Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Phone Booth Solution

Does God Change as a Result of Our Prayers?
Part 6: The Phone Booth Solution
Genesis 18 -19:27, Jonah

            In the dark, a man was outside a phone booth trying to see the phone numbers in a phone book by pulling the phone book outside the booth to see the book in a street light.  Someone walked by and suggested that he enter the phone booth and close the door to see.  You see, old time phone booths had lights inside that only came on when you closed the door.   We are frequently that way.  We look for results every other way but the obvious one, going to God alone in prayer.  If we just enter into His presence the light to solve the problem, or understand the purpose of God in a current situation, could become obvious.

             We really don’t change God as a result of our prayers.  Instead we learn to 1) understand his will, 2) merge our will with His, 3) become more grateful for everything he does, 4) grow in fellowship with Him, and 5) become active participants in what He has going on already.

            In Genesis 18 Abraham argued with God about his threatened destruction of Sodom and Gamorrah (v20).  Like many of us bargaining with God we don’t see His righteous justice, or His long-term purpose.  Abraham bargained with God to save a city with thousands of residents. He told God He certainly would not destroy the righteous with the unrighteous if there were 50 righteous.  God agreed (v 23-26). Realizing there might not be that many, Abraham reduced his number to 45 (V.28); 40? (V. 29); 30? (V. 30), 20? (V. 31), 10 (verses 32-33).  When Abraham’s brother’s family was all that could be identified, the place was consumed by fire (Gen. 19:27-29).   Abraham’s understanding of where God’s heart was was adjusted by His prayers and observation of the circumstances.

Jonah did not want to go to Ninevah to preach repentance to an evil nation (1:1-3).  In fact, he ran the other way (v3). He was in communication with God but he did not like the answers he was getting. In the end he did what God wanted Him to do (preach to the Ninevites) (3:1-5) and much to his chagrin they repented when they were promised a similar fate to that of Sodom and Gomorrah (3:6). His problem was that He was not on the same page with God about the lives of each person whether they were righteous or not.  God wanted each person to have a second chance, and Jonah was more concerned over a plant that sheltered him than he was the people who were threatened with God’s judgment (4:6-11). He needed a perspective adjustment, and His continued communication with God led Him to see the results of God’s mercy even if he didn’t agree with it.

Many times we need to spend time with God.  We need to get closer to what He thinks and where his priorities are.  If we do, our priorities will definitely change. We’ll see His judgments as righteous and His mercy as amazing, even though we don’t understand why His judgment is stayed or executed.  

Close the door of the phone booth, stop trying to see God from another light.  Get close to His light. Get alone with God, stay in touch with the creator and He will, adjust your priorities, and change your perspective so you can be used to fulfill part of His plan