In Malachi 3:10, the Lord confronts us with a challenge. And He puts it like this: “…Prove me now…” Now, when we get to the New Testament, we might wonder if the idea of a challenge from God is still valid. And then, we read passages like John 14:13, where He says, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” He then further drives home the challenge by saying, “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” How many of us are truly willing to take the Lord Jesus at His word, and PROVE Him?
In 2 Kings 2 where the Lord is soon to take Elijah to heaven, we find him telling Elisha, his servant, “Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee.” Now, Elisha certainly saw this coming, as many of the Lord’s servants had declared to Elisha that his master was about to be taken up to be with the Lord. So, Elisha’s response is this: “I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” The story continues by Elijah telling Elisha that if he is present at the moment Elijah is taken up, then he will have his request. The result is that Elisha IS present…and after Elijah’s departure, sees the mantle of Elijah left on the ground, that very mantle that Elijah had used to strike the waters of the Jordan, and then walk across on dry land. So, according to the word of Elijah, Elisha takes the mantle, and strikes the waters of the Jordan, and declares, “Where is the God of Elijah?” The result, the waters parted…the answer had come…the request had been granted. “The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.”
You say, “How does this apply to me?” It applies in this way: every time the Lord speaks to us of prayer, giving us the conditions for true prayer and faith, He also gives us a promise. Just as Elijah laid before Elisha the conditions for answered prayer, even so, he provided a promise of God’s intervention, His provision.
And so, as we have seen in John’s gospel, the call to prayer, “in Jesus’ name,” (this means according to His will, and for the glory of God), there is the call to faith, indeed it is a challenge that He gives us. When the conditions for such believing prayer are honored, we can stretch forth our hands also, and pick up the mantle, and ask the question: “Where is the God of Elijah?”
One word about limitations. In James’ epistle (ch.1:5), he writes, “…If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to ALL men liberally, and upbraideth not.”
He then qualifies the request by saying that the one praying must ask in faith, “nothing doubting.” In Hebrews 11:6, we read that, “…without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” We have difficulty in believing this, but God is so perfectly trustworthy, that for a human being to come to God and doubt his willingness, and commitment to hear the cry of the heart, and answer, is an major affront to Him. The basic attitude, and fundamental truth of all sin is this…unbelief, the refusal to believe God. So, we must come to God, and believe that He is and that He is the rewarder of them that seek Him diligently. Secondly, we need to ask with the right motive. James continues in chapter 4:2-3 by saying, “…ye have not because ye ask not,” and then, “…ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” Basically, the apostle is declaring that if we do not pray, we will not receive. And secondly, if we do pray, but pray in a selfish manner, rather than seeking the will of God, then we will not receive. God is the giver of every GOOD and perfect gift. Our requests must be those God will accept. So, to resume, faithlessness is unacceptable to God. And so is self-centeredness. But where there is the true, earnest, seeking heart, the prayer will be heard, and God will answer.
May the Lord Jesus this day give us the boldness to accept his call to fellowship by this invitation, this challenge, to pray in faith. May He strengthen us to believe Him for the wonderful thing, in His name for His glory. And may we PROVE Him, the faithful God, who delights to intervene in the issues at hand. To Him be the glory.
Have a wonderful …proving God…day.