Today’s reading: I Kings 19-20; John 2
28 And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’” I Kings 20:28
23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. John 2:23-25
A common two part error of many humans is to think they know God, but that God doesn’t know them. They attempt to use these false assumptions to their advantage, but it never works.
The Syrians under King Benhadad suffered a defeat by King Ahab and the army of Israel. Behadad’s advisers told him that the power of the God of Israel was limited to the hills and that He could do nothing if they fought Israel in the plains. God sent a prophet to tell Ahab that He would give them victory over Syria in the valleys to show His power. Although Israel’s army is described as “two little flocks of goats” and the Syrian invaders “filled the country,” God did give Israel the victory and King Benhadad was captured (I Kings 20:26, 29).
When Jesus came to Jerusalem, He demonstrated His authority by cleansing the temple. Perhaps the people had heard that He turned water to wine previously. They professed to believe in Him, but Jesus saw through them. They only believed superficially. They wanted signs. They would ask for bread and healing, but they did not truly commit themselves to Him. They saw Jesus as a source of power and provision, but not their Lord and Master.
It is futile to try to manipulate God for personal advantage. It is dangerous to defy Him, believing that He is in any way limited. He is God, omniscient and omnipotent. As Paul warned the church in Galatia: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
While it is true that, to those who believe in Him, He is loving and that He has given His Son as an offering for our sins, He calls us to submit ourselves joyfully and gratefully to Him, not to mock Him by disregarding His commands or neglecting our worship and service to Him. Flee foolish views of God. Serve Him.