Monday 11 February 2019
Bargaining with the Divine
Memorise: “And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.”- Genesis 28:22
Read: 1 Samuel 1:9-11 (KJV)9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.11 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.
Our heavenly Father is so gracious to us that even though He is omnipotent, He still allows us to bargain with Him when the need arises. Agreements between God and mankind can be broadly classified under three categories: covenants, vows and oaths. Covenants are solemn agreements or promises which are confirmed by sacrifice or the sharing of a meal as a token of the commitment of both parties to uphold the articles of the covenant they have made. An example of this is the covenant between Jesus Christ and His Church which we invoke through the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-27). Speaking on covenants, the Holy Spirit says in Psalm 50:5: “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
On the other hand, vows are pledges made to God as part of an appeal for something of great importance. It can also be viewed as a promise to God to do something, with the implication that failure to perform what is promised will result in divine sanctions. The fulfillment of vows is conditioned on the granting of a request. Thirdly, an oath is a binding promise with the invocation of repercussions for failing to fulfill the promise made. The curse or negative consequence will be carried out if the oath is broken.
The Bible does not place any requirement or compulsion on any Christian to enter into a covenant, make a vow or pronounce an oath. They are all voluntary obligations, but once entered into; they are binding and must be kept. Covenants, vows and oaths are often used to measure our seriousness and emphasise our commitment to receive something important from God. In Genesis 28:20-22, Jacob bargained with God and his request was granted. In Judges 11:30-31, Jephthah made a vow unto the Lord and he received immediate answer to his request. Hannah made a vow to God when she needed a child and God granted her request in a way that put a new song in her mouth (1 Samuel 1:11). Also, Israel as a nation made a vow in Numbers 21:2for the Lord to grant them victory over their enemy, and God granted their request. At different times and for diverse reasons, Abraham, David , Solomon, Paul and others proved the efficacy of bargaining with God, and none of them was by any means disappointed. Entering into an agreement with God in order to resolve a difficult issue or in order to get God to move in your favor is highly recommended, but you must not fail to fulfill your promise to Him.