Tuesday, July 07, 2015

You Can't Barter With God and You Can't Challenge Him or His Ways

An Enemy to Your Enemies
Exodus 23:22-23: “But if you will truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.  For My angel will go before you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will completely destroy them.”
Isn’t it amazing how whenever God asks us to do something for Him or about Him or with Him, He always promises to do more in return for us? You can check this out throughout Scripture and this is just one such case here in this chapter of Exodus. Here He says, “Obey the angel I send before you and I will do much for you, even more than “guard you on your travels; bring you to the place I have prepared for you; and pardon your transgressions” (all from vs. 20-21).
[Just as an aside, please note: God can do that with us for He has the right as Creator, but we can’t do that with Him.  We can’t barter with Him like He can with us. Live with it; that’s the way it is. Just as you can do that with your children, but heaven help them if they try to do it with you.]
But here’s the part I love if we do what God says, He will be “an enemy to our enemies”. Boy, are there ever days (like the one I had yesterday) when I need to know that. My God will fight my enemies for me. Again, notice that we are to “love our enemies” but that does not apply to God – He has the right to do whatever He wants to them when He wants to. That is so challenging and unacceptable to the liberal mind. Liberals want God to behave they way they think He should behave or at least the way He wants them (us) to behave. I say again, “Live with it.” This is a most difficult fact for a lot of Christians to grasp, let alone liberals. We keep asking, “Why? Why? Why?” and we apply that question to every aspect of life that we do not like or want to have happened. It could be my looks, my poverty, my disease, death in my family, loss of job, divorce, election outcomes, even rain when I wanted to have a picnic in the park or to have my child’s birthday party outside. Yet if we truly know God and Who He is, we would know that while as human beings we may have the right to ask that question (as we all do), we really have no right to expect an answer. And here’s the deal . . . Happy is the man or woman who learns that early in their life. And happier is the man or woman who accepts it.
Notice also that first God talks about being an “enemy to our enemies” and then He talks about being an “adversary to our adversaries”.  I wondered what the difference was, so I looked the two words up. Here’s what I generally discovered:
·      Enemy – a person (or nation) who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something or another nation (especially in time of war).
·      Adversary – one’s opponent in a contest, conflict, or dispute.
As I reflected on these two definitions, I thought how wonderful it is that God’s promises are so thorough.  First of all, the dictionary tells us that one can be one’s own worst enemy. Now that’s as if God is saying He will be an enemy to our own natural self (the one that wants to do wrong and to sin) if we let Him. Secondly, I realized that the word ‘enemy’ is more applicable to major antagonists in our lives or that of our family, town, country or world (enemies of war, disease, family breakdown, imprisonment, torture, etc.) whereas adversary applies more to the everyday type of challengers that we face (temperature, slow drivers in front of us, ridicule, etc.).  Each one of us can draw the enemy vs. adversary line wherever we want on the continuum.  That’s not the point. The point is that God will fight them all for us – big enemies and smaller adversarial opponents. It is also interesting that Satan (the Devil) is commonly referred to sometimes as the Enemy and sometimes as the Adversary. Which one are you fighting today?
This short passage (vs. 22 and 23) ends with God first listing every single one of the enemies or adversaries that the Israelites will face in their journey.  The lesson for us is simply this: this is not a one-time thing that He is promising the children of Israel.  It is therefore also meant for us to know that God can and will, if we want Him to, and if we let Him – defeat all our enemies and adversaries in our own personal journey through the desert of this life.
And secondly, God says He will “completely destroy them.”  And you thought only your children could do that on their video games. God alone can only do it for real. And that’s a promise I can claim if I’m prepared to turn each and every one of my enemies and adversaries over to Him. How about you?

Author's Note: A few hours after posting this blog, as I was reading another book, the thought came to me that there are several people out there that feel they can and have made deals with God.  The best example is the type of person that says, "If you save me from this calamity God, I will serve you forever" or something to that effect.  I perfectly understand how you feel, but I am not sure that is exactly what I was talking about above.  In the circumstances I was referring to -- God is giving us a choice.  In the circumstance of "save me and I'll serve you" -- you and I really have no choice.  There is nothing for us to walk away from.  We are desperate.  God still may or may not save us.  We only hear about the ones that were saved and made that promise; not the ones that weren't.  We don't say to God as He says to us or as we say to our children, "It's up to you; take it or leave it."  That was my point.

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