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Jan 13, 2019
Preacher: William Mason
Passage: Mark 10:38

Ye Know Not What Ye Ask

…Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask…

(MARK 10:38)

Strange! what, James and John, two disciples of a despised and rejected Master, who had not where to lay His head, yet dreaming of earthly pomp and worldly grandeur, and petitioning for the highest pitch of worldly glory? yes, nothing less than the right hand of preeminence, and the left hand of power, would suit them. Human nature, how earthly, carnal, and selfish! How low are we fallen! yet how lofty in pride! What are the best of men, when left to their own spirits? Truly, we know not what to pray for, as we ought. Jesus, Master, instruct us, what we are called to! Teach us what to pray for. Let thy word, “My kingdom is not of this world,” be ever uppermost in our minds! (JOHN 18:36)

Poor Baruch could not be honored of God, and commissioned to read the roll to the princes of Judah, but he thinks, now I am somebody; I have got in the way of earthly honor and preferment. But his brother Jeremiah is sent to him, with this question and reproof, “Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not.”—(JEREMIAH 45:5). How many distresses were brought upon the children of Israel by the mixed multitude that went with them! So the swarms of corrupt lusts, earthly affections, and carnal desires, which are found with us, are ever opposing the glory of Jesus, and exciting us to seek that happiness, in nature and sense, which can only be found in the spiritual reign of Jesus, in the heart.

But so kind and gracious is our dear Saviour, that He crosses our wills, and denies our request, when contrary to our spiritual interest. Thus in love He answers our prayers: He withholds what we ask; He gives what He knows is best for us. If disciples ask what is unfit to receive, or unlawful to beg, shall we complain of God’s love if He denies? Granting is not always the effect of love. If so, Paul had been less loved than Satan. Satan asked but once concerning Job, and his request was granted. Paul besought the Lord thrice, that the messenger of Satan might depart, yet was denied in that. Yea, blessed Jesus thrice prayed His Father that the cup might pass from Him; but that could not be. The Lord delights in the prosperity of His people; therefore withholds no good thing from them. Not our judgment, but His wisdom must determine this. We pray to be in the height of comfort, and on the pinnacle of joy. But love answers by keeping us in the safe vale of humility and self-abasement. Lord, what proud, aspiring creatures are we! enable us to obey thee! “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.” (1 PETER 5:6)

I’m heard, when answered soon or late,

And heard, when I no answer get:

Yea, kindly answered when refused;

By Jesus loved, when harshly used.

Peace then, my soul, for Christ knows best,
Either to give or to withhold;

On Him still wait, on His word rest;

Against thy fears be firm and bold.

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