What would you do if you thought God was about to make a mistake?
I know what you are thinking: God doesn’t make mistakes. But in times past, people thought gods did make mistakes. Read Greek mythology. It is one story after another of a god who has poor judgement, just like us.
Then came this odd little folk called Israel who dared to claim that their God, the LORD, did not make mistakes. He was perfect. But when Israel told their story, they told it in such a way as to make it sound like there were people who stopped God from making a mistake:
- Abraham told God that He was too good a God to destroy the righteous with the wicked at Sodom and Gomorrah.
- Moses told God not to destroy the Israelites because it would give Him a bad reputation. Besides, God had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that they would have many descendants. If God wiped them out, He would have to start over.
- David pleaded with God not to let his son die.
- Job told God He wasn’t being fair, that he had done nothing to deserve all the suffering that piled onto his life.
- Jeremiah told God He expected too much, that he had been sent to a bunch of people who wouldn’t listen, and who put him down (sometimes literally) every chance they got.
- Jesus, God himself, ask the Father, “Is there any way this cup can pass from me?” He knew the plan; he just wanted to check one more time to see if there was another way.
- Paul told God it would be lot better if his “thorn in the flesh” was removed. When it seemed like God didn’t hear Him the first time, Paul asked again. And again.
Look up the stories. God’s response differs:
- God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, but spared Lot, the only semi-righteous person for miles around.
- God listened to Moses and didn’t destroy the people of Israel, though they did deserve it.
- God let David’s son die. Later, God gave David another son. Still, David always had to look at the empty chair that should have been filled.
- Job never got an answer to his question of “why,” but he did meet God. In the end, Job said that was good enough.
- Jeremiah expressed his feelings, but God kept giving him messages no one wanted to hear.
- Jesus took the cup, drank, and went to the cross.
- Paul lived with his “thorn in the flesh” till the day he died.
What’s the common thread? When all these folks in the Bible thought God was about to make a mistake, they talked to Him about it. They even made specific requests. Sometimes, God accommodated their requests. Sometimes, He didn’t. Sometimes His plan flexed. Sometimes, it didn’t.
The lesson: God wants to hear from you, even when you think He is about to make a mistake. He wants the conversation to happen. So talk to Him about all the thoughts that enter your mind. Asking God for something is holding in tension the reality that He wants to hear from us and He is in charge.