False teachers say that God has promised to give health and riches to Christians. They teach that God expects us to demand that he fulfill these promises.
But read the Bible carefully. Never can a human being tell God what to do, how to do it, or when to do it.
Ahaziah, king of Israel, lay sick on his bed. He sent messengers to find the prophet Elijah. God had said the prophets would guide the kings so they would know his will. Perhaps the king wanted to pressure Elijah to change his prophecy that he would die from his wounds.
The king sent a captain with 50 men to Elijah. When the captain ordered the prophet to come down from the mountain where he was sitting, fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his men.
King Ahaziah sent another captain with 50 men to retrieve the prophet from his perch. The captain ordered Elijah, “O man of God, this is the king’s order: Come down quickly!” (2 Kings 1:11, NRSV). The same happened again: the fire of God destroyed the men.
The king sent a third captain with his fifty. This time, however, the official fell on his knees before Elijah and asked him, “O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight” (v. 13).
The angel of the Lord saw the humility of this captain. Instead of ordering Elijah in the king’s name, he asked for mercy. So the angel told Elijah to go with this third captain. But his prophecy that the king would die remained firm.
This episode shows that no one, not even a king, can manipulate God or his servants. No one can order God to act or bless or change his mind.
On the other hand, instead of requiring something of God, we must give attention to what God requires of us (see Micah 6:8).
Moses told the Israelites,
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13, ESV).
In the desert, the people of Israel were unhappy with the manna that God sent from heaven to feed them. They wanted more. “They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved” (Psalm 78:18). God knew it for what it was: rebellion (v. 17). He gave them what they insisted on having, and more: meat, and with it, death in the desert.
When Jesus came to the earth, the Jews demanded a miraculous sign from heaven (1 Corinthians 1:22). But our Lord gave them none, except to point to the sky and mention, from the Old Testament, the sign of Jonah (Matthew 16:1-4).
Jesus taught us to ask God in prayer, to persevere in our requests, but never demand anything of him. He taught humility, never arrogance. He gave us his own example of always submitting to the Father’s will.
We are but stewards, entrusted with the treasure of the gospel. God requires that we be trustworthy in that work (1 Corinthians 4:2). We cannot even demand to know from God about our creation.
“But you are a mere man. So who are you to talk back to God? Scripture says, ‘Can what is made say to the one who made it, “Why did you make me like this?”‘” (Romans 9:20, NIrV).
If we should not even question how God has made us, how can we order him to give us what we think we need?
Jesus never promised that God would make us rich or healthy. Those who demand that God do so incur his wrath.
Even if we ask humbly of God, we should be careful, for “[f]rom everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded” (Luke 12:48).
This article was written in a simple style of English and published in The Voice of Truth International.
The health and wealth “gospel” teaches on to demand things from God. The Bible says otherwise.
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