Oct 12, 2009, 6:55 AM
Scared stiff to make demands on God? Who wouldn’t? Well, you never dared to try after all. Whilst it may seem like a tall order, God is very accommodating. But you say we are talking about God the Almighty! Indeed, he is God, the Creator; but come to think of it, it’s not like you will be attempting to twist his arms or to get him to bend, to embark on something contrary to his divine principles. That would be a ‘no go’ area! It’s rather a question of being in desperate need and making claims on the only wise God to intervene.
We make demands on God when we pray for something and he provides it. Hannah, prophet Samuel’s mother, was barren and in desperate need of a child. Year after year, when they went on pilgrimage to Shiloh she would offer prayers to God. Once “In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. And she made a vow saying, ‘O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” (1 Samuel 1:10-11)
Hannah had prayed so hard to the point that the high priest wrongfully branded her a drunk. “Not so, my Lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring my soul out to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:15) Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son she named Samuel, which means, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him.’ “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” (verse 27)
Hannah never relented. The Bible teaches us to always pray and not give up; (Luke 18:1) to pray continually. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Hannah obtained the desired results. In other words, she found favour with God after making constant annual appeals to God. Having our demands met by God can be only a persistent prayer away. The acronym P.U.S.H (Pray Until Something Happens) is a recommended guide for effective prayer. It is not sufficient to pray once and turn our backs or fold our hands. Let us keep at it! Ask, Seek and Knock (ASK)!
Jacob stopped at nothing; he went a stage further than Hannah with his demands. He wrestled with God all night and refused to relent at the break of dawn, “unless you bless me.” Jacob would not let his adversary go free; not without receiving a blessing. In blessing him Jacob was elevated to become Ephraim, meaning Israel. His twelve sons established the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob’s demand on God paid off. God stated; “Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel, because you have struggled with God and men and have overcome.” (Genesis 32:28)
“Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:17-18) The prophet Elijah ranks among one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament. He performed many miracles for which no one would doubt that he was a prophet from God. He also made demands on God without questioning the response. “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither rain in the next few years except at my word.” (1 Kings 17:1) That declaration brought about famine in the land.
The names of ordinary men like the prophet Elijah, propelled by their faith in the God in whom they believed, fill the pages of the Bible. Moses parted the Red Sea; David a youngster beheaded Goliath a giant; the prophet Elisha cured Naaman, a Syrian army general, of leprosy. How about Samuel and Joshua? Would we say they were dictating the course of events or they were challenging God to prove himself? Far from it! God honoured them as they put their faith on the line.
He could equally back our faith as well. We serve a mighty God for whom nothing is impossible. (Luke 1:37)