Can we be honest with each other? And ourselves?
Have you ever felt let down by God, like He did not hold up His end of the bargain?
Admission may be necessary.
I think in our heart of hearts, we can admit that there have been times when we were caught off guard by what God did or didn’t do.
You know those moments- when somewhere in the back of your mind, “A+B” is supposed to equal “C”… but it DOESN’T? This moment comes to my mind as I begin my year reading through the gospels chronologically, seeking to focus more intently on Jesus. I am in Luke 1:5-7,
In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.
BUT they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. But… that little word with such significance. And it happened to Zechariah and Elizabeth, even though they were righteous and blameless! Back in those days, infertility had a tremendous stigma.
After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” Luke 1:24-25
I wonder if Zechariah wondered if he was being “good enough” in his priestly duties.
Or maybe deep down, he thought he had some sin issues that needing dealing with. Maybe Elizabeth reasoned she just needed to do better as a wife, or as a friend, or member of the community? Did they feel punished for not doing better?
The Word does affirm they were upright and blameless! Yet, would this make them feel that their obedience warranted a specific return on their investment? This forces me to come to terms with the fact that everything and everyone can be “right”, and still something else be woefully wrong.
I want to meditate upon this because I have fallen into this faulty perspective without consciously realizing it. It’s like it happens in the deep recesses of our minds. We somehow come to the misguided conclusion that if we do what God wants, we will get what WE want.
Agreements with God may be made.
We enter into an unspoken agreement with God- a bargain. We somehow come to the misguided conclusion that if we do what God wants, we will get what WE want.
But the trouble is, God never agreed to this bargain. He DID enter into a covenant, which is far better, but that is not the same as the bargain we are thinking of. In the Old Testament, God agreed on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19-20) to be their God, choosing them to be His treasured possession, and the people agreed to follow and obey Him. God never agreed to grant them their EVERY desire. He didn’t promise them every dream would come true, or that they would have no more struggles or disappointments.
In the same way in the New Testament, a new covenant was established through the blood of Jesus Christ. Luke 22:20 describes this new covenant making the old one obsolete. Hebrews 9:15 says,
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
The promises God made to us as He offered up His Son on our behalf concerns our sin, the debt being paid with the forgiveness given, and the wonderful opportunity for a relationship we now have as believers in Jesus Christ. We will one day spend eternity in heaven, reaping untold benefits as we worship and know the Lord fully.
But down here on earth, faith is never tied to ALL things easy, with NOTHING left that may be difficult or challenging. He did not promise to grant every prospect, every desire. It was never the plan for God to send His Son to become our Santa.
A new perspective may be needed.
The relationship God offers us through Jesus Christ is beyond our human hope or understanding. There are unfathomable riches of grace that are available to us that He fully intends for us to abundantly enjoy. Love, joy, peace, and strength in Him are just a few.
What God promises, what He agrees to hold up as His end, is far greater than temporal wants and desires. What the Bible teaches us is that He is the greatest desire! Our greatest reward! (Genesis 15:1, Revelation 22:12)
How often do we begin to value Him less and what He can do for us more? Why do we allow our lack of something or someone diminishes our fervor for Him? After all He has done, all He has saved us from and for, should disappointment be allowed to enter into our hearts in regard to Him, distorting our perspective of how gracious a Father He actually is?
What I see happen in my own life, whenever I feel “owed,” is that I have diminished my God and exalted myself. Sin has skewed my perspective. I have lost sight of His grandeur and instead, made much of myself.
A great principle to remember.
What needs to be remembered IS what I am owed. But it isn’t what I’m wanting, it is what I deserve! I am owed my own sin debt to pay before a Holy, Righteous God! I am owed eternal separation from Him.
But what have I received in place of that? Utter, complete redemption!
When I feel “cheated,” I actually AM being cheated. But it isn’t by God–it’s by my own hand. I am seeking to settle for a cheap “bargain” deal when I actually have the better covenantal agreement in front of me.
So when I think the equation isn’t adding up just right, as in “A+B=C”, I will remember that God has more than held up His end. He has held up my end as well. With the precious blood of His only Son, He redeemed me. And that my friends, is far more than I EVER bargained for!