Stop Telling God What To Do

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Reading in Genesis where God had declared His promise and covenant with Abraham to make him the father of a great nation. You know the story: Sarai grew impatient and nagged Abram into fathering a child by her maid Hagar. Several years passed and God came to Abraham and confirmed His promise – Sarah would still bear him a son. Abraham laughed to himself and questioned God’s promise: “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old bear a child? (Genesis 17:17). Then Abraham said, “Oh, that Ishmael [his son with Hagar] might live before you!”

God had made His promise known to Abraham, but in the waiting, Abraham and Sarah decided God could not be trusted and they would go to “plan B.” Even in the presence of God with the promise still ringing in his ears, Abraham pitched another idea out – as if God’s plan was not sufficient. “You know Lord, that’s quite a stretch – that two old people would have a baby. We’ve got Ishmael already – why don’t you just do your thing with him instead.”‘

I am so much like them. “God I’ve got this situation, I need Your help. I need You to work on my behalf. You are the only one who can fix this.” Then – “Oh, and here’s my plan for what you can do.” Sound familiar? Why do we think we need to give God our advice? I’m speaking this to me as loudly as I am to you – God doesn’t need our input. He doesn’t need my solutions. He can take care of things without your human wisdom. What He wants is our trust. He wants us to give the thing to Him and let Him decide the best course of action. He wants us to believe that what He promised He will also accomplish – without our “help.”

Beloved, let’s commit right now to stop trying to tell God what to do. Let’s give Him free rein (and reign) with our lives and how to work in them. You know, I bet He will come up with a solution that will be “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

Promises, Promises

promise

“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished” (Luke 1:45).

You stood together at the front of the church and promised to “love, honor and cherish till death do us part.”  Yet, here you are alone and hurting.  My child promised to come home on time, and two hours later I’m fuming as I hear his key finally turn in the door.  They promised advances and promotions when you were hired, but you’re still stuck at entry level. What happened?  Promises were made and then broken.  You’ve been on the receiving end, I’m sure.  You may have been on the giving end as well. 

Part of our human sinful condition is that we are selfish and self-centered and that often means we will fail to keep our word.  We make promises because we believe we will always feel the way we do in the moment. We never expected that our feelings would change.  Sometimes promises are made because we see that we can gain an advantage.  We really have no intention of keeping that promise, but we make it anyway.  I have made promises that I later could not keep.  I thought I could do what I said I would do, I have every intention of doing what I said I would do, but something unexpected happened and I failed to keep my word.  The end result is always the same – someone gets hurt.  Someone is placed at a disadvantage.  Is it any wonder that we find it hard to trust others?  Even God.

One thing I am certain of to the marrow of my bones is that God is faithful to His promises.  His Word is as sure as His character, and His character is flawless.  God doesn’t make promises based on feelings, so we never have to worry that His feelings will change and His promises will fail.  He does not need to make promises to gain and advantage.  He always has the advantage.  He doesn’t make promises He cannot keep.  He is almighty, all-powerful, and able to do everything He says He will do.  He never makes a promise He doesn’t intend to keep.  God wouldn’t be God if He did not or could not keep His promises.

What has God promised you?  If you are in Christ He has promised you salvation and eternal life.  He has promised you hope and peace and joy.  He has promised His presence, His power and His protection.  He has promised to provide, comfort and care for you.  He has promised you victory over sin and death and this world.  He has promised and He will accomplish.  Blessed are you when you take Him at His Word.