Vol. 8-06 – 01-29-2023 – Respect God Even When He Says No
A Reason for Saying No
You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me. –Deuteronomy 5:9
Some of you have experienced jealousy. It is strong in its nature. In the middle of that verse God says He is a jealous God. is it the same as our jealousy? No.
Give some thought as to what makes you jealous. When you were going to school, it was another looking favorably toward your crush. When you were trying to establish yourself in your work, jealousy rose when someone did better or received a promotion you thought should be yours. What about that new ride your friend purchased? Our jealousy always seems located in our focus upon self.
God’s jealousy, however, rises differently. It is founded in tending to our good, and for His glory. What a difference! God is focused on our well-being.
So, He desires and expects us to serve Him. Since He knows that we cannot have fulfillment without serving others, He has designed us to be aware that life is never simply serving ourselves.
How does one put human jealousy in its place? Through the continual building of a relationship with Him. Spending time with Him. Opening our hearts to Him. To have a life of knowing Him deeply.
If you have read this blog often, you have read my words that God is a God of love, grace, and mercy (or a similar order of words). That is true, but perhaps I should add jealousy. God is a God of love, grace, mercy, and is a jealous God. He wants His very best for those who belong to Him.
So, what does that have to do with God saying no? How often have you prayed your grocery list of prayer requests, only to have God not answer as you would have Him to do. God effectively says no. I heard about a lady who said she was mad at God because He did not answer her prayer. She had prayed for several years that God would get rid of her husband for her and she would be happy, but he was still her husband. God said no.
That was about self, was it not? Our jealous God wants the very best for those who belong to Him. That husband was in God’s plan and purpose for her life. She would have been better thanking God for His gift and learning to celebrate God’s goodness. In so doing, that husband may well have changed his value to her such that they could have effective ministry to others that needed the same teaching.
You can probably come up with better illustrations, but you get the point.
God also says no to good things (in our eyes) we pray for that would stand in the way of someone receiving the gospel. Today, I noticed a billboard near our town announcing the lottery was at $1.6 billion. I wondered if a Christian would win that lottery, how much damage would they do not meeting needs of many without Christ. And how would the unbeliever vent toward the lack of the Christian “winner’s” care.
So, my suggestion is to cross off that winning of the lottery on your grocery list of prayers.
“So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.” Then Joshua blessed him, and he gave Hebron to Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, for an inheritance. –Joshua 14:12-13
In these two verses we come across the name Caleb. Names have intrigued me as I came across them in reading Scripture. We have a grandson named Caleb. The Hebrew word means bold. It also incorporates the meaning of impulsive. I am happy to report that our grandson is aptly bold, but not so much impulsive (literally the Hebrew would say impetuous).
There are several things we can learn from the name Caleb. I happen to have a 17-volume set of books by Herbert Lockyer (the All series). The set has always been useful for me. Notice that Caleb’s father is noted, Jephunneh. It is not so that we can practice saying odd names, but to identify this Caleb apart from others named Caleb.
Some things you want to know about Caleb:
- He was not fearful of formidable work. God would help him. He was one of the 12 spies that went into Canaan. All 12 spies agreed that the land was flowing with milk and honey.
Both Caleb and Joshua had courageous faith. With God as sure help, they could conquer Canaan. How are you doing with your faith?
- He preserved his integrity. He experienced the outcomes of others’ sin; he held to the values God had taught him.
The other 10 were not courageous, nor did they have a faith like Caleb and Joshua. God expected His people to follow Him; to trust in Him. The Israelites had wandered for nearly 40 years. None that whined or would not follow after God entered the promised land. Even Moses was prevented to enter the land.
Both Caleb and Joshua entered the land. What holds you back from following after God?
- He followed in the shadow of another leader. One of the main functions of a leader is to develop following leaders. Both Caleb and Joshua learned what God expected.
How do you respond when selection gets down to two? And the other person gets the assignment? Joshua was chosen to lead. Caleb followed in his shadow. He honored his commitment to the Lord; he respected God through being the servant God expected.
Every person is the leader of someone. How are you doing with your leadership? Are you learning under God’s chosen leader, or are you whining over in the corner?
- Like Paul, Caleb kept running the race. He was in for the long-haul. Caleb continues to move forward.
For nearly 40 years Caleb was dependable in the Lord’s sight. He was obedient. He worshiped the Almighty God. The reward for doing the work God assigns is more work. Read the parable of the talents—Matthew 25:14-28. Work is not the struggle; the struggle is obedience.
The Scriptures are not designed for us to pick and choose which would fit best with what we want to do. Too many participate in that game. The Scriptures are designed to testify of our Great God. When you find that verse that agrees with what you want to do, do not stop. Read the context. Ask God, the holy Spirit to show you how to apply the truths of God’s Word.
He is so full of love, grace, and mercy that it surrounds what He teaches.
Do not miss it!