“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:1)
God is intent on revealing Himself to His creatures. And, in this passage in Matthew 7 and its parallel Luke 12, we are challenged to look for guidance (for metaphors) at our own parenting and then ratchet that up a thousand fold to get some glimpse as MacDonald states of the “Himalayas from our sand hills.” To help our finitude absorb some portion of the infinite, we are given our own parenting (evil as it is acknowledged) as a telescope to increase our eyesight and advance our understanding of our Father in Heaven.
The Early Years
This message examines the experience of parenting young children from both the perspective of the parents and the children to better understand the metaphor offered by Jesus. Babies/young toddlers are characterized by utter helplessness. They must be constantly tended, fed, cleaned and kept out of trouble. Even evil parents do a reasonable job nurturing feeding and caring for little ones with expectations limited to the little one eating, sleeping, thriving and growing. From the perspective of the children, they are largely ignorant of the quantity of loving care that is being showered on them. They simply connect the expression of their discomfort with the supply of good things from familiar big people that look for the most part lovingly toward them.
Nature of God’s Parenting of Us
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:15-18 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:14-17
Our Responsibility As His Babes
God’s stated expectation of His children is to thrive through receiving the Holy Spirit (John 20:22), being filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:17-19) and not quenching the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:19). And to grow, God’s commands us to hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6) and for the pure spiritual milk of His Word (1 Peter 2:1-3), the Word made flesh (John 6:35,40).
The Confirmation of His Presence
The passage in Luke adds that the source and nadir of God’s giving is the Holy Spirit. That gift is the guarantee of everything that follows. And, that gift of the Holy Spirit is manifest in our lives, in the examples daily set before us and the gifts He has given to His body, the church (Ephesians 4:11).