Bargaining with God

By Luther Blackmon

“And Jacob vowed a vow saying, If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God; and this stone which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: And all that thou shall give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.”

This statement is found in the twenty-eighth chapter of Genesis, and it sort of sums up the character of Jacob. He was a shrewd bargainer. He practically cheated his brother out of his birthright and worked all sorts of chicanery on his father-in-law in the partnership they shared in the cattle business. It is no wonder that he would try to bargain with God.

But you know Jacob was not the last one to try this or to manifest such an attitude. We meet them all along the way. The modern version goes something like this: “Lord, IF you will give me a husband (or a wife) who will go to worship with me, and IF you will give me a job where I don’t have to work shift work, and IF you will perform a miracle and turn my small children into angels so that they will not drive me crazy with their squirming and fretting during the services, and IF you will give me perfect health, and IF you will give the elders sense enough to keep a preacher who will not preach long sermons nor criticize my short-comings, and IF you will keep my friends and relatives away from my house on Sunday mornings, and IF you will see that the weather is pretty on Sunday, and IF you will keep me in prosperity so that I may not have to trust you for too much, and IF you will not ask rile to take an active part in any of the work of the church, and IF the members of the church will stand ready to help me in time of trouble and will not expect me to do much in return, THEN will I come to the house of worship most every Sunday morning, but I don’t know about this giving of my earnings. I have to work for that money. However; when I get my house and car and deep-freeze and automatic shotgun and television set and a few things like that cleared, then will I think about it.

Truth Magazine XIX: 13, p. 203
February 6, 1975