Do you have the guts to bargain with God? I do not mean a simple plea for God to act on your behalf. I am talking about an aggressive interaction with God. What are the things in your life that cause you to move from casual to intense?
Have you ever been shocked by what someone said or did under pressure? I’m talking about those moments when your jaw is open and all you can think is, “I can’t believe they just said that!” Maybe these are the moments you pull out your phone to record because you are shocked by what you are witnessing.
I consider myself a fairly reserved person. Even when I am highly frustrated or upset you are unlikely to notice. Perhaps that is why I am so awe struck by 4 stories from the Old Testament. You see there are 4 stories that capture my heart and mind every time I read them. To me they stand out as different because they push beyond the normal parameters of reverent interactions with God. I read them and I think, “I can’t believe you just said/did that…”
Here are 4 stories of getting aggressive with God along with 4 ways to pursue Him today:
Moses helps preserve the people (Exodus 32) – the Hebrew people had sinned greatly to the point where God wanted to wipe them out. Moses stepped in to argue for saving the people. Interestingly God said he would destroy the people and build Moses into a great nation…Moses was not arguing to save his own skin; he was bold with God for the sake of the people under his leadership. He got aggressive with God and appealed to the glory of God, arguing that wiping out the Hebrews would cause other nations to question God’s intent for the exodus.
Abraham argues for mercy (Genesis 18) – the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were so overrun with sin that God wanted to destroy them and everyone in them. Abraham enters into this incredible bargaining moment with God, slowly convincing God to show mercy for at least a couple handfuls of righteous people that might exist within these cities of sin. Abraham appealed to God’s desire to show mercy and care to those who are seeking Him. This resulted in the rescuing of Abraham’s nephew and family.
Hezekiah begs for his life (2 Kings 20) – King Hezekiah of Judah was sick and on his deathbed, and actually received word from a prophet that he was in fact about to die. Holding nothing back, Hezekiah expressed great humility as he wept and begged to be saved. God responded to this humble plea and gave Hezekiah another 15 years of life.
Jacob wrestles with God (Genesis 32) – Jacob struggled to know himself. If you considered just the early portion of his life you could say his main identity was one of a deceiver. On the eve of a major life moment with his brother, Jacob finds himself alone with God. The scripture does not say he chatted with God, or that he prayed to God. It doesn’t even say he argued with God. Jacob got down and dirty and wrestled with God! He was so desperate for blessing, for a sense of identity and purpose that he actually wrestled with this physical manifestation of God.
I would suggest to you that these men did not simply survive their aggressive interaction with God; they flourished as a result of it. These stories were preserved for us in the Scriptures to remind us and encourage us that God wants us to chase hard after Him.