When God Lets Us Fail

Psalm 81:11-14

“But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.
If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways,
how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!

This is fascinating on many levels.  For one thing, he’s talking about the Nation of Israel.  So a relevant application to today might be to ask “is America being given over to our stubborn hearts to follow our own devices?”  Perhaps.  It is hard to see such a macro cause and effect without, …you know, being God.  But it is fuel for contemplation.

I also think you can apply it to individuals such as ourselves.  When we struggle with a sin (be it pride or selfishness or apathy or whatever) we push God away and go in our own direction.  We chose ourselves over God’s wisdom.  When we do this enough, I think he steps back and watches us from a step or two away.  He watches us struggle, he watches us stress out, and he watches us fall flat on our faces.  I can almost picture him shaking his head with a look of both sympathy and sadness on his face.

If only we would listen to his voice and follow daily after his guidance, we would be blessed.  This isn’t rocket science.  There’s no degree you need to know how to please God.  He makes this very simple.  Love God and love your neighbor by doing unto others as you would have them do to you.

Nobody but Jesus is perfect, but imagine how much better your life would be if you really did this every day.  But we don’t always do it every day.  Some days we push God away and later wonder why he feels distant.  Sometimes we are a “stiff necked people” and we have to bow the head in prayer to get the kinks out.

When we do follow his ways and submit our lives to him, God promises to “quickly” come to the rescue.  How great is that?


2 thoughts on “When God Lets Us Fail

  1. I have always wondered about God requiring submission. Why does he need people to submit? it is a huge part of the faith, but isn’t it also said that God helps those who help themselves?

    I like a lot about God, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of submission.

  2. Hey Tom, thanks for the question. Submission is definitely a hard concept.

    For one thing I don’t think the phrase “God helps those that help themselves” comes from the Bible. On the flipside, I don’t think the phrase “Let go, let God” is Biblical either. Basically our relationship with the Lord is more complex than a few catchy phrases can capture.

    In terms of submission, I think you have to consider some attributes of the individuals involved. For one thing, we know that we aren’t perfect. We make mistakes and sin. Next, consider that God is perfect and he loves us better than we could ever understand.

    This isn’t a matter of letting some tyrant god take over our lives and make us puppets for his pleasure. It is about letting God love us in ways that we might not even understand.

    You see, if we tried to earn God’s favor by trying to be “good enough” to earn Heaven, we would forever fall short. Heaven is for the perfect, like God. Since we aren’t perfect and never will be, we need someone to bridge the gap for us. Jesus.

    He doesn’t “need” us to submit. He wants us to and he calls us to do so. We are given the free will to live our lives how we chose, but if we want to enter the gates of Heaven, we need to submit in order to let Jesus perfect us in God’s eyes.

    That is how God can be the ultimate judge and the most loving at the same time.

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