WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 1, 2022
TOPIC: GOD SOMETIMES DISAPPOINTS THE EXPECTATIONS OF HIS CHILDREN!
BY T. O. BANSO
“And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring disaster on all flesh,’ says the Lord, ‘but I will give your life to you [as your only reward and] as a prize of war wherever you go’” (Jeremiah 45:5 Amplified Bible)
You must have read or heard that God disappoints or frustrates the plans or expectations of the enemy of His people. Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends, said, “He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise” (Job 5:12 New King James Version).
But do you know that sometimes, God also disappoints the expectations of His children? God’s response to our prayers is not always what we expected. Sometimes God can give us immediately and exactly what we ask for. Sometimes He may ask us to wait and give us later exactly what we ask for or something close to it. At another time, He may say no to us and give us something entirely different, immediately or later. This is different from demonic opposition or delay.
Jesus said, “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:9-11 New King James Version)
From that passage, we can also ask: What man is there among you who, if his child asks for a serpent, will give it to him? Most good parents won’t do that, out of love for their children. Sometimes, our expectations or requests are like ignorantly asking for a stone or a serpent! Therefore, God, as a loving Father, will disappoint us by denying our requests.
God may also disappoint our expectations, out of love, when we ask amiss or our whole motives are wrong. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3 New King James Version). God’s thoughts towards us are of peace and not of evil, to give us a future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
Baruch was the secretary or scribe of the prophet Jeremiah. He was the son of Neriah of the tribe of Judah. Jeremiah employed Baruch to write his prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and the captivity, which he dictated to him. Baruch also read the prophecies publicly on a day fasting was held and after this, read them to the officials of the king’s court in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah.
One of the king’s officers, Jehudi, thereafter read the prophecies to the king. But as he read three or four columns of the scroll of Jeremiah’s prophecies to the king, the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Baruch wrote the former prophecies again with some additions as instructed by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36).
Baruch, a faithful secretary, shared in the suffering of Jeremiah as they both were later imprisoned and forced to go to Egypt with the rebellious Jews who disregarded Jeremiah’s warning.
But before God’s judgment on Jerusalem was executed, Baruch was overwhelmed with trouble and complained probably because of the work he was doing for Jeremiah. After Baruch had written down everything Jeremiah had dictated to him, he gave Baruch this prophecy: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: You said, ‘Woe is me now! For the LORD has added grief to my sorrow. I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest’” (Jeremiah 45:2-3 New King James Version).
The LORD said to Baruch that He would destroy Judah, which He had built, and uproot what He had planted. “And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring disaster on all flesh,’ says the Lord, ‘but I will give your life to you [as your only reward and] as a prize of war wherever you go’” (Jeremiah 45:5 Amplified Bible).
The New Living Translation puts it thus: “Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! But don’t be discouraged. I will bring great disaster upon all these people, but I will protect you wherever you go. I, the LORD, have spoken!” God’s agenda was, obviously, different from his.
The Bible does not tell us the great things Baruch was seeking for himself at a time when Jeremiah had prophesied the invasion and destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. But he had some positive expectations for himself when God said of Jerusalem, “Behold, what I have built I will break down, and what I have planted I will pluck up, that is, this whole land” (Jeremiah 45:4 New King James Version).
Whatever the great things Baruch sought for himself, God didn’t urge him to continue to seek them because he was Jeremiah’s secretary and they were together doing His work. Rather, He told him to stop it. If he had thought his expectations in the crisis period would be met or granted by God, he must have been shocked.
Baruch’s complaint was not peculiar to him. Jeremiah had also complained in Jeremiah 12:1-5; 15:10-18, asking God questions and expressing his dejection. Many of God’s children today do the same when their expectations are not being met.
But let’s go back to Baruch’s case. God responded that he should forget about his expectations – the great things he was seeking – because He would bring disaster on the people of Jerusalem. But He assured him that the only reward He would give him was his life. He would protect him wherever he went. After the rebellious Jew forced him and Jeremiah to go to Egypt with them, following the fall of Jerusalem, the Bible does not tell us his end.
Many of God’s children are seeking great things for themselves on the earth. But sometimes God disappoints their expectations where they are not in line with His will for them. God’s thoughts for His children are good and not evil but they may not be what many of them expect. That’s where the problem lies. Such people may feel let down by God. But His will for each person is the best.
Many times we don’t know His will and, therefore, we fail to ask according to His will so that we may have answers to our requests. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15 New King James Version).
Because of the period that Jerusalem was in, God told Baruch not to seek great things for himself. Nevertheless, God rewarded him by sparing His life and protecting him wherever he went. He said in Isaiah 45:19b that He did not say to the seed of Jacob, “Seek Me in vain.” Be content with whatever God is gives you. It is the best for you.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 says, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:6-10 New King James Version).
God’s reward to Baruch was not the great things he sought but He rewarded him. Earlier, God had promised to reward Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, who had rescued the prophet Jeremiah from a dungeon (Jeremiah 38:7-13). Jeremiah told him his life would be spared when the Babylonians captured Jerusalem, similar to what God later told Baruch as you’ve read. “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for adversity and not for good, and they shall be performed in that day before you. But I will deliver you in that day,’ says the LORD, ‘and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 39:16-18 New King James Version).
We live in a fallen world. 1 Peter 2:11 describes Christians as sojourners and pilgrims on the earth. Also, Philippians 3:20 says our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Many Christians forget these and raise their expectations too high. And God sometimes disappoints our expectations because our thoughts are contrary to His plans.
He sometimes disappoints our expectations because we do not set our minds on things above but the things on the earth (Colossians 3:2). He disappoints our expectations because we are not faithful in the unrighteous mammon but ask Him to commit to our trust the true riches (Luke 16:11).
God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20). But He sometimes disappoints our expectations for good. Nevertheless, we can be confident that if we ask for anything in line with His will, He’ll listen to us and He’ll always give us what’s best for us at the right time.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, thank You for not granting my requests that are against Your good plans for my life. Holy Spirit, help me to have expectations that are consistent with God’s will for me. I will live as a sojourner and pilgrim on earth; I will live as a citizen of heaven eagerly waiting for the Saviour. I will not set my mind on the things on the earth but the things above.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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