Cover to Cover
One of Jesus’ disciples said to Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Interesting, that one of the emphasis of John’s ministry was prayer. We should learn from John for as He prepared for Christ’s first coming, we are preparing for His second. Prayer is a major component of the preparation.
Jesus teaches on prayer, giving us part of what is known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” Then in verse 5, Jesus teaches on the importance of persistence in prayer. In verse 8 in the Amplified, it is said of the friend of the persistent man asking for food at night that the friend will get up and supply the need, not out of friendship, but out of “shameless persistence and insistence.” Then in verse 9, Jesus says, “Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you.” Then He speaks of the Father freely giving the Holy Spirit, comparing Himself to earthly fathers who give good gifts to their children. In the Amplified it says of good gifts that they are “to their advantage.” The Holy Spirit is also a good gift and to our advantage! Amen? Keep seeking you will find what the Holy Spirit has for you and the promises of God the Father in His Word. Keep knocking, and doors will be opened. Faith does not quit!
In verses 14-26, we read about demon spirits. These evil spirits were not just active in Israel 2,000 years ago. They are around the earth today. While mental illness is real, there are times when we diagnose demons as mental illness. We drug people and lock them up in institutions, when for some, they need deliverance. In verse 26, if a demon leaves a person’s heart, but the heart is not surrendered and filled with the Spirit of God, it says the demon will come back with seven more powerful demons. The number seven is a number that means full. I believe this verse is not limited to the number seven, but instead refers to an infinite number that will completely take over the person. Only through Christ can someone be totally set free from the power of the Devil.
In verse 28 Jesus said, “Blessed (happy and to be envied) rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey and practice it!” Let’s claim this verse for ourselves today!
Israel comes against the tribe of Benjamin. The people mourned the loss of their brothers and sisters. In Judges 21:15, it says the people grieved because the Lord had made a void, or gap, in the tribes of Israel. When people reap the consequences of sin, causing separation, it can feel like a gap, or a void. We can grieve that we have lost a friend. We notice when someone is missing. Don’t we mourn when God executes judgment or requires separation with a brother or sister because of sin? Isn’t it painful when people leave our lives over offenses and disagreements?
God then works to restore the tribe of Benjamin, finding women with whom the remaining males can marry, have children, and increase their population. Today we have nearly 8 billion people living on the planet- and multiplying at a fast rate. Then, however, to be a strong nation, you had to grow your families in order to be strong and fight off your enemies. We are stronger together!