Dealing with God
It sounds blasphemous right? But there are lots of examples in the bible of people who made deals with God. True, deals are generally made between equals or at least between people who have something (the other party wants) to bargain with. Ideally we have no chips with which to bargain with God. But this shows you how magnanimous God is. Once he gave us free will, He automatically gave us the chips with which we can bargain.
So on some level He has elevated us to be equal to himself. After all, he made us in his own image (“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: “, Genesis 1:26)
Sometimes the deals are initiated by God. At other times by men. Take Abraham for example. God said he needed to relocate to some foreign place and He (God) would bless him (Abraham). Well, that’s a deal right there. Abraham could have refused. He could have decided where he was at that time was the best place to be and not some unknown distant place where he would be among belligerent strangers. He could have exercised his free will contrary to the will of God for him. That wouldn’t have changed the end game: God would just have done the same thing through another individual.
Just to clarify our terms of reference, a deal is an agreement with terms and conditions usually involving an “exchange” of some sort (that’s without looking it up in the dictionary :-).
Fast forward to Lot? God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18). But then Abraham politely asked what would happen if he could find fifty righteous men in the city. God said (even though he knew the end already, He decided to humour him) he would spare both cities. Well did it end there? Nope. The gentleman went from that to forty-five to thirty to twenty to ten. If that’s not negotiating (with the purpose of striking a deal), I don’t know what it is!
Let’s skip forward a little to Samuel. His barren mum finally gave God a condition. “Give me a child and I will return him to you!”
(1 Samuel 1, 10-11: And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.”).
Now notice that she only asked for a child. But upon fulfilling her part of the bargain (the deal) God blessed her with other children. Because he knew despite the fact that she was finally able to live down the stigma associated with her barrenness, she would definitely want children who would grow up with her and who she can show around the community and not have to explain to all and sundry that she indeed had a child who was dedicated to serving God in the temple. So while you should count yourself lucky if a human party completely fulfills their end of a deal, one can see that God will go beyond the terms of the deal to do more and above what He needs to do within the terms of the deal if necessary to satisfy our yearnings especially if it’s in line with the grand design (which of course we are usually too involved in our immediate situations to fully comprehend – not that we are able to anyway – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55, 8-9).
Let’s skip forward a little, shall we? And we hit one of the greatest deal makers of all time: David. Not only did he get fulfillment of his desires from God in his life time, he managed to secure his lineage as kings forever. Yes, it’s true that God had this planned from the beginning of the world, but it didn’t necessarily have to be via David. He could have easily lost out various times. When Saul was after him, he could have renounced his claim to the throne for safety. When he took Uriah’s wife and had him killed (2 Samuel 11), and Samuel came to chastise him, he could have turned a deaf ear like many kings before and after him. Jesus Christ would still have come to redeem us, he just wouldn’t have come from David’s lineage.
What about Job? He could have cursed God at the height of his despair and died as his friends and wife advised. But he made a deal even if he didn’t think of it that way: he nether cursed God nor questioned him. The ending was that God decided to bless him with much more than he had before his trials and travails.
But we need not constrain ourselves to the Old Testament. What about more recent history a la the New Testament. We can start with that old chap that made a deal with God to live Long enough to see Jesus born. God stayed the hands of time on his behalf. I bet you he still had 20/20 vision when he held Jesus in the temple: all the better to see the child with!
And what about Jesus Christ himself? He could have sold out to the devil when the latter offered him all the riches of the earth (Matthew 4) or chickened out in the garden of gethsemane and saved himself from crucifixion (Mark 14).
So you see, humans such as you and yours truly have been striking deals with God since the beginning of time. So don’t be afraid to follow suit.
And having spoken (or written) thus, let me put my money where my mouth is by taking a shot at making a deal with God right now. Here goes:
There are a couple of things I need to discuss with you. I am going to do it sitting down on my bed with my eyes open. I am sure you don’t mind.
Number one, you see, there is this g…”