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Earl Middleton, M.Div.Matthew 11:7-15 (NIV)
As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? [8] If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. [9] Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. [10] This is the one about whom it is written:

    ” ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’
[11] I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. [12] From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. [13] For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. [14] And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. [15] He who has ears, let him hear.”

Are you looking for perfect answers to your prayers before you will believe that God has really heard and responded to you? Many believers hold God to a higher standard in the answers to our prayers than we hold ourselves to in the clarity and purity of the petitions we offer. We’re often conflicted about what we really want, whether we deserve it or not, and whether we should even be asking for it or not.

In the verses above Jesus is basically saying to his audience that God has already sent them the answer to the question they all had about who John was, but they didn’t catch it or recognize it or believe it; mainly because they wanted their answer to be perfect. They would have preferred a herald from heaven to appear in the town square in shining attire and enunciate that John was the opening act for Jesus. But if they would have gotten that it still would not have built the faith in them necessary to relate to Jesus, because faith deals with what can’t naturally be seen.

God answered their prayers about John’s identity via the things he made manifest in John’s life. He gave them the kind of answer that required them to stretch a little, remember a little, faith a little. In fact, that’s often the way God answers prayer for you and me. He gives us answers that we have to parse, unpack, dissect, and then apply to our unique situation in life. He hides His greatest pearls in nondescript clams at the bottom of the sea.

It was almost as if Jesus was saying to his audience, “What else do you want?” “What more do you need God to do to convince you?” Just because He’s a perfect God doesn’t mean that He has to send us perfect communiques, perfect answers. Whatever answers He sends to us will be imperfect because WE are imperfect and the message, the answer is always defined by the audience. Imperfect people can’t receive perfect answers (because they’re foolishness to them) any more than carnal people can receive spiritual ones. So, we would do well to lower our level of expectations when it comes to prayer answers from perfection to imperfection if we want to see, recognize, and understand the move and answer of God in our lives. His answers won’t always come in perfect form, but they will always come. And that makes Him and the way He does things perfect.


Earl MiddletonNovember 27, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Great message for this time of year when God’s people are looking for answers.

    Earl MiddletonNovember 27, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    God bless you, Ken. I pray He uses you this season to provide answers. 🙂

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