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When Push Comes to Shove

March 25th, 2013

“They were about to . . take Him by force to make Him king.” John 6:15 NKJV.

Jesus will not be King at the time or terms of anyone but His Father.

My thoughts and comments today discuss “times when push comes to shove.”

Has anyone pressured you to become what they want you to be? Have you tried pressuring someone? How did that work out for you? Not so well, I would imagine. Manipulation of another is rarely successful and never as satisfying as you hoped. Yet many people insist God be and do as they wish. How has that worked out for you? Not so well either, I would imagine. But people still try.

Chastening Israel for their idolatry, the prophet Isaiah describes the folly of a man cutting wood to warm himself, roast his meat, “and of the residue he makes a god . . falls down and worships it, prays to it, and says, ’Deliver me for you are my god.’” Isaiah 44:17. How foolish you say? Without success, people try to force God to be what they prefer or do what they insist. A god of your making is not much of a god. Idolatry is not always the inadequate representation of God in wood or stone; more commonly, idolatry can take the form of your demands and expectations of God, to suit your convenience or pleasure.

God made you, “in His image and likeness.” He will not allow you to make Him, “into your image and likeness” – a god subservient to demands, catering to whims, excusing faults, indulging sins, supplying wants, requiring little, and giving much. God will not be coerced nor obliged to you. At all times, He will remain true to His nature, character, wisdom, and purpose. There always seemed efforts to force Jesus to comply in ways contrary to the Father or Jesus’ own substitutionary purpose – such as the Tempter’s taunting in the wilderness, the criticism and plotting of religious leaders, the resistance of His disciples, or the mocking crowd at the cross, “If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross . . and we will believe.” See Matthew 27:40-44 NKJV.

Following Jesus’ miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fish, John reported, “When they had seen the sign that Jesus did, [they] said, ‘This is truly the Prophet [we have been expecting] (NLT).’  Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.” John 6:14-15 NKJV. Imagine; to fit their expectations, people would attempt “by force to make Him king.”

Manage your reaction when God or others do not promptly bend to your will. Earlier in Jesus’ ministry, some people in His home synagogue in Nazareth became so angry with His words that, “they took [Jesus] to the top of the hill on which their town was built. They meant to throw him over the cliff, but He walked through the middle of the crowd and went His way.” Read Luke 4:28-30 TEV. Most are not as violent; some just persist, plead, and pout to weary any opposition. God is too wise and loves too much to indulge your insistence.

Jesus will not be King at the time or terms of anyone but His Father, nor should you be swayed by the coercive manipulation of others. You cannot force God to act in the way you want or at the time you want, just because that’s what you want. See Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV. God’s ways are best, whatever pressure you are feeling at the moment. Be wary “when push comes to shove,” in your relationship with the Lord Jesus on your journey of faith.

My prayer for you this day is that you will let God be God and accept His timing as perfect.

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