Commanding God?

by Lester Young

With your permission, I’d like to get just a little bit ‘technical’ today. Think about this for a moment: What’s the difference between somebody ‘asking’ you to give them something and them ‘telling’ you to do so? If you’re like most people, you’ve typically considered that very difference to be the determining factor as to whether the person actually gets what they want or not. C’mon, now; I think we can all plead guilty to bristling up at the voice of someone demanding that we do something for them. (And, if you’re one of us “old-school” parents, it surely better not be a child who’s doing the demanding – a mistake on his or her part that would only be committed once… but I digress.)

However, there is another viewpoint that we could take about being ‘bossy.’ As a matter of fact, from a Biblical perspective, and with the proper wisdom, such an attitude and type of behavior is highly encouraged – furthermore, it’s even commanded. Yes, we’re actually told to be righteously bossy. And, no, I’m not referring here to bossing the devil around, which we should absolutely be doing, by the way (Ephesians 1:20-23, 2:6). Nor am I talking about trying to lord over our fellow human beings. Who, then, are we supposed to be bossing, to be making demands of? Who, indeed.

Take a look, if you will, at John 16:23-24, where Jesus is talking to his twelve disciples after eating the final Passover meal together: “And in that day you [will need to] ask me nothing. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He will give you. Up till now, you have never asked anything in My Name; [but from this time forward] ask, and you will receive, so that your joy will be complete.” Now, where we’re going to get technical is in picking apart that word ‘ask’ in all four places it’s used in that particular passage. It won’t be as complicated as it sounds, because three of those appearances all have the exact same usage; the other one, however, is a completely different word with a significantly different meaning.

Let’s start with the first occurrence: “And in that day [you will need to] ‘ask’ me nothing.” The English translation ‘ask’ that we see there is derived from the Greek word ‘erotao,’ which means to interrogate, request or entreat, and it carries a proper connotation of ‘requesting as a favor.’ So, with that sentence, the Lord is actually telling His disciples, “In that day, you won’t need to ask Me (or, try to get Me) to do anything for you as a favor, on your behalf, or in your place.”

The rest of that passage goes on to explain why the disciples won’t have to try to persuade Jesus to do anything for them: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ‘ask’ the Father in My Name, He will give you. Up till now, you have never ‘asked’ anything in My Name; [but from this time forward] ‘ask,’ and you will receive, so that your joy will be complete.” Here, the three remaining instances of ‘ask’ are all the same word and have the exact same meaning. They’re from the Greek word ‘aiteo’ which does indeed mean ‘to ask,’ but with a totally different emphasis. It can also be translated as ‘beg,’ ‘call for,’ ‘crave,’ ‘desire’ or ‘require,’ but it always brings a strict connotation of ‘a demand for something due.’ In other words, it’s an earnest and insistent request to someone for something that you have a right to.

Ok, so let’s expand that passage of Scripture with these more complete and insightful explanations. Jesus said: “In that day, you won’t need to ask Me (or, try to get Me) to do anything for you as a favor, on your behalf, or in your place. Truly, truly, I’m telling you, whatever you call for, require, demand as your due right or possession from the Father in My Name [in My authority and according to My will], He will give you. Up till now, you’ve never ‘asked’ anything in this manner [you’ve never called for, required, demanded as your due right or possession anything from the Father directly or on your own; I’ve always done it for you]. But from now on, you yourself are to do the ‘asking.’ You call for, require, demand as your due right [whatever you want] from the Father directly, and you will get it from Him – and that will make your joy full and complete.”

The disciples didn’t have to ask Jesus for ‘favors’ anymore because He’d opened the way for them to have direct access to the Throne of grace themselves (Hebrews 4:16). God would now hear and answer them personally because they loved Jesus and believed that the Father had sent Him (John 16:26-27).

It’s the same for us today – right now. If you’re in Christ Jesus, God listens to you. And, if you call for, require and demand the things which you have a legal right to – that is, the things in His Will; the things He’s already laid out and promised in His Covenant to us, things He actually does want us to have (otherwise, He’d have never put them in a covenant); things already bought and paid for us by the blood of Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20) – He is obliged to perform His Word to and for you (Psalm 89:34, 103:6; Mark 16:20).

Now, if you’re still feeling kinda funny about walking in and demanding something from God… well, just think about your earthly parents. If your father or mother promised you a specific reward for, say, cleaning out the garage, for instance; and you hopped to it and finished the job – exactly what would your attitude be? Of course, you probably wouldn’t want to run up into Dad’s face blowing smoke and fire and telling him “you’d better get up offa what you promised me,” because there’s a little matter called ‘respect’ that might – for the sake of one’s continued good health – need to also be factored in (please refer again to first paragraph!). But you would roll up in there in full expectation, telling him you’ve fulfilled his terms, and now you’re more than ready for the payoff he gave his word on. And, that’s completely just and right.

Or, let’s say Aunt Matilda’s left you a sizable inheritance. Do you tiptoe into the executor’s office and timidly ask, as a ‘favor,’ if they’d mind giving you your property? Or do you hire yourself a lawyer and boldly start demanding what’s rightfully yours? Hmm?

Well, you do have a sizable inheritance, a very sizable one! (Romans 4:13, 8:15-17; Hebrews 1:2) So, just petition God your Father, the One with the authority and power to see to it that you get what’s yours. Go to Him in complete faith, and let Him know that you’re fully aware of what your rights are and what belongs to you. (If you don’t know, His Word – His Will written down – will tell you). Most assuredly, go to Him in reverence and with thanksgiving. But, go to Him in boldness and ardently take hold of what He’s already given you! (Matthew 11:12)

Jesus tells us in Mark 11:24, “Whatever things you ‘desire,’ when you pray [to God], believe that you receive them [as soon as you pray], and you will have them.” Oddly enough, that ‘desire’ is the same Greek word ‘aiteo’ again. So, “Whatever things you desire, call for, require, and demand as you’re praying to God, believe that you receive them right now, and you’ll have them.” Job 22:28 teaches, “You will decree a thing, and it’ll be established unto you: and the light will shine upon your ways.” Finally, in Isaiah 45:11, God plainly exhorts us to “‘Ask’ (from the Hebrew word ‘shaal’ meaning [you guessed it], to ask, beg, demand or require) Me of things to come concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My hands you command Me!”

So, make demands upon your heavenly Father. Command Him – require from Him what He’s already decreed is yours. He’s given you leave to be (albeit reverently) bossy to Him where your rightful heritage is concerned. Believe me, you’re not gonna intimidate or upset Him. Actually, He’ll be quite pleased – He’s been trying to get your stuff to you for ages.

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4 Comments to “Commanding God?”

  1. Hi,
    First of all, let me congratulate you on your book. It is wonderful to see you out there in the book world as an author. You are a blessing too many.
    Secondly, I enjoyed your article on commanding God. One of my most favourite scriptures come from Malachi 3:8-10 where God challenges us to test him. He plainly says, “Test me! Give me your tithes and test me to see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour you out so much blessing that you will not have room enough to contain it.” I believe that because my God is true at his word.
    Thanks for a wonderful article.

    • Hi Patricia.

      I appreciate those kind words. Yes, our heavenly Father is true and faithful, and since the Garden He’s been on the lookout for people who would step out and take Him at His Word in trust. Always nice to hear from you…


  2. i am reminded of God’s Word in Jeremiah 33:3 ” Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”. God is ever with us, listening to our every word, and He asks us to call upon Him and He will show us great and mighty things! We only have to call upon His name. Thank you for preaching this truth and promise of God’s Word, Lester. God bless, you! Dee

    • Throughout His Word, God implores us to call upon Him, to come to Him, to test Him, to try Him…He’s trying to pull us to Him so that He can prove His love and faithfulness to us, to give us all He’s promised us, so that the world will see and come to Him and be saved. As always, Dee, thanks for your kind words. Happy Thanksgiving, and God bless you, too!


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