Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bargaining with God

One of my favourite movies of all time is Ladyhawke which was made in 1985. In the opening scene Phillipe Gaston (played by Matthew Broderick) is attempting to escape the dungeons of Aquila. He makes a bargain with God. If God rescues him, then he swears to never pick another pocket as long as he lives. God does get him out and the first thing that Phillipe does with his freedom is to pick another pocket. He says to God, “I know I promised, Lord, never again. But I also know, that you know, what a weak-willed person I am.”

The audience generally laughs at this point. We’ve all been there. We make a bargain with God and try to coax him into giving us the things we want. Then we don’t fulfil our end of the deal.

A small village in Bavaria, Germany, struck a bargain with God in 1633. The village of Oberammergau vowed to put on a play about Jesus every 10 years if God rid them of the plague. They have kept their promise for almost 400 years now. Their faith and dedication can be commended. But does this make it ok then to make a bargain with God?

I say no. God can’t be bargained with. We can’t flatter Him into anything. We can’t influence Him. We can’t make compromises with Him. We can’t buy God’s favour with good deeds or right behaviour. And we can’t earn a place in God’s household.

Honour God. Thank Him. Rejoice in His name. Trust His guidance. Do the best that you can every moment of your life. But don’t try to bargain with Him. God is so much greater than that.

What might be the things that lead you to attempt to make bargains with God?


Rose said...

Lynda, this is powerful. So many people in a crisis start trying to make deals with God. A loved one is dying, they are dying, or whatever crisis is upon them and they think God makes deals as if he were Monty Hall.
All we really need to do is obey and in doing so bring honor and glory to HIS name!

arlee bird said...

This is so true. We should pray earnestly, but making deals is lowly.
Probably bargaining about illness is common. Or maybe money and finances.

Tossing It Out

Lynda Young said...

Rose, even I've been guilty of trying to make deals with God. But, you are right: all we need to do is obey and in doing so bring honor and glory to HIS name! Hugs.

Lee, yes, when we want things so bad but fail to trust God will provide, that's when we try to make bargains. Thanks for stopping by :)

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

I love this inspirational post, Lynda!
And yes, God can't be bargained with.
B xx

Lynda Young said...

Thanks Betty. Blessings to you too :)

Karen said...

I loved this, Lynda...having played the bargain game in my younger years, I am so thankful that God proves Himself time and time again...that if we just pray...Thy will be done...and step back and allow the Lord to show His love and mercy...we can have peace in in the outcome....

I love Ladyhawke, too...haven't seen it in a long time....

Deborah Ann said...

That movie sounds hilarious! I agree wholeheartedly with you, we can't cajole God into doing something for us. He responds out of mercy, not manipulation.

Great post, sis!

Sandy said...

I remember feeling so down a while
back because it was taking so very
long to get a desperate prayer
answered. I was questioning the
Lord about it and He said, softly
as always, "It's all about mercy."
And I knew in my heart that was
right. I had been trying to get
Him to answer with the "I'll do
this and that," when He just
wanted me to know it's all about
His love and mercy for me.

Aliene said...

No, God is not in the bargaining business. I'm so glad we can love Him, Honor Him and praise His Wonderful Name. The devil is the one who bargains for souls. Makes things in the world look so glamourous so young people will run to his party. But all our savio does is mercy and love.

Faith Imagined said...

God is so much greater than a bargain! He loves us regardless of our flaws!!! Awesome post!

Lynda Young said...

Karen, yes...it's God's will that matters, not ours.

Deborah Ann, half that time we don't even think of it as manipulation, but it is. Thanks

Sandy, wow, thank you for that beautiful comment. That's so true: It's about His love and mercy.

Aliene, I'm so glad we can honour & praise Him too.

Alisa, Yes indeed! He loves us regardless of our flaws! Amen to that!!

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I've been to Oberammergau and know about the passion play but had never heard this background.

I have only twice done it, both in the same breath, and God made me keep my part of the deal. It was during my conversion period, two weeks when I was pretty tightly gripped by a Cosmic Nutcracker -- I supposed that was God or the Holy Spirit. I bargained two things: if God would find a job for a person I had been trying to place in a job for six months unsuccessfully, I would believe He existed, and if He would heal one of my employees who had been absent from work 60% of the time from a medical problem also for the past six months, then I would go to church every week. Well, that was on the way to work, and when I arrived, there was a request to employ the job-less person. At that point, I decided I didn't want to deal with the rest of the promise and told God that I would keep my promise to go to church immediately and trust Him to heal the employee. The ending of it was that I walked up to the church that weekend but hesitated to enter because I was late and everyone was already in place -- God nearly pushed me in physically by having a family come by and hold the door open for me until I entered. As for the sick employee? Never sick another day! (Probably has no idea why.) As for me, I don't dare miss a week of church. After all, I promised. So, I have visited many churches all over the world, given a traveling job. And I have never bargained with God again. I just trust Him to look out for my best interests, whatever He thinks that they may be, and in whatever happens to me, I can find a reason for gratitude.

Lynda Young said...

Elizabeth, what an amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing it! I love that you didn't wait for Him to prove Himself again, but instead simply trusted Him to heal the employee. Faith is a powerful thing. God's love is even more powerful.

Lorena G. Sims said...

Oh gosh! I was guilty of this but I realized that God has a plan for me and that he puts me in the right place at the right time. When I was young, I had a taekwondo tournament and I asked God to let me win and I would do this and that for him... I didn't win and at first I was mad but later on I was happy because there was something I could have not done if I won that tournament.
Our God is great God.

DORCAS said...

So so true! WOW! I will need to read this again. Thanks ~blessings


Lynda Young said...

Lorena, your story is a great example to remember. God really is in control and knows what is best for us. We only need to trust that.

Dorcas, blessings to you too :)

Cristi said...

God has the ultiment plan. Yes, once in awhile I have been guilty of try to bargin with God. But then I remember his plan is best and all I can do is surrender it over to Him. Thank you for the reminder!

Lynda Young said...

Cristi, yes, surrendering to God, giving Him everything and trusting His plan.