Many people want God on their side. It’s normal to want God to give us good breaks. We want God to guide us and help us with our decision making (as long as He helps us do what we want).
We want to have God’s approval and leadership. During times of distress, we want to have God nearby to comfort us. When we fight battles, we want to claim God’s power in the fight. In times of sickness, we want divine intervention and healing.
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When people want to get married, it’s time to find the “minister.” Isn’t it? They want God’s blessing on their family. Parents want God’s favor on their newborn children. Most people want to go to Heaven when they die.
People want to get a lot from God, but they sometimes don’t want to give anything in return.
It’s human nature to want valuable things for free.
It’s fun to have God on your side when He’s convenient. We can call down fire from Heaven. We can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We can rise to levels of which we’ve never dreamed, all with God’s help.
During the other times, God isn’t so much fun.
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.Luke 9:23
Some people may not find that message appealing.
Apostle Paul understood this teaching. He testifies in Galatians chapter 2. verse 20.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…Galatians 2:20
Ordinarily, the flesh doesn’t like such a doctrine. Unregenerated people don’t want to choose between God and the world: They want both.
Jesus says you can’t have both.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.Matthew 6:24
James puts it this way in his epistle:
Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.James 4:4
Think about our society. People want God, but they also want the world and the flesh. They want:
- Miracles without faith.
- Receiving without giving.
- Power without accountability.
- Sex without marriage.
- Wealth without work.
- Knowledge without study.
- Wisdom without experience.
- Pleasure without pain.
- They want God, without righteousness.
- Heaven without salvation.
- They want Jesus, without a life change.
Today, I’m asking you, Do you want
A Convenient god?
Scripture gives us the account of King Ahab. He was a King of Israel who wanted God’s approval without giving God his life.
In fact, Ahab was evil. He served false gods. He didn’t care about God until he needed something.
Sometimes, I feel like Ahab. I’m down for a few miracles.
I want God to strike down my enemies and burn them with fire.
I want to enjoy supernatural guidance for my life, but I sometimes feel reluctant to pay the price. I suppose I could say that, sometimes, God’s way is inconvenient, at least according to the flesh.
Ahab wanted God, on-call, at his convenience. Most of the time, he wanted the world and the flesh.
In First Kings, chapter 21, verse 20, Ahab described Elijah the Prophet as his “enemy.” Ahab had no interest in obedience, holiness, separation, or repentance. Most of the time, he didn’t want God.
I think Ahab wanted to feel comfortable in his sin. I believe he wanted the best of both worlds.
Just one chapter later, in First Kings chapter 22, Ahab decided that he wanted God. You see, he wanted to form an alliance with Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah. Together, he wanted to go to war.
Here’s what the Bible says:
The king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.1 Kings 22:6
Ahab had, at his disposal, 400 prophets willing to, in God’s name, rubberstamp everything he wanted to do.
I want you to notice the existence of…
Not every prophet is of God.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.1 John 4:1
Before believing anything you see or hear, ask yourself, “Is it fake?“.
I want you to realize that many “religious” people have nothing to do with God.
I want you to develop discernment.
I want you to notice the danger of…
The government loves “religious communities” as long as those groups support the government.
In fact, the government will invoke religion to control people.
After Solomon’s death, when Israel broke into two kingdoms, King Jeroboam invented a new religion.
He did it to
(1 Kings 12:27-28).
He wanted to prevent his people from travelling to Jerusalem for to worship. At that time, Jerusalem was part of the “southern kingdom” known as Judah. The nation had split after King Solomon died.
In our era, communist governments, such as the ones in China and Canada, regulate churches, permitting them to operate only as agents of the state. Under the auspices of “God,” the government has its way.
Judging from how things are going here in the USA, our future will bring similar government overreach.
Many Americans follow…
…figures. So, if the government can get your pastor to endorse a vaccine, for example, they can accomplish more than telling the people directly.
Regardless, you must exercise caution when you hear a “minister” preach allegiance to the government.
Peter and the other apostles preached a different message, saying,
We ought to obey God rather than men.Acts 5:29
I also want you to beware of…
Majorities impress humans. We naturally crave connections and community. We can easily fear “outsider” status.
Jesus acknowledges the danger of the majority as He teaches His disciples:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.Matthew 7:13-14
I urge you to resist the temptation to pursue the easy way.
Finally, God wants you to recognize the…
Danger of defiance
The story of Ahab, Jehoshaphat, and the 400 government-approved prophets has not yet ended.
Unanimously, the prophets approved Ahab’s plan to go to war.
Interestingly, in response, Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, was unimpressed.
Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?1 Kings 22:7
Ahab responded by introducing a real prophet of God, saying
There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.1 Kings 22:8
Ahab was fine with receiving a message from the Lord as long as it was a convenient message. The word of the Lord was good, as long as it was what he wanted to hear.
Unfortunately for him, the Lord does not always go along with our plans.
This happened to Ahab.
After hearing the true word of the Lord, the two kings, Ahab and Jehoshaphat, set up a hearing. They met in the gate of Samaria with the 400 prophets who spoke God’s blessing over the alliance. They promised victory in the war.
In this public setting, the kings and the prophet demanded Micaiah’s cooperation.
Said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.1 Kings 22:14
The prophet had a negative message for Ahab. He prophesied defeat. In response, Ahab put Micaiah in jail. He ignored the prophecy. He went to war.
Syria defeated Israel and Judah on the battlefield. An arrow hit King Ahab, causing him to die. His defiance cost him his life.
I want you to…
by pursuing an honest relationship with God.
The Bible says
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.Proverbs 3:5
Make a commitment to God. Obey His word.
Don’t be tempted by convenience.
Jesus calls you saying,
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Matthew 11:29-30
Serving God puts a yolk on you. It might sometimes seem inconvenient or undesirable.
But, if you can get past the flesh and a carnal mind, you will realize that serving God is easy. It’s the best choice.
Finally, I exhort you to obey God. In the words of the Prophet Samuel,
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.1 Samuel 15:22
Also, Psalms 37:5:
Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.Psalms 37:5
Don’t seek God at your convenience. Instead, allow Him to control your life.
Get closer to God
Learn more about God and The Way with the following Bible messages by Bruce Tyson: