All You Had To Do Was Ask
ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS ASK
(Isaiah 22:8-14 & James 4:1-3)
Our natural response in times of challenge is to turn in ourselves and trust our own methods. We must trust God enough in times of struggle to ask Him for the answer and the way out. If we ask He will hear and deliver us.
The text in Isaiah is about a time in Israel’s history when they were under siege by the Assyrians. The text refers to several extreme regions of Assyria. This implies that their enemy was throwing everything that he had at Israel. In addition, most of the country around Jerusalem had already fallen. Isaiah was sickened by the fact that his people had given up totally to their enemy. He comments about his sorrow over the fact that soldiers and leaders were dead but not from war. Many had either died from famine or had given up and ran. In this atmosphere of resignation some were continuing to look to their own methods. They were using housing materials to strengthen their walls, they went to Solomon’s old fortress to gather his weapons, and they took steps to secure their water supply.
God was angry with them because in all that they were doing they did not think to ask God for the answer to their dilemma. It was easier for them to 1) rely on methods of the past and reap the benefits of someone else’s labor. We often rely on methods of the past instead of seeking God for a fresh answer. It is easier to rely on the answer that someone else labored over instead of laboring before God for a fresh answer. 2) They sought for answers in themselves (sought to provide their own protection and refreshing). 3) They lost all hope because of the size of their problem (let’s eat and drink for tomorrow we die). Spirit of resignation. This was similar to what Israel felt when they faced Goliath. David was special in God’s eyes because he allowed God to be bigger than his problem.
In all of their effort, none thought to seek God and ask Him for a way out. God was crying out to them “All You Had To Do Was Ask. The consequence of not asking is sure defeat. God was disappointed by the fact that they did not have anymore trust in Him than what they had. We are going to learn that the key to asking is trusting that God will do.
I) Key to Asking is Trusting: Psalms 50:15 states that the way we give God glory is by trusting Him in our times of trouble. Trust is an important quality to God. It is also a key element to asking. If we do not trust that He will hear and respond we are not likely to ask.
A) Psalms 84:10-12 - Blessed is the man that trust in God.
1) The heart of this text is that we should trust God enough to know that the worse place in his court is better than the best place of the wicked.
2) The basis of the text is a trust that God is:
2a) Our sun: source of light and heat. That our lives are dependant on God and that He marks our times and seasons. That He is our direction. Source of growth.
2b) Sheild: Protector and the provider of good things and favor.
B) Ps 27 -- We must know who God is to us. Not some story, fable or fairy tale. That He is my God, the light of my salvation. I will always be confident in God. This level of confidence inspires God.
1) This confidence gives a reassurance that when we call on Him He will hear. V7 “Hear, O Lord, when I cry”
2) V. 6 “and now shall my head be lifted up”. This is a confidence in God that He will answer my prayer.
3) V.8 It gives a confidence that when God says to seek His face He will respond. Therefore, I will seek your face.
4) Confidence that God is more loyal to me than anyone (even father and mother) on earth.
5) All this confidence is because he believed to see God goodness and waited to see it.
C) Is. 7:10-14 -- Our lack of asking is an annoyance to God. We do not ask for fear that it is to much for God or that He will not do it for me.
1) It is God pleasure to give to us good things.
2) Matt. 7:7-8 – It is our obligation to ask. We must ask and keep on asking. God desires to give good gifts to His children. Perseverance in asking.
2a) 7 “Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks. 
3) Zech.10:1 – Despite the fact that it’s time for the rain, God will not pour it out on us until we ask. He is looking for the Amen to His promises.
3a) Ask the Lord for rain in the spring, and he will give it. It is the Lord who makes storm clouds that drop showers of rain so that every field becomes a lush pasture.1
D) We must ask in faith: James 4:1-3
E) Matt. 21:21-22 -- Ask in faith because whatever we ask in prayer believing shall be done. We must persevere the devil is not going to lay down for us and God is not cheap. Naturally, anything of value is rare and requires time and/or money to obtain it. God’s treasure are more valuable and are not going to come cheap. God is not going to let His stuff become less valuable because of our unwillingness to persevere.
1) 21 Then Jesus told them, “I assure you, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and it will happen. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”1
II) God’s giving is based on our living: We can ask God but how He responds is based on how we live.
A) I John 3:21-22 – We will not be confident of our request if our lives do not line up. The prerequisite is to obey Him and do those things that please Him.
1) 21 Dear friends, if our conscience is clear, we can come to God with bold confidence. 22 And we will receive whatever we request because we obey him and do the things that please him. 1
B) Ps. 34:14-22 – God will not respond positively to those who do not live right (i.e. are righteous). We must not think that God will work for us if we do not have a right heart (v.18). and do not live right.
C) Ps 84:10-12 – no good thing will He withhold from them that walk upright.
III) Be willing to do what it takes: Many times we do not ask answers of people that we do not believe will give us the proper response. We must be willing to do whatever it takes. Below are some of the things that it takes to have answered request.
A) Be purposeful in asking: God is a God of purpose; therefore, our request must be purposeful.
1) James 4:1-3 – “…receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts”.
1a) God will not give simply because you want it. There has to be purpose.
2) 2 Chron. 1:7-12 -- Solomon asked with purpose and God gave Him all that he did not ask for but wanted.
2a) This is not a gimmick; we must have a pure heart and desire what God desires. Solomon asked for what he needed to accomplish God’s purpose.
2b) Seek first the kingdom and righteousness and all other things will be added.
2c) Look out for God and He will look out for you. Take care of God’s business and He will take care of yours.
B) Be willing to do whatever it takes.
1) Jer.6:16-17 -- Too often we do not ask because we do not want to hear the answer. In this text, God instructed them what to ask for but they refused because they did not want to do it.
i) 16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. 17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.
2) Ahab did not want to hear from a prophet that told him the truth that he did not want to hear.
C) Be willing to accept God’s will.
1) 1 John 5:14-15 –
1a) 14 And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. 15 And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.