Monday, November 28, 2016

When God Fails To Give

It seems the closer we get to Christmas, the more greedy people become.  Everyone is in a hurry, thinking that their task is so much more important than the tasks of those around them.  And unfortunately, instead of revealing a “good will toward men” mentality, it comes across as a “good will toward me” mentality.  Christmas used to be a time of doing for others, but it seems that has changed and most people are more concerned about what they're getting instead of what they’re giving.

It’s hardly surprising when you think about the commercialism of the world we live in.  If you don’t have the latest and greatest, you’re nobody.  And if somebody else has it, you should have it too.  It doesn’t matter if you need it, want it or can afford it.  It doesn’t even matter if you know how to use it.  The determining factor, it seems, is that you must have it because somebody else does.  Where’s the logic in that?

God asked the same thing of the land of Israel when they cried out for a king.  I Samuel 8:5-9 tells the story:  And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

The people had God to rule them.  They even had judges who were ordained by God to act as a mediator between God and man.  This gave the people a literal face to speak to, an actual voice to hear.  God made it very easy for His people to hear and understand His will, but that wasn’t good enough.  They wanted more. They wanted a king “like all the nations.”  I can almost hear them crying out to Samuel like a group of spoiled children.  “But Samuel, all the other nations have a king.  We want one too.  Why can’t we have a king? It’s not fair!”

What they didn’t realize is that they were rejecting God with their pleas, basically declaring that He wasn’t good enough for them.  They were also going against God’s plan for them.  He knew what would happen if He allowed them to have what they asked for.  He was aware that it was not in their best interest.  But, because He often teaches us through our mistakes, He allowed the people to have what they wanted, and Saul was named king.  You remember Saul, right?  He was a maniac, a mad man.  Jealous, disobedient, vengeful—just the guy you want ruling the kingdom, right?

I know I sometimes ask God for a lot, and at times, I’m afraid, I ask for things that I think I should have simply because someone else has it.  For example, if this Christian author makes $1,000 each day in book royalties, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t too.  It’s only fair.  I work hard.  I’m dedicated to the ministry to which God has called me.  I’ve sacrificed a lot to do what He’s asked me to do.  Is it too much to ask for some reward?  Some recognition?  It might be.  God may be protecting me from my own desires because He knows they are not in my best interest.  And He might be doing the same with you.

Perhaps you, like me, know what it’s like to ask God for something repeatedly and to only be met with silence.  You wonder if God is mad at you.  Does He still care?  Is He listening?  No, He is not mad, and yes, He cares and listens.  But He also knows.  He knows the future and what would happen if you received the thing for which you’re asking.  He knows what’s best for you and whether or not that “thing” would hurt or help you.  Please, don’t take His answer as a slap in the face or words of rejection.  Instead, view the answer as what it is—a sign of love from a Father who cares for His children and wants only what is best for them.  And be thankful that God didn’t say “yes” just so that you could learn a lesson the hard way!

So, you see, it's not that God is failing to give.  He's giving you the gift of "no," which you will one day learn to appreciate far more than the "yes."

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