What Part of “No” Don’t You Understand?

Parents, have you ever had a child want something and ask for it, and ask for it, and ask for it some more, even after you have already said “no?” It’s like they feel if they can ask enough, they will wear you down, and you will give in and give them what they want. Here’s the ugly truth, sometimes it works doesn’t it? This is what we see happening in our text for today. Elijah was taken to heaven by the Lord, but some prophets in Jericho wanted to go and search for Elijah. They thought maybe the Spirit of God just took him to a mountain, and he wasn’t really gone. They come to Elisha, and ask him for permission to go search. Elisha tells them “no”, but they are not deterred. 2 Kings 2:17-18 says, “But they urged him until he was ashamed, he said, ‘Send them!’ Therefore, they sent fifty men, and they searched for three days, but did not find him. And when they came back to him, for he had stayed in Jericho, he said to them, ‘Did I not say to you, do not go?'”

Let me ask the opening question a little differently, have we ever really wanted something, prayed about it, and even though God said “no”, we kept asking as though we could change God’s mind? Most likely we are guilty of doing it. To continue to pray about something after God has answered the request is really demonstrating a lack of trust that God will give us what is best for us. We are essentially saying that what we want is better, and that we know better than God what we really need. We don’t think of it that way do we? Elisha finally relented to the prophets’ request, because he determined they needed to learn they could trust what he told them. After three days of searching for Elijah, all they found was that they had wasted three days, and Elisha was right.

We need to be persistent in our prayer life. We see Jesus teach this in Luke 18 with a story of a widow lady and an unjust judge. However, when God answers our prayer, the time to pray is over, it’s now time to obey. God encourages us to bring our desires to Him, but He also calls us to trust that what He says and what He does truly is best for us. I read a quote from Jim Elliott, a missionary who was martyred in Ecuador in 1956, that speaks to this. Elliott said, “God always give his best to those that leave the choice with Him.” Do you trust God to give you what is best? Remember what the apostle Paul said in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” If God didn’t hold back His Son for us, do we think He won’t give us what we truly need? May we learn to trust Him to provide exactly what we need, when we need it, and may we be convinced that whatever is from God is what is best.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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