Exodus 31

If You Can?

“Jesus asked the boy’s father, ‘ How long has he been like this? From childhood, he answered.
It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us
and help us. If you can?, said Jesus. Everything is possible for him who believes. Immediately
the boy’s father exclaimed, I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.” ( Mark 9)

We are all familiar with this story of this man and his son and their encounter with Jesus. We
can certainly identify with this man can’t we? We have all had something we wanted the Lord
to do and yet our faith wavered and we were not sure the Lord would do it. So we ask ‘if you
can.’ We know all things are possible with God, but sometimes we are not sure if the Lord will
do what we have requested.

I do not want to make prayer complicated, nor do I want to oversimplify it and turn God into
some kind of vending machine that if we put in the right change we will get what we ask for-
yet the Lord has given us the pattern for prayer, the privilege of prayer, and in fact I believe the
devil fears prayer more than anything because prayer releases the power of God.

What I want to do is remove the ‘if’ as much as is possible.

Because unanswered prayer or not being confident of what we are praying for is frustrating and
confusing. And we know God is not the author of confusion, it is the enemy who does not want
us to believe God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do.

Jesus’ disciples must have experienced this same frustration and confusion for they ask the Lord
to teach them to pray.

Jesus told us we should always pray and faint not- not give up. ( Luke 18)

Paul instructs us: “ Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is
God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ( I Thess.5)

And we know the prayer of this boy’s father was answered as he prayed: “ I believe, help my

Yet the Word of God tells us of the frustrations of saints of old:

“ O Lord, how long shall I cry and You will not hear?” Habakuk 1.

“Oh that One would hear me! Behold my desire is that the Almighty would answer me..” Job 31


“ How long will You forget me,O Lord? Forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?”
David in Psalms 13 Have you not had times in your life when your prayers reflected the same
emotions? The same frustrations and even doubts? Of course we have.

Yet in Hebrews 4 we are told: we can enter the throne room of heaven boldly, with confidence,
to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

And John writes : “ This is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to
His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us- whatever we ask- we know that we have
what we asked of Him” ( I John 5) Oh, but you say- there is that IF again. Yes it is there for a
reason- to protect us.

As we have been studying the details of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, we realize this is
more than a tent. It was a place where God dwelled. As we have studied this physical structure
and its furnishings, we must realize that what God desired in Israel physically, He desires in us
spiritually. That is- God wants to prepare a place within us spiritually where He may dwell. Our
heart is His Home, His Dwelling Place. And anyone who has entered in by the gate, the Lord
Jesus will be saved. Anyone who has by faith laid his/her sins on the Lamb of God who was slain
and who took away the sins of the world is saved. And the Lord Jesus saves to the uttermost,
because He lives forever at the right hand of God to intercede for us in intercessory prayer.

Jesus said : Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it will be opened.

It is the very nature of God to desire a fellowship with you and me. It is His desire for us to call
on Him.

“ While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the Word of the Lord came to
him a second time. This is what the Lord says, He who made the earth, the Lord who formed it,
and established it- the LORD is His name. Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and
unsearchable (mighty) things you do not know.” ( Jeremiah 33:1-3)

See the promise in the third verse: God says call on Me and I will answer you. Is that not what
Jesus said in Matthew 7 that if we asked, and if we sought and knocked that it would given,
found and opened. God says I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you do not
know. How does God answer- yes, no, wait. Paul asked three times to have a thorn removed
and the Lord said no. The Lord said my grace is sufficient. It is always sufficient. He also said the
thorn had a purpose in God’s plan for Paul to receive the fullness of the Lord’s strength. For the
Lord told Paul in weakness, His strength is made perfect.

The second verse here tells us who is making this promise- the Lord who created everything-
the Lord who created everything out of nothing. Can He not do what He says He will do? Who is
like the Lord God Almighty- there is no other.

And I would have you notice the first verse for it tells us the circumstances Jeremiah finds
himself in when God makes this promise, Jeremiah is in prison.

Jesus tells us in John 5:17, His Father is always at work. So we know God is not slack in
answering our prayers and keeping His promises. He is at work.

We must remember when we enter the throne room of heaven, we also have entered into
God’s time zone, where a thousand years is as a day. He lives in the eternal present. You are
now on His time schedule.

But is in Romans 8 we discover what the goal of God’s constant work is: God is working all
things together for good, for those who love the Lord and are the called according to His
Purpose. Great- you say, God is working it out for our good. You do understand what God’s
definition of good is , don’t you? It is right there in the following verses God working everything
together for good and His defines this good work as our being conformed to the image of His

In fact, let’s look at these verse in Romans 8 and follow the logic of Paul to remove the “IF”.

We want to believe and we want the Lord to help our unbelief. We want to lay hold of the
promises, to claim what is ours but how can we be sure? How can we be certain of what we
hope for and sure of what we cannot see?

The answer in a word, is Faith. ‘ Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what
we do not see. For by it the elders received a good report.” ( Hebrews 11:1,2) The KJV says:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Corrie Ten Boom said: Faith sees the invisible; believes the unbelievable and receives the

Let’s read Romans 8:28-35.

Paul asks these questions: What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can
be against us?

Now listen with your heart as to what God has done and it will remove the ‘if’ from your ‘if you

Paul tells us the evidence we have that God has provided to remove the ‘if’ from your life and
remove the doubts and unbelief from your heart and mind.

“He (God) spared not His only Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with
Him (Lord Jesus) freely give us all things? This is evidence , the irrefutable evidence of God’s
love for us, for His commitment to us. Looking at the cross how can we doubt what God thinks
of you and me? (Romans 8:32)

It’s about a simple message and do you really believe It is about the cross. It is about a King who
died for His subjects. What shall we say to these things? God states clearly He knew me in my
mother’s womb, and He saw my last day before the first ever began. God is the director of the
movie of your life- and He has determined He will work all things together for good.

Who can be against us? Interesting in Jeremiah 33:2, God reminds Jeremiah who is making the
promise- the LORD who created the earth, who formed it, who established it. This is Almighty
God. When He is for us- the scales will be tipped in favor of those He is for. In fact if those who
were against us, were on one side of the scale- they would be like a feather and the God who is
for us – who is Our Rock would be like a five ton rock place on our side.

Paul says who can bring a charge against us? You see the world, our old nature and the devil
will try and convince you – you cannot trust God to act on your behalf as He has acted in the
past for others. God is the same, He never changes. We have been justified. No evidence can
be brought against us, no charges can be brought before us in a court of law. The Judge of the
Universe has declared us Not Guilty. Innocent of all charges. God has executed Jesus Christ, His
Son for our sins.

When you come face-to-face with such a love as this- how can you not have confidence in the
love and favor of God. In fact verse 34 asks the question: Who is it that condemns you? It is
Christ that died for you, and is risen again who is even now sitting at the right hand of God who
lives forever to make intercession for you. He is our advocate. He is our defender.

And the last question Paul asks is: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? And he
answers nothing can separate us. Not persecution, not famine, or nakedness or peril or sword.
Neither life nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers nor things present nor things to
come. Nor height nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love
of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ( Romans 8:35-39)

God told Jeremiah ( and us) the One who promised to answer our prayers is the Lord Almighty
who created everything out of nothing. Who has all power, all knowledge, and is Our ever
Present Help in time of need.

Because we believe this, because we see the clear evidence of His love and commitment to us,
we can enter the throne room of heaven with confidence.

Now God tells us we must be cleansed of our sins. Psalms 66:18 states: “If I regard iniquity
in my heart , He will not hear me.” Notice it does not say if we sin, He will not hear us. For
He has told us when we sin, we have an advocate who lives forever at the right hand of
God to intercede for us. So when we confess our sins, He is faithful to cleanse us from all

We are told – we have not, because we ask not. Prayerlessness is a sin. How can we neglect
something so wonderful?!

We are told we have not , because we ask amiss, to consume it ourselves. Selfish prayers will be
answered – no.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Our Faith is in Almighty God. He made sure Jeremiah knew who it was who was telling him to
pray and He would answer.

Do you believe He is who He says He is? For He has revealed Himself as a loving Father who
loves to give good gifts.

He has revealed Himself as a Warrior, Our Shield and Defender, a Mighty Bulwark is He.

He has revealed Himself as the Creator.

He has revealed Himself as a God who will allow His only Son to die – so that you and I might be
adopted by Him into His family.

He has revealed Himself as a God who cannot lie and keeps His promises.

He has promised to forgive and forget our sins. Sometimes the promise to forget is as
important as the promise to remember and He has engraved my name and yours in the palm of
His hand as well as inscribed it in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

He is our provider, our sustainer and our everlasting Father.

He has promised to answer our prayers and show us great and mighty things which we know

No wonder Jesus said we ought always to pray and faint not.


IF YOU CAN, said Jesus. Everything is possible for him who believes.

Now we know the man asked the Lord to help him overcome his unbelief. This prayer was
answered for this is God’s will that believe in Him and the One whom He sent.

Jesus also told his disciples this kind of spirit ( in the boy) comes out only by prayer.

Faith is never perfect is it? There can be unbelief mixed with belief.

Let’s look at Daniel 2 :17-23.

God revealed deep and hidden things to Daniel. He knows what lies in darkness and light dwells
with Him. God gives us, like Daniel, wisdom and power. He gives us understanding.

So remember what the promise of God is : Call on me and I will answer. What can the answer
be? Yes, No, or Wait. But that is not all, in calling on Him – He will show us great and mighty
things we know not. Paul’s answer to his prayer to remove the thorn was NO. But in and
through the ‘thorn’ the Lord showed Paul something great and mighty he did not know. The
Lord showed Paul and us how His strength is made perfect in weakness. Remember God will
answer you in His Word, for His Word is: ‘…God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking,
correcting, and training in righteousness so that you may be thoroughly equipped for every
good work.’ ( 2 Timothy)

God is going to answer you prayer. And if you will ask, seek and knock- He will show you great
and mighty things you know not. It may require an adjustment on your part- from major to
minor. But God has promised to show you.

About that there is no – IF.

Copyright © 2010 Linda Benthal
Last modified: 08/12/14