Matthew 7:9-12 – “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. NIV
A smooth, oval shaped stone could look like a small loaf of bread, and a coiled up snake could appear as a piece of fish; but why would good parents give such things to their children? These questions presume that good parents want the best for their children, and that good parents are not in the habit of playing cruel jokes on their children. If this is true of good parents, why would it not be true of a good God who loves and cares for His creation and wants the best for them?
Unfortunately, some people have grown up thinking or being taught that God is out to “get them” … He just delights in catching them mess up. Jesus is trying to correct that thinking by comparing God’s motives to those of good earthly parents. In the process he also reminds us that just as good parents don’t do everything for their children, God doesn’t do everything for us. He waits for us to ask … to be receptive to His guidance. Good parents know that many times children don’t listen to the advice or instruction given by parents until they really need it and ask, and then they are receptive. I think God wants us to ask, and that He waits for us to ask. James tells us that we do not have because we do not ask. (James 4:2).
Jesus takes it a step farther encouraging us to act like our Heavenly Father and gives us what we have come to call The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. If we do this, we are doing what the Law and Prophets have been trying to teach us.