Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

August 19, 2007


Some folks never stop trying to tell God what to do


     Some folks have a bad habit.  They never learn to listen to God. All their lives they insist on telling God what to do. For whatever reason they just assume they are smarter than God.

         There are stories in the Bible about these folks. One such story is in the biblical book named Samuel or to be more specific, First Samuel.

         Samuel was a circuit judge who provided wise counsel for the Israelites nearly all his life. The people benefited from his skillful leadership for many years.

         But Samuel’s decision to appoint his sons as judges was a mistake, a big mistake. His sons refused to follow the spiritual example of their father. They used their authority for personal gain, accepting bribes and perverting justice.

         The people became restless, demanding that Samuel appoint them a king. They were              envious of other nations that had kings and felt that having a king would solve all their problems.

         So insistent were they in having a king that they refused to listen to Samuel’s warnings against demanding a king. Their attitude was not unlike our own sometimes. We want what we want, and we want it now! Never mind what God wants; we know better than God what we need.

         God let the Israelites have their way, instructing Samuel to give them a king, but not without warning them of the severe consequences they would face from the tyranny of a king. Samuel’s warnings fell on deaf ears. A new era thus began and Samuel became known as the last judge of Israel.

         The lesson in this story is significant. We can become too smart for our own britches. We can become so spiritual as to presume we know better than God what we need. It is then that our arrogance becomes like wax in our ears, causing us not to hear, much less heed, God’s warnings.

         So instead of worshiping God, we begin to worship our own minds. What we think becomes more important that what God says. To worship our own way of thinking becomes then the worst sort of idolatry.

         One example of this kind of idolatry is the muddled thinking of some people regarding the sexuality issues of our culture. Adultery becomes permissible because “my spouse no longer makes me happy.” Watching pornography is acceptable because “I am not harming anyone and no one will know because I do it secretly.” Having multiple sex partners is “my personal business.”  And the biggest absurdity of all: “If it feels good then I can do it because it is my life and nobody has the right to tell me what to do.”

         Ignored or forgotten is what God thinks about all this. The Bible, after all, is an ancient book with “commandments” that are obsolete. To think like this, as millions of us do, is to presume to be smarter than God. Clearly it is to worship the conclusions of one’s own mind rather than acknowledge the wisdom of God revealed in the holy scriptures.

         In his merciful patience God sometimes allows us to have what we want or to have our own way. Nonetheless, sober thinking should remind us that what is always best for us is what God wants for us.

         While we wallow in our own selfish ways, God waits, and waits. He waits while our perverted ideas are destroying families and ruining the lives of our children. He waits for us to stop worshiping our own ideas and come to grip with the truths he has given us. He longs for us to learn, before it is too late, that our needs will never be fully met until we accept his way of thinking and make it our own.

         Trying to tell God what to do is a bad habit that our hurting, broken society needs to give up. If only we could learn that Father knows best. + + + +