June 22, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: God Cannot Be Bribed

Brother-Aaron-236x300When my oldest son, who is now in his forties, was about six months old, he was diagnosed with tracheal bronchitis and pneumonia.

The situation was grim. The doctor came to Marianne and me and told us he had done all he could do. It was up to God. Fortunately, God showed him favor and healed him.

In the process of all of this, my mother, who was a God fearing woman, began to earnestly pray. Momma had dipped snuff for years.

So, in her desperation, she “made a deal” with God. She promised Him that if he would heal my son that she would give up her snuff. God did – and she did!

Until the day she died I never knew her to take another dip of snuff. However, about six months later I came to momma and daddy’s house and she had tobacco in her mouth. I said, “Momma! I thought you promised God you would give up dipping snuff!” She replied, “I did.” To which I responded, “Then what’s that in your mouth?”

She replied, “It’s some of your daddy’s Taylor Made chewing tobacco. I promised God I would give up snuff. I didn’t say anything about chewing tobacco!” To me, that’s kinda like promising God you’ll quit drinking beer … only to start drinking whiskey! Both are alcoholic beverages.

I suppose that momma went to her grave believing she had a deal with God and that deal was the reason my oldest son was healed.  Now, do I believe her prayers moved the heart of God?  Absolutely!  Do I believe that God healed my son because of her “snuff deal” with Him?  Not so much!

Now, I’m sure some of you reading this column today are begging to differ with me. You’re saying: I made a deal with God about something! And if you want to believe that, I won’t fall out with you and hopefully you won’t fall out with me for not believing it.

If the truth be known, that way of thinking is Biblical flawed.  All throughout the Bible God promises, “If You will – I will. If we believe, He’ll save us. If we will give, He’ll give back to us. If we humble ourselves, He will lift us up. If we commit our ways to Him, He will sustain us. And on and on I could go.

However, I don’t readily recall a situation in the Bible where God honored somebody’s request when they said, “God.  If you will – I will.”

When we turn it around like that, demanding God do something in exchange for our obedience to Him, it basically becomes bribery – and God doesn’t do bribery!

In Acts 10: 34(KJV), Peter said, “… Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”

God is just and God is good.  Galatians 6:7(KJV) says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” So, when we do that which is right in the sight of the Lord, we will receive that which is right in the sight of the Lord. So, bribery becomes a moot point.

It’s real simple. If we want to receive what’s right – then we must do what’s right!  So, in essence, the only way we can bribe God is by doing what’s right! But under no other circumstances can God really be bribed. Why? Because God knows our heart. And even with my dear momma, God knew that tobacco was a besetting sin for her. He loved her anyway! He healed my son anyway! But when sin lies at our core, which it does, our only hope is God’s mercy!

God honors our faithfulness. He doesn’t do bribery! And besides, just what is it that we think we possess that we could use to bribe the God Who created everything?

Brother Aaron

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