SermonManipulating God Never Works
An all-creatures Bible Message

Manipulating God Never Works
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
17 June 2018
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

1 Samuel 15:20-35
Psalm 20:1-9

Manipulating God never works, because God isnít influenced by deceptive people; we need to comply with Godís heavenly will and not the corrupt and evil ways of this world.
 
Everyone should realize this, but most people still seem intent on trying to get God to accept their earthly ways, but God doesnít listen, except when He wants to teach them a lesson by allowing their own evil ways to come back upon their own heads.
 
In 1 Samuel 15:20-35, we can see some examples of why manipulating God never worksÖ

20. Then Saul said to Samuel, "I did obey the voice of the LORD, and went on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.

Saul said this, but in saying it, he is trying to get God to accept everything he did that wasnít in the heavenly will of the Lord.
 
Additionally, Saul tries to blame the people under his command for doing things that God didnít want them to do, even though he had the power to prevent it, but instead he allowed it to happen.

21. But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the LORD your God at Gilgal."

Note that Saul also refers to God as Samuelís God, and not our God, which shows Saulís lack of true faith.
 
He also seemed to be trying to manipulate Samuel as well as God, but as we can see next, it didnít work.

22. And Samuel said,
"Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
 
23. "For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He has also rejected you from being king."

Samuel is plainly telling Saul why his attempt at manipulating God never works, and because of it God is removing him from being king.
 
Saul was to set the example of living in Godís heavenly will here on earth, but he failed to do it; instead, he went along with the worldly ways of the people so that he would look better in their eyes.
 
Saulís selfish desire for the power of leadership and position was more important to him than following the desires of the Lord.

24. Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice.

We hope we can all see that his confession is insincere, because he is still trying to blame the people for his own ungodly acts.
 
Saul knew that the people were behind him as their leader, and if he had told the people that God didnít want them to do something and why, they would have listened, and because he didnít do this, he is showing his inability to be the leader that the Lord wanted him to be, so God is rejecting him as being king.

25. Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the LORD."

Saul still tried to manipulate Samuel into going along with his ungodly acts in order to save face before the people, but Samuel saw through his evil intent and rejected him and his worldly request, just as we should do when people ask us to do something that we know is against the heavenly will of God.

26. But Samuel said to Saul, "I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel."
 
27. And as Samuel turned to go, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore.
 
28. So Samuel said to him, "The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you.
 
29. And also the Glory of Israel [God] will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind."
 
30. Then he said, "I have sinned; but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and go back with me, that I may worship the LORD your God."

Again, we can see the insecurity and pridefulness of Saul, and his insincere repentance.
 
Manipulating God never works.

31. So Samuel went back following Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD.
 
32. Then Samuel said, "Bring me Agag, the king of the Amalekites." And Agag came to him cheerfully. And Agag said, "Surely the bitterness of death is past."
 
33. But Samuel said, "As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women." And Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the LORD at Gilgal.

I always question and wonder about these kinds of acts by Godís zealous followers; God could have just taken away his breath and he would have died just the same, and it would have been even more dramatic, for it would have shown the real power of God and not manís power.

34. Then Samuel went to Ramah, but Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of Saul.
 
35. And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death; for Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.
NASB

All of this wouldnít have happened if people would just learn to follow the heavenly will of God and become His peacemaking children here on earth as it is in heaven.
 
In Psalm 20:1-9, a psalm of David, we hope we can also see some of the subtle ways that he uses to try to manipulate God.

1. May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!
 
2. May He send you help from the sanctuary,
And support you from Zion!
 
3. May He remember all your meal offerings,
And find your burnt offering acceptable!
Selah.

Really think about what David wrote here: he wants God to remember all our non-violent offerings, but at the same time he wants God to accept the violent and bloody offerings of murdered animals.
 
Remember that all God wants and desires is our willing obedience.
 
Manipulating God never works.

4. May He grant you your heart's desire,
And fulfill all your counsel!

Think carefully about what David wrote: isnít most peoplesí heartís desire to live in the corrupt ways of this world, for thatís the way they live, and wouldnít their counsel likewise be worldly?
 
Of course it would, and that makes what he is asking for equally worldly, and what he is asking for is really an attempt at manipulating God.
 
And we hope we all realize that manipulating God never works.
 
We have heard people pray to God to bless the roasted remains of once living animals who wanted to live just as much as we do, but the selfish, greed, and gluttony in human beings prevents them from doing anything else, which in our opinion is no different than what David wrote.
 
It is not in the heavenly will of God.

5. We will sing for joy over your victory,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

Remember that God is a righteous peacemaker, so if our petition is about victory in war or about bringing this warring madness upon any other living beings, it cannot be in the heavenly will of God, and thus, we doubt that God would bless it.

6. Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven,
With the saving strength of His right hand.

Saul was anointed yet he still turned away from God, and because of this, God rejected him, so we know that this cannot be true in all cases, and from the way that people live in the world, we have serious doubts that God would honor this kind of petition.

7. Some boast in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.

This is the way we should all be.

8. They have bowed down and fallen;
But we have risen and stood upright.

Those who truly follow the heavenly will of God will rise, but those who donít are on the road to destruction.

9. Save, O LORD;
May the King answer us in the day we call.
NASB

This King is God.
 
And like David, our hope and prayer is that we would all be living in the heavenly will of God, and working to help free creation from its present corruption.
 
Then we believe that God will answer our call.
 
Amen.

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