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D'varim/Deuteronomy 3:23 Then I pleaded with Adonai (CJB)
Rashi comments on the first word by saying, "Forms of the word , 'imploring', in all places mean nothing but a gift for free." This offers an explanation for why the Torah didn't use the verb , which would mean 'I prayed' - Moshe is asking for a gift (Gur Aryeh). Moshe knew by G-d's use of this word in the Torah that G-d listens to requests for undeserved gifts (Sifsei Chachamim). The same verb is also found in Proverbs, , " The poor man speaks beseechingly" (Proverbs 18:23, CJB).
Moshe hoped that perhaps the defeat of Sichon and Og, followed by the granting of the land east of the Yarden to the tribes of Reuven and Gad, indicated that G-d's vow that Moshe would not enter the Land had been rescinded; that now G-d had started to show His hand in power in beginning the process of entry and possession of the Land,HaShem might have changed His mind and allowed Moshe to go in after all (Sifrei 26). So Moshe prayed, trusting in his knowledge and experience of G-d that, after all, He might go into the Land.
Yeshua speaks of G-d's generosity when He says, "Keep asking and it will be given to you" (Matthew 7:11,a CJB). He goes on to use the example of a son who asks for a fish; which father on earth would respond by giving his son a snake? "So," Yeshua concludes, "if you, even though you are bad, know how to give your children gifts that are good, how much more will your Father in heaven keep giving good things to those who keep asking Him" (Matthew 7:11, CJB). The parallel version in Luke's gospel specifically says that the good things that Matthew speaks of is the Ruach HaKodesh, "the Holy Spirit from heaven" (Luke 11:13, CJB). Notice thekol va'chomer argument as Yeshua extends the natural generosity that most earthly parents instinctively feel towards their children to show how G-d feels and acts towards us.
Writing at the start of his gospel, John says, "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace" (John 1:16). Grace is a free gift from G-d, an undeserved favour that G-d bestows upon us, and John tells us that we have all received "grace upon grace"; not just once but repeatedly. From the fullness of Yeshua and His relationship with the Father, first the original disciples and then successive generations have drawn strength, support, wisdom and blessings without number as G-d gives us undeserved gifts in His Son.
We need to move beyond Moshe's position of knowing that G-d sometimes gives undeserved gifts to those that ask. We need to remember Rav Sha'ul's words: "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things" (Romans 8:32, NASB).
Further Study: Psalm 1:1-3; Ephesians 1:7-14
Application: G-d does not automatically give us everything we ask for, but we should always have confidence to ask, knowing that He delights to give us good gifts that are good for us. Why not ask Him today?
© Jonathan Allen, 2004
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