Have you ever noticed how prosperity preachers often take the Word of God out of context? For example, we’ve seen a big smiling grin quote Luke 11; 11-13
” If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
That big toothy grin is trying to imply is that God will give you whatever you ask for and to buy his book telling you how to get more. Feed the greed. They are called “The blab it and grab it” crowd. Yet if we look at what the text really says, it doesn’t say that the father in question gives his child bread, fish or an egg either. The child just doesn’t get something bad that will hurt him. In fact Luke 11; 1-13 is about the Holy Spirit and how they ask for that saving gift like John the Baptist teaches his followers.
John had the Holy Spirit from conception (Luke 1:15), but Jesus’ disciples were asking how to pray like John taught his disciples. Jesus said that what God would give them was the Holy Spirit(Luke 11:13) and implying that the Holy Spirit was a good gift, not harmful. Seems like more of an assurance that, even though they may be overwhelmed, God loves them and He knew that this is what they needed most. What they had asked for wasn’t enough. Since the Holy Spirit enters us when we get saved, it suggests that “The Lords Prayer” is, in part, a prayer of salvation and Jesus is telling them how to get saved. It has nothing whatsoever to do with getting a good job, new car, or hot girl. He won’t save you from those flashing red and blue lights when you’re going 40MPH in a school zone. Maybe the Holy Spirit will convict you enough to slow down and obey the law!
So am I saying that God isn’t going to give us stuff when we ask for it? That isn’t quite the point, although I will say that the greatest things that God has done for me is to take stuff away. I sure didn’t see it that way at the time and its taken many years to see Gods plan in hard times. Sometimes a valley is needed to allow us to go higher. God is good all the time. God isn’t Santa Claus. Don’t confuse the two.
Luke 11: 1-13 is telling us that God views the Holy Spirit to be the greatest gift. That’s what we need before anything else is relevant . Folks getting healed from illness, people with the talent to make money, a happy comfortable family, and all the things that we view as the answer to prayer, are only of God if they turn people to walking closer to God and getting saved. What value is supernatural healing if that person doesn’t see his Savior? A healed older man may likely die in a few years from something else anyway. A young cancer survivor gets healed and may get killed in a car accident in two years in the new car she prayed for. See, those things are all for nothing without bringing folks closer to Jesus.
Everyone dies, even Lazrus died and Jesus was the one who directly healed him. Jesus likely healed thousands of people while He walked the earth and every one of them is dead. What was the greater purpose of their supernatural healing? Glory to God and a closer walk with Jesus. Their healing a couple thousand years ago help us walk closer to God today. I’ll bet those folks weren’t praying for that, they just wanted the hurt to go away. Its for Gods purpose, don’t ever lose sight of that. Try to see the greater good in answered prayer. Often its there as a window to share the love of Jesus. A window for them to get saved and have the Holy Spirit enter their lives, perhaps at a time they might otherwise be closed to all that ” Jesus stuff”. When you feel that God has directly answered prayer, look for that window of opportunity. Don’t waste the real gift.
As for those prosperity preachers taking Gods word out of context to sell her latest and greatest book, that crabby looking gal that promises you, that if you follow her formula, you can grab everything you want? She cackles out to buy her book and learn the secret, even though she’s written 30 books (she must have a lot of secrets that God only tells her, hmmmm?). God already did a compilation of 66 books by 40 authors, all the answers are there. Don’t give that opportunist a penny! Save the money and put it in the offering at church. Give it to a needy cause, not a greedy cause.
Think critically friends and pray hard.