Ask and You Shall Receive, Whine and You Won’t Like It

Numbers 11:18–32

And say to the people: Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wailed in the hearing of the Lord, saying, ‘If only we had meat to eat! Surely it was better for us in Egypt.’ Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall eat not only one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you—because you have rejected the Lord who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’ ” But Moses said, “The people I am with number six hundred thousand on foot; and you say, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month’! Are there enough flocks and herds to slaughter for them? Are there enough fish in the sea to catch for them?” The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.

Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, “My lord Moses, stop them!” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!” And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

The Quails

Then a wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quails from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, about two cubits deep on the ground. So the people worked all that day and night and all the next day, gathering the quails; the least anyone gathered was ten homers; and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.

Matthew 18:1–5

True Greatness[1]

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Little children used to be considered less than slaves, today they are treated like small gods.Tweet: Little children used to be considered less than slaves, today they are treated like small gods. Neither of these is what God had in mind.

The Christian faith has added to the confusion by our interpretation of the “faith like a child” example Jesus gave. He did not teach about the superiority of children’s virtue or innocence. He did not tout their imagination or naiveté in believing whatever they were told. He did not expound upon their sponge-like minds that are able to learn things so quickly and eagerly. No, Jesus did not focus on any of the very real strengths of children. Instead, He pointed out that, they were indeed seen as less than slaves, for they had nothing to offer but hungry mouths. They were humble – perhaps not always in attitude, but in the eyes of the culture around them. It was not false humility. It was true lowliness. They were nothings waiting to grow into somethings.

That is how Jesus said we must enter the kingdom of heaven… and don’t miss the last part.

Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Mud Day celebration
Mud Day celebration

Unlike the way some of us treat our children, God does not give us anything we ask… even if we say “please”. We cannot charm or connive our wills and ways out of God. Instead, He delights in giving us what we need and teaches us to ask for those things instead of the cravings of our flesh. When we whine and throw a fit, He does not simply try to appease us. He disciplines us, and sometimes He does that but giving us just what we ask for… teaching us a lesson in why we perhaps did not really want it in the first place.

Praying for snow
Praying for snow

Yes, snow days may be fun in the winter (for the kids), but being stuck home for many days gets dull. Making up those days in the summer is even worse. Getting behind in your classwork makes teachers and students grumpy. It doesn’t pay off in the end. Why not just let God be in charge of the weather? Why not let God be in charge of everything else too, while we’re at it.

Do you want to know how to ask for things from God in prayer? Start here.

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  1. (Mk 9:33–37; Lk 9:46–48)  ↩

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