“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you,” our Lord promised. We have examined our need for the Father’s daily mercy. Let us now look at our need for His daily instruction.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
“Teach me, God,” is a profoundly powerful prayer. Many times in life, I have found myself looking for answers to the wrong questions. The infirmity of ignorance isn’t lack of information, it is lack of insight. We don’t know what we don’t know. God is the only One who can lead us out of blindness into His wholeness.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. ESV
“IF any of you lacks wisdom,” James wrote. His statement is rhetorical. To believe one has sufficient wisdom is the height of foolish pride. Humble hearts know better. They faithfully ask for wisdom at the Father’s feet.
Luke 2:42, 46-47
42 When he was twelve years old, they went up for the festival, as custom required.
46 On the third day they found him — he was sitting in the Temple court among the rabbis, not only listening to them but questioning what they said;
47 and everyone who heard him was astonished at his insight and his responses. CJB
At the age of twelve, Jesus of Nazareth more than held his own with the top legal minds and moralists of his day. If we mark this down to omniscient divinity, we miss the wonder of the incarnation in which our Lord took on humanity’s frame with its limitations in knowledge, place, and time.
How does a twelve-year-old understand enough to amaze rabbis? It isn’t magic, it is mastery. Depth of understanding comes through diligent study, humbleness of heart, and daily meditation. The nature of learning, of gaining new information and insights, necessitates an outside source of instruction.
6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. [Emphasis added.]
The writer of Hebrews quotes this Psalm as the Son’s pronouncement when he came into the world. The body prepared for him was equipped with open ears to hear truth from the Father’s lips.
The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. [Emphasis added.]
Jesus’s wisdom went beyond the intellectual amazement of rabbis. He also had the depth of heart to provide the correct encouragement to exhausted souls when they needed it the most. His sensitivity to the needs of others was developed through daily responsiveness to the Father’s prompting. “Wake up, Son, wake up. I want to talk with you.” These early morning meetings carried on into his adulthood.
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
The heart-rending conversation between Father and Son in the Garden of Gethsemane was built on the trust and understanding of a lifetime of daily devotion and obedience. As a grown man, Jesus of Nazareth was able to say to his Father, “Not my will, but yours, be done” because as a boy he woke up to His Father’s prompting and asked, “What is your will?”
5 The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.
6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. [Emphasis added.]
Imagine Jesus reading these words as a boy and then see Him facing their fulfillment as a man. It was not fate or happenstance that carried Christ to the cross. Love led him there; love received and responded to through a lifetime of disciplined devotion.
Jesus wasn’t a hermit. He sought his disciples out and invited them to follow in his footsteps. That he prayed was soon obvious to them, but not how he prayed.
1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread. [Emphasis added.]
A request for daily bread goes well beyond an acknowledgement of our dependence upon God for the food we need to survive. “Man does not live by bread alone,” Jesus told the Devil, “but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” We can—and should—fast from food. But we need the words of our Father every day to live. Let us like Jesus awake with open ears to hear our Father’s heart of love every day and continually seek His instruction in prayer while it is called today.