Friday, December 7, 2012

The hazards of God's "Yes"

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you begged God for it? Kept asking, perhaps even trying to blackmail God into a response using the parable of the widow and the unrighteous judge (who gave in to her request because of her nagging)?

Be careful what you ask for.

Jesus promised that His followers that if they lived in truth, doing the work of the Father, that they could ask anything in His name and it would be given.

That's a lot different from things we really really want because they sound good to have, move us forward in ambitions, or seem to prove to us that God likes us. We don't want to be ill. We don't want to lose our jobs. We want a bigger house (or to keep the one we have). Don't we deserve a good life if we are Christ-followers?

The Israelites thought they knew what would help them stay on track. They asked Samuel to find them a king like the nations had around them. Samuel prayed about their request and listened to God's response:
So Samuel passed on the LORD's warning to the people who were asking him for a king. …

But the people refused to listen to Samuel's warning. 'Even so, we still want a king,' they said. 'We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.'

So Samuel repeated to the LORD what the people had said, and the LORD replied, 'Do as they say, and give them a king.' Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home."
1 Samuel 8:10, 19–22

Even though God warned the nation about what would happen if He gave permission, they recklessly persisted in their request. So God said, "Yes." Subsequently, Israel's kings turned the nation to idolatry and war. Within 3 generations, the tribes split into two countries. After a few centuries, both were dragged into captivity and the Promised Land lay in ruins.

He also allowed Lot to become the father of two enemy nations of Israel through his daughters: we're talking about Lot, the nephew of Abraham (who was promised great blessings.) Moabites and Ammonites were Lot's descendents. 

God also let Hagar become the mother of Abraham's son Ishmael. And what a mess that's made of Middle East peace!

God allowed Hosea's wife to be a prostitute. He let Judas betray Jesus. He let well-intentioned Pharisees kill Stephen. And let churches choose to be lukewarm and indifferent. 

He warned against all of these things but didn't' prevent people from making choices that had severe consequences. 

Are we insisting God give us something (or allow us to indulge in behavior) that may bring more harm than good? Let's be careful what we ask for this Christmas season!

Read more:
*Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. Psalm 25:8

*Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done! They wouldn't wait for his counsel! In the wilderness their desires ran wild, testing God's patience in that dry wasteland. So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it" Psalm 106:13–15

*“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-20 NIV

*Through Jesus forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38

Moravian Prayer: O God, we sin, we speak too quickly, we give in to anger, we hold hate in our hearts, but you stand calm. May we feel the calmness of sin forgiven and may we be made clean now, today. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Is true. Sometime i dont know what/how to ask.

    love how you bring to mind many things that circle my mind too, about how the people asked for a king (in Samuel) and yet were very warned about it, about how the widow persistently asked the judge for help...

    I was recently left at the alter. I dont know what to ask for.. if he comes back. or should I just pray for recovery, and healing, and get on..
    or that I should even ASK FOR WISDOM about WHAT TO ASK upon this matter... you see.. so confusing. I DONT EVEN KNOW what to ask for... some days are better. some days i feel like an OCD. trying to fix. call. compose the best email, stitch things back, pray, pray the best prayer, be heard, answered by God... helped by God. Held by God.

    i am so confused. trying to find work (because I was made to quit work and stay at home... yes, relationship was pretty controlling and i was not allowed to leave home / go work.) where can I go... what can I do, dont even know what to pray for... .