A wise man spoke of bargaining with God. At first, though intrigued, I wondered if this was ‘kosher’? Wasn’t sacrificing His firstborn enough? How could I fathom asking for more? And even if it is acceptable, what leverage could I possibly have?
Then I remembered renowned people who bargained with God. Like Hannah, who begged for a son, promising to dedicate him to God in return. Pondering this, I realized that I bargain with God all the time, I just wasn’t conscious of it. Who hasn’t, in a moment of desperation, cried out to God, “If You help me with ‘x’, I promise, I’ll do ‘y'”, or, “I’ll never do ‘z’ again?!”
It’s funny how things can be an intrinsic part of our nature, but when we step back and actually think about them, they seem quite strange. It’s like when we suddenly notice how words we use all the time sound really weird when we roll them over in our minds and mouths, i.e., “Spatula, spaatuula, spaaatuuulaaa…” 🙂
Once convinced that bargaining with God is legit, the question remained, what of value could I offer to the One who literally has EVERYTHING? Again, Hannah came to mind: she gave a most cherished part of herself: her first-born son, not to mention her one and only child.
So, there is something we have that God wants: US. Yes, He created us, but the choice to love Him, to give ourselves to Him, remains ours. He says to delight ourselves in Him and He will give us the desires of our heart. Here we see that God actually initiates bargaining with us! In exchange for giving Him what He wants – our hearts that delight in Him – He will give us what we want – the desire of our hearts. (I believe that these are actually one and the same, but that is for another conversation..).
In His usual paradoxical way, our Father works it out so that no matter what we give Him, He gives us back way more than we bargained for.
Now that is truly delightful.
Gary L Ellis said:
Hey, Hannah! I’m actually teaching Psalm 37:4 in parallel to Matt. 6:33 tomorrow at The Sanctuary. I hadn’t seen the parallel before until I realized that in one case they were worrying themselves, like pagans, over food and drink (survival needs). David is talking about pursuing hearts desires. We find both when we become delighted by and delighted in He and His Life…much the same way as a man or a woman act when they are pursuing each other. It’s interesting that the root verb of delight is “tender, plyable, delightful, pleasurable, amorous.”
Thanks for the insight Gary! I love the parallel with courting – the way we make sacrifices and spend our resources to make time and space for significant others sheds light on why we would do the same for God. It takes the religiosity out of it and brings us back to the whole point of our relationship with God – love and intimacy and delight. It stills blows me away that God wants us to delight in Him… the implications…
I didn’t know the Sanctuary was up and running again… Wonderful! Can you plz send me the link. Thanks!
Gary L Ellis said:
It isn’t. The server where I was hosting “upgraded” and was never usable for what I wanted after that. That was what I called, “The Internet Sanctuary.” The Sanctuary Church is my land based church in Davenport, IA. We meet on Sunday’s – by design – in a large Vegetarian Cafe/Coffee House downtown. I post Sunday messages on our website: http://www.sanctuaryqca.com
That’s too bad. Maybe God has another plan, or maybe it’s warfare… I would be interested to know if you have/get any insight on this.
Unshakable Hope said:
Good post, Hannah. This reminds me of the day I was reading the Bible and the phrase “if you…” kept appearing. I did a search and copied and pasted all the verses containing that phrase. I realized then that God’s love is unconditional, but His blessings are not.
Thanks Bill. Yes, God so wants to bless us, but He also wants us to be holy, which is a blessing in itself, not always easy, but so worth it… I love what He promises when we do meet His conditions:
“And all these blessings SHALL COME UPON YOU and OVERTAKE you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God”. Deuteronomy 28:2.
Have you heard of Be in Health? http://www.beinhealth.com/public/
They focus on the possible spiritual roots of disease
By simply reading the founder’s (Henry Wright) book, A More Excellent Way, I got
the faith and understanding to be healed of MS. They also have a free online conference:
I also highly value other, seemingly opposing, views on healing. I’ve been blessed by learning from a variety of sources and applying one or the other or a combination, depending what I sense God is showing me.
I hope this encourages you.
Bless you and your family,