Making bargains with God
Updated: Apr 14
Over the past year I’ve encountered people who steadfastly refuse to become Christians because they had made a bargain with God and whilst they upheld their part of the bargain, God didn’t.
There are some people who made bargains (in contrast to pleas) with God throughout the Bible so let’s do a quick overview.
1. Jacob. Had a vision from God and responded saying that if God prospered him then he would give a tenth of his riches to God.
2. Jephthah. Offered God a burnt offering of whatever came out of his house if the Ammonites were beaten in battle.
3. Hanna. Offered to dedicate her son for life if she was given a child.
Are you noticing a pattern here?
a. Every one of these persons surrendered themselves to God. Even if God hadn’t answered their plea bargain, they would have continued to worship and honour His name.
b. Every one of these asked God to prosper them and from that they would give God something back.
c. All 3 had made solemn vows that had involved God being a signatory to the bargain.
As humans, we tend to want to reduce the God of the universe to our level and try and arrange some sort of payoff that we hope will be enticing to God. When we are desperate we can act like children and offer a bargain that we think the Divine will sign. The only thing is – God doesn’t sign any bargain with us. Rather, He tells us to ask directly!
“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?” (Matt. 7:7-11 MSG).
We have a good Father who only wants the best for us. When you trust Him, He will make your paths straight but we cannot put conditions on anything that we submit to Him. He loves us unconditionally and expects us to love Him in return, unconditionally. That means, no bargains!