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When God Shows Up

Click here to read 2 Kings 1 on BibleGateway.com

“This is what the Lord says: Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub?” 2 Kings 1:16

imagesOnce upon a time, there was a somewhat innocent 7th grader, who had a younger brother around the age of 4.  This younger whelp found a lifejacket lying around the house one day, and – mistaking the lifejacket for a kevlar vest – dared his older, wiser, and stronger brother to punch him in the chest.  The older sibling obliged, giving him a gentle jab.  “No, hit me for real,” demanded the youngster.  Summoning all the jerkishness that resides in the heart of a middle-schooler, the 7th grader unleashed a falcon-punch directly center-mass.  After he managed to start breathing again, the youngster ran off to inform a parental unit, and that jerkish mocking sibling grew up to be a bitter, cynical man who wrote devotional blogs.

You have to be careful what you ask for. A common complaint about God is that he never “shows up” when we want him to.  The problem is, do we really realize what we’re asking? Do we really want the most awesome, powerful being in the universe to show up on our doorstep? A being whose holiness is fatal?  That seems like a pretty short-sighted wish for us fragile morons.

MESSENGER BRULE

Look at our reading today – In 2 Kings, King Ahaziah is dying (because he fell out a window? majestic. ), and sends his messengers to an idol (doh!) for advice, rather than ask God.  Apparently, Ahaziah didn’t believe that God was real enough to consult.  When his messengers inform him that Elijah said he’s going to die, Ahaziah sends them to take custody of Elijah.

Attempt 1 – 50 men consumed by heavenly fire.
Attempt 2 – 50 more men consumed by heavenly fire.
Attempt 3 – 50 more men beg Elijah to stop barbecuing soldiers.

Do you think Ahaziah believed God was real by that point? It certainly seems like the soldiers did.

Too often, we think we know what we want.  We want God to heal this person, to provide this resource, removed that person from our lives.  You’ve probably thought and hear other people say “If God just showed up (that is, in the way and timing we want him to), then everyone would believe in Him.”  Is that really the case?  God showed up and gave a message to Ahaziah, and he still wasn’t believing after 2 miraculous events.   Do you think people would be happy if God showed up and people died? Or would we just be mad at him?

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR

The truth is, we don’t want God to show up; we want God to obey us.  We want to be able to “pray,” by which we mean make our demands known, and have God grant them.  And when we’re done, we want Him to leave us alone to live our lives.

But that’s not what God wants.  God wants us; time with us, relationship with us.  You can’t have that if you just use God as a cosmic ATM.  We have to be willing to admit that if God is truly God, then it just might be possible that He knows more than us.  We have to accept that perhaps we don’t know exactly what our real needs are.  We have to trust God does what he does for our good.  And we have to believe that the transcendent Creator of the Cosmos might have the right to do as He wills.

Can you accept that?

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