BellaVista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

10/31/2018

Harold Akridge

 

Making Deals with God

When “I am in trouble, I cry to the Lord…”

Psalm 120:1

 

  The art of deal making is thousands of years old. Early fourth century Egyptian history records the successful trading of goods and services all through the Mediterranean Region and into Southwest Asia. They were trading their precious resources, gold, papyrus, linen, and grain. Successful traders would have been skilled masters in the art of bartering and bargaining. One of the earliest Bible descriptions of traveling traders is in Genesis 37:25, 28 where Joseph’s brothers sell him for twenty shekels of silver to “a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead…and they were on their way to Egypt.” The Bible narrative does not describe the intimate details of the deal, but we can expect that some form of bargaining would have taken place.

 

  To bargain means that “an agreement is reached between parties setting what each one shall give, take or perform and receive in a transaction.” Many refer to the Biblical example in Genesis 18:1-33, that Abraham was bargaining with God. God is angry with the sin in Sodom and Gomorrah and He tells Abraham He is going to destroy everything and everyone because of it. Abraham shows his compassion for the perceived righteous people of Sodom and Gomorrah, pleading, bargaining with God, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Surely You would not do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike” (Gen. 18:23-25). Abraham continues pleading with God until He agrees on the small number of ten people.” (vs. 32) God agrees to a lower number of righteous people as Abraham asks, but if we believe that our omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God was influenced by Abraham’s bargaining skills, we should think again. Bargaining with God is not the same as trying to get a lower price on an item at a garage sale. In his book “Think a Second Time,” author Dennis Prager wrote, “I have come to realize that many religious people, of all faiths, believe that they should be able to avoid calamities that afflict the less pious. They believe, in effect, that they can make a deal with God - I’ll do what You want so that You do what I want. For countless religious people, this issue is compounded by their belief that God has reneged on a deal with them.” Satan, the ultimate liar promotes the idea that man is equal to God, allowing him the natural ability to bargain with the Creator of the universe. At no time has man been equal to God and he never will be.

 

  Have you been guilty of trying to bargain with God? Most attempts to bargain with God come when we see our physical life, or our worldly pleasures in danger. We panic believing we are going to lose everything, and our last hope is to bargain with God. We reach out to God like we are at a car dealership trading in our used car, trying to get more for it than it is worth.

 

  Attempting to bargain with God reveals a low view of Him? In Romans 11:35 Paul writes, “Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid?” The answer is NO ONE. Since everything is from God and through God, He already owns all things and we can never give Him anything that is not already His. Paul continues in Romans 17:24-28, “People of Athens!  “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us.  ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.” There is absolutely no bargaining with God. We have nothing to bargain with.

 

  “The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. It is the storm within which endangers him, not the storm without." –Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

—HAROLD AKRIDGE

    Bella Vista Church of Christ