Have you ever sought God with your whole heart, or have you simply given Him a feeble cry after some emotionally painful experience? I think most of us would say that we have at various times in our lives simply made God a feeble cry for help during some adversity that we are experiencing. What do we expect from God when we give him a halfhearted cry for help? When the cry is halfhearted are we acknowledging that God is sovereign?
When we take a look at Job’s adversity in the book of Job, we see in the opening lament that Job provides in Job 3:1-26. He does not directly address his friends or God as he does in some of his later dialogues. Job states in 3:1-8 that it would have been better if he had been stillborn. He states in 3:17 that the wicked are at rest why can’t he rest like the wicked? He states in 3:18-19 that slaves enjoy a release from captivity in the grave but he finds no relief at all. In 3:20-22 Job states his relief will come at death. And finally in 3:23 he asked why was I given life? Death does not come for Job. Job believes that God has hedged him in, when in fact God has removed a portion of the hedge that protected him. What are the purposes of Job’s laments? Are Job’s questions to God valid?
Job states that he will never see happiness again. From Job’s perspective death would be best for him. Job 7:7 “Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good.
Job equates life with misery and bitterness. Death and darkness in the grave are better than misery and trouble. Job’s question is a lament of a despairing person who believes death is better than his troubled existence.
Jesus said: Luke 11:9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. If you ask for things from life instead of from God, “you ask with the wrong motives”; that is, you ask out of your desire for self-fulfillment. The more you fulfill yourself the less you will seek God. “. . . seek, and you will find . . . .” Change your focus and interests in your life and your experiences. We must change our focus in order to ask for God’s help.
In Nehemiah 4 Sanballat heard that Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Sanballat became very angry and he began to ridicule the Jews. Saying if even a fox climbed up on the wall it would fall down. As the wall was nearing completion Sanballat and his companions plan to fight against the Jews and stir up trouble against them. Nehemiah 4:9 And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.
We must not allow ourselves to think that God’s sovereignty resolves us of our responsibility to live responsibly and prudent lives. We can become so confident in God’s sovereignty that we may forget to pray. Our confidence in God’s sovereignty is an encouragement to pray and not to become pious. In acts 4 we see Peter and John being threatened by the Jewish Sanhedrin. They were commanded not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. When Peter and John reported to the others they began to pray. Acts 4:24–29 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said ….. 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, God’s sovereignty was a reason and encouragement to pray. Because God was sovereign he was able to answer their prayers. They knew Christ had commanded them to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. Their prayed in confidence to the sovereign Lord that is able to clear away all obstacles. God’s sovereignty, and His wisdom and His love are the foundations of our trust in Him. Prayer assumes the sovereignty of God. If God is not sovereign He is not able to answer our prayers.
Our prayers express trust in God. He commands us to pray and expects obedience to His commandments. He will give but not without our asking.
Have you ever sought God with your whole heart, or have you simply given Him a feeble cry after some emotionally painful experience?