February 22, 2023 –
Often when we face a major life obstacle, personal sickness, loss of a loved one, or financial loss, we cry out to God. We experience foxhole religion. We want to bargain with God. If He does this for me, I will do that for Him.
There is a story in Scripture that delivers a sad example of “fox hole religion. “In the O.T. book of Judges, chapter 11, the Bible tells the story of Jephthah, who made a bargain with the Lord. The promise Jephthah made would come back to haunt him.
The elders of Gilead asked Jephthah, a kind of bandit chief, who was in exile from his family to return and be their ruler and lead the fight against the attacking Ammonites. When he prayed to God for power to defeat his enemy. He also offered to sacrifice the first thing he saw when he returned home. What he saw first was his daughter.
Another example in the Bible of an attempt to negotiate with God. The book of 1 Samuel 1:1-28 tells the story of Hannah’s attempt to bargain. Hannah promises that if God gives her a baby boy, she will give him to God’s service. When her son Samuel is born, and once she weans him, she takes him to Eli, the priest, to serve God in the temple.
Bargaining with God is an attempt to manipulate Him to get what you want. God, if You help me get through this problem, I will read my Bible daily. Or, more often.
We should never make what we do conditional on God doing what we think we want Him to do. Ask for God’s help without trying to make a deal with Him.