Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Getting Into a Rod Bending Match With God

Steel Rods
Courtesy of WikiHow.com
I know what you're thinking.  That is a really weird title.  Besides, how could I possible get into a rod bending match with God.  He is all powerful and we all would lose every time.  Well, that is exactly the point.  We cannot and will never win a contest with the Triune God!

The phrase "rod bending match" is something I came up with a few years back (it may not be original, but hey it was new to me)  It is when we, wrestle with and against the will of God when directed by the Holy Spirit.  We are like the rod, where we try to resist bending at all cost, but being omnipotent, not only do we lose, but we can be broken.  Our will is not stronger than God's will no matter how much we resist. When I think about this analogy two individuals in the Bible come to mind.  They are Jeremiah and Jonah (Moses resisted the Lord at first, but you can read on that in Exodus 3 & 4).

As humans, you will find that we are all in agreement with getting things done until the responsibility falls onto your shoulders.  This is no difference with Jeremiah.  In Jeremiah 1, we are introduced to Jeremiah and we are told that this is where the Lord calls him and give him his first visions.  In the first message the Lord tells him, "I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5).  In the very next verse, Jeremiah says, "'O Sovereign Lord', I said, 'I can't speak for you! I’m too young!'" (Jeremiah 1:6).  In his one answer, Jeremiah makes two excuses.  First, he claims that he is too young.  Secondly, he said that he could not speak for the Lord because he was too young.

As you might know, you cannot out wit or excuse your way out from the all-knowing God. You can only allow Him to show you the strengths you already have or what He can give to you.  In a very parent like manner, the Lord tells him not to make the excuse that he is too young.  He then tells Jeremiah that he would say whatever He told him to say!  I could only chuckle at that because as parent I can relate!  The beautiful thing about this correction is that the Lord also assures Jeremiah not to be afraid of the people and that He would protect him (just like a parent).  At that point, the Lord touched his mouth and put words in it (Jeremiah 10).

Problem solved.  Jeremiah only made excuses as to why he could not do the Lord's will.  However, Jonah is a completely different story.   Let's have a look at Jonah.

Jonah 1:1-3 says:
(1) The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: (2) "Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are."  (3) But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
Jonah had a direct order from the Lord to go announce His judgement against the city of Nineveh, but he chose to run.  Where did he think he was going to go, I have no idea, but he tried to run.  Jonah, then buys a ticket aboard a ship, but as the ship traveled over the sea, "(4)...the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart.  (5) Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.  But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. (6) So the captain went down after him. 'How can you sleep at a time like this?' he shouted. 'Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.'  (7) Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit. (8) 'Why has this awful storm come down on us?' they demanded. 'Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?'  (9) Jonah answered, 'I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.'  (10) The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the Lord. 'Oh, why did you do it?' they groaned. (11) And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, 'What should we do to you to stop this storm?'  (12) 'Throw me into the sea," Jonah said, "and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.'" (Jonah 1:4-12).

Even the sailors knew that running from "Jonah's God" was a bad thing.  They wondered how could Jonah do such a thing and now they were caught up in his disobedience.  After trying to continue through the storm, the sailors gave in and threw Jonah overboard.  In Jonah 2, we see that he is then swallowed by a fish (not a whale as some are taught.  The Bible just says a fish.) and there he stayed for three days and three nights. At that point, Jonah had finally quit running, prayed, and agreed to be obedient as to what the Lord had set out for him to do.  "Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach." (Jonah 2:10).

In both scenarios, the Lord's will prevailed.  You cannot make excuses.  You cannot run.  You cannot hide.  Even your own resistance can make you feel like a fugitive on the run from the police.  You're constantly looking over your shoulders.  You are on edge about every thing.  You see everyone as a potential enemy and then wonder why things are happening in your life they way that they are.  Only if you circle back to the original issue, it could be that you are running from God's mandate on your life.  Stop running and surrender.  It will only make things a little easier for you.

So what has He called you to do?

Be Blessed.

Antoine E. Hall

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