Tuesday, March 5, 2024

God Politely Declines

One of the narratives exploding in liberal Christianity is that God can't wait to join you wherever you are and take on your quest with you. If you love God, He automatically shows up for you, whatever you're doing. We have this idea that we take God with us and that His deep love for us is the same as a blind approval. 

And that's simply not the biblical truth. 

There's a story in 1 Samuel that demonstrates this fairly clearly. 

Saul was the king of Israel, chosen by God Himself to lead the chosen people. But things aren't going well; Saul's insecurities are getting the best of him, and he's slowly turning away from God's guidance. The prophet, Samuel, who guided Saul for the early years of his kingship, has died, and Saul is on his own. He's already committed a few egregious sins, and David has already started appearing on the scene as one with God's anointing on him. 

Now, we find Saul on the edge of another battle with the Philistines. The Philistines, we should add, have David on their side; he's currently hiding in their territory so that Saul doesn't kill him. (But David has no intentions of actually fighting for the Philistines nor against Saul.) Saul...starts to get cold feet. 

So Saul, a man chosen by God, a man guided for so long by a prophet, a man known to prophesy himself and who has offered (albeit illegally) sacrifices to the Lord, a man who knows that without the Lord on his side, the battle is futile...Saul prays to God. Saul asks God to show up and give him the plan. Saul asks God to come and settle his fears. 

God politely declines. 

The Bible tells us, "But He did not give him an answer, neither in dreams nor by consulting the Urim nor through prophecy." Nothing. God is simply not coming to the party that Saul is inviting him to. 

God is done showing up only when it's convenient for Saul. Saul's heart has been turned against Him for awhile, and the king doesn't want anything to do with God until he's scared. Then, all of a sudden, the Lord seems like a good idea. 

But God's not playing that game. God doesn't have a relationship with His people where you can have Him whenever you want Him and if you're not interested right now, He'll just step aside and let you do whatever, waiting to swoop in and rescue you the next time you call. 

No. Either you live your life fully for God or you accept that maybe He's not coming the next time you invite Him. 

And that's the truth that our current Christianity needs to understand - you don't get to just take God with you. You don't get to invite Him along to whatever and wherever you've decided to go. He's not coming. Rather, it is you who has to go with God.

If the chosen king of Israel can't get God to go with him when he's living in sin, what honest chance do you think you have? 

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