More Than Anything, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, January 7, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

When we bought our home where we live now, our realtor shared how hard it was to work with some Christians when buying a home. She shared stories of people who sought 'signs from God' or made 'vows to God' in order to get the house they wanted. Instead of considering their income, stewardship, and ministry to others, they would bargain with God to seek spiritual permission to overextend themselves for the "perfect" house.

It's sad really. I have seen many Christians and non-Christians do the same thing. They seek a supernatural "free pass," some impossible happenstance that must be a sign that God wants them to have that house, or that car, or whatever else they are doing emotional gymnastics over acquiring. In my opinion, the saddest people are not the the 'sign' people, it's the ones who make sweeping promises or grand vows of what they will do if God grants them what they want. Rarely does it work out the way they planned, and even more rarely do they follow through with their vow.

Jephthah had a similar moment in his leadership. Read Judges 11:29-33.

With the smell of victory just in front of him, and with what I imagine was the testosterone-fueled exuberance of a pro-wrestler on fight night, Jephthah vows to sacrifice whatever first comes out of his home if God would allow him to beat the Ammorites.

Well, I don't know about you, but I tend to pause and think logically about this kind of thing. Unless a huge windstorm blows something out of his tent upon his arrival, there are probably very few 'un-alive' things coming out of his tent. So, what was Jephthah thinking? Did he have someone in mind already? Did he have a severe dislike for the family cat? Did the family dog pee on the goat hair blankets before he left for battle?

Seriously, why would a smart leader commit to such a dangerous and unpredictable promise? Was it a matter of really trusting God that much? Or was it that his desire for victory overwhelmed his good sense? We may have a clue next week.

For now, let me ask you: Have you bought into the habit of seeking signs and making promises to God in exchange for His blessing? Do you know that we don't have to bargain with God?

He wants to give us good things. He is a good father who wants to bless His children. He is also a good father who will let us experience the consequences of our choices and selfish desires.

Over and over again in the Bible, God seeks to have people trust Him and wait on His plans. And over and over again, people bargain, charge ahead, and flat out don't listen (or wait) for God. It never ends well.

What are you bargaining with God about right now? Are you willing to pay the real price for what you are trying to gain?

Pray and ask God to help you lay down your desires so that you can see where He desires to lead you. And He will make it clear, without magic signs and sparkly glitter dust, jingling tinker bells, or mental gymnastics to solve the mystery of His will. Lay down your idol, your craving, and your bargain, and seek God's plan, for He will empower you to serve others and display His love and character.

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