OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew




A.             The first question asked in the New Testament book of Matthew is found in Matthew 2:1-2.


Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?  For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.


1.                This was an honest question posed by honest men.

2.                Fortunately, there were those in Jerusalem who knew the answer and revealed it unto the wise men (Matt. 2:5-6).

3.                These men traveled to Bethlehem and “found the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him,” and presented their gifts unto him (Matt. 2:11).


B.              This event shows us that questions can be very valuable to us.  They can assist us in reaching our ultimate destinations.


C.              We have been encouraging you to put your questions in our box in the foyer.  Some of you have done this, and we want to respond to a couple of your questions this evening.




A.             The answer to this question can be both “Yes” and “No.”


B.              If a person looks up the English word “success” in the Bible, he will only find it one time in the KJV (Josh. 1:8).


This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein:  for then thou shalt make by way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.


C.              It must be remembered, however, that this English word is a translation of a Hebrew term.

1.                The Hebrew word is “sawkal” (7919).

2.                This Hebrew word has a wide variety of meanings.  BDB gives four definitions:  be prudent, be circumspect, wisely understand, and prosper.

3.                Strong notes that the word is translated eleven different ways in the OT.

4.                In my research, I found the word “Sawkal” used 49 times in the OT.

a.         Consider (2):  Job 34:27; Ps. 64:9

b.         Expert (1):  Jer. 50:9

c.         Guide his hands wittingly (1):  Gen. 48:14

d.         Instruct (2):  Neh. 9:20; Ps. 32:8

e.         Prosper (6):  Deut. 29:9; Josh. 1:7; I Kings 2:3; Jer. 10:21; 20:22; 23:5

f.         Prudent (2):  Prov. 19:14; Amos 5:13

g.         Prudently (1):  Isa. 52:13

h.         Skill (2):  Dan. 1:17; 9:22

i.          Success (1):  Josh. 1:18

j.          Taught (1):  II Chron. 30:22

k.         Teacheth (1):  Prov. 16:23

l.          Understand (9):  I Chron. 28:19; Neh. 8:13; Ps. 14:2; 53:2; Isa. 41:20; 44:18; Dan. 9:13; 9:25; 11:33.

m.        Understandeth (1):  Jer. 9:24

n.         Understanding (5):  Ps. 47:7; 119:99; Prov. 21:16; Jer. 3:15; Dan. 11:35

o.         Wisdom (2):  Job 34:35; Prov. 1:3

p.         Wise (12):  Gen. 3:6; Job 22:2; Ps. 2:10; 36:3; 94:8; Prov. 10:5; 10:19; 14:35; 17:2; Dan. 12:3; 12:10.


D.             This question and its answer are important because of what it teaches us about Bible study and its results.

1.                The conclusions of our Bible study depend upon the depth of our study.

2.                The treasures of Bible study pile up when we dig into the various words and their meanings.

3.                The conclusions to which we come and that we teach are very important.

a.         Some will heed the things that we say.

b.         Some will challenge the things we say.

c.         God will judge us for the things that we say.




A.             The key to this question is in the word “answered.”

1.                Some believe that “answered” mean “getting that which has been requested.”  If this is the sense, then the answer would be, “No.”

2.                Some believe that the word “answered” involves “any form of response by God.”  If this is the way it is used, then the answer is, “Yes.”


B.              There are several directions that one could go with this response in addition to what has been said.

1.                Does God hear the prayers of non-Christians?

2.                What about the prayer of Cornelius?

3.                What are the responses God can give to our prayers?


C.              Most of us in this audience are Christians.

1.                We are been convinced of three facts:

a.         We are to pray (I Thess. 5:17).


Pray without ceasing.




                                    b.         God has promised that if we ask we will receive (Matt. 7:7).


Ask, and it shall be given you.


                                    c.         There are times that we ask and we do not get our requests.

                        2.         We need to understand a few more things about our prayers.

a.         There are times when God “cannot” answer our prayers, even if He wants to.

                                                1)         Our prayers are not asked in faith (Matt. 21:22).


And all things whatsoever ye ask in prayer, believing ye shall receive.


2)         Our prayers were not in harmony with the Lord’s will (I John 5:14-15).


And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:  and we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.


3)         The things we requested in our prayers were intended to be consumed on our lusts (James 4:3).


Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.


                                                4)         Our prayers were not effectual and fervent (James 5:16).


Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.


                                                5)         Sin within our lives (Ps. 66:18).


If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.


                                    b.         There are three responses that God can give to our prayers.

                                                1)         Yes.

                                                            a)         Hannah (I Sam. 1:11, 19-20).

                                                            b)         Elijah (James 5:17-18).

                                                            c)         Hezekiah (II Kings 20:1-6).

                                                2)         No.  The example of Paul (II Cor. 12:8-9).


For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might be depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:  for my strength is made perfect in weakness.


                                                3)         Wait a little while.  David in the wilderness (Ps. 142:6).


Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low:  deliver me from my persecutions; for they are stronger than I.




A.             As disciples of Christ, let us become better students of the Word of God.


B.              As children of God, let’s approach our Father often and lay our petitions before His holy throne (Heb. 4:16).


Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.





Consider (2): 

Job 34:27; Ps. 64:9


Expert (1): 

Jer. 50:9


Guide his hands wittingly (1):

 Gen. 48:14


Instruct (2): 

Neh. 9:20; Ps. 32:8


Prosper (6): 

Deut. 29:9; Josh. 1:7; I Kings 2:3; Jer. 10:21; 20:22; 23:5


Prudent (2): 

Prov. 19:14; Amos 5:13


Prudently (1): 

Isa. 52:13


Skill (2): 

Dan. 1:17; 9:22


Success (1): 

Josh. 1:18


Taught (1): 

II Chron. 30:22


Teacheth (1): 

Prov. 16:23


Understand (9): 

I Chron. 28:19; Neh. 8:13; Ps. 14:2; 53:2; Isa. 41:20; 44:18; Dan. 9:13; 9:25; 11:33.


Understandeth (1): 

Jer. 9:24


Understanding (5): 

Ps. 47:7; 119:99; Prov. 21:16; Jer. 3:15; Dan. 11:35


Wisdom (2): 

Job 34:35; Prov. 1:3


Wise (12): 

Gen. 3:6; Job 22:2; Ps. 2:10; 36:3; 94:8; Prov. 10:5; 10:19; 14:35; 17:2; Dan. 12:3; 12:10