Why Follow This God?
Satan wonders why anyone would choose to serve God. This is clear when we hear his thoughts about Job. “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face” (Job 1:9-11). In Satan’s mind, Job would only serve God if it was beneficial. Was Satan right? Clearly, he wasn’t about Job, but what about you and me? Will we serve God if there does not seem to be any benefit? Take the question further. Will we trust and obey God if we are being treated unfairly and if God seems to be unjust?
Sometimes God is difficult to accept. People today may blame Him for pain they go through. They may shout that life is unfair and God is not worth following. The challenge of accepting God for who He is and what He does is not a new one.
Imagine being Isaac (Gen. 22:1-14). How easy would it be for you to dedicate your life to serving and trusting God if, as a youth, you distinctly remember how God commanded your father to kill you. I doubt Isaac ever forgot what it was like to be lying on a wooden altar and looking up at the knife tightly gripped by his father. Would you follow a God who commanded such a thing? Would you be able to trust Him?
Imagine being Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn son (Gen. 21:9-19). He should have received a bountiful inheritance from Abraham, but he didn’t. God snatched Ishmael’s birthright from him and gave it to his brother. Worse, Abraham exiled Ishmael and his mother into an unforgiving wilderness with only some bread and a little water. They nearly died. What a deplorable thing for a father to do, right? It wasn’t Abraham’s idea though. God is the one who told him to do it. If you were Ishmael and you learned that God had approved of this action, would you still trust and obey God?
Abraham had six other sons besides Ishmael and Isaac (Gen. 25:1-10). These young men would essentially be disowned and sent far away from their family with only parting gifts. Their sin? They weren’t Isaac. God had picked Isaac for the blessings, not them. When Abraham died, these sons apparently did not come back to bury their father. Maybe you wouldn’t blame them for that. But wasn’t this all God’s plan? Isn’t He the one to blame? Imagine you were one of these sons of Abraham. Would you still trust and obey God?
There is a desperate and troubled mother in the New Testament who comes to Jesus for help regarding her cruelly demon-possessed daughter (Mt. 15:21-28). At first, Jesus refused to help, saying, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” This mother could have stormed off, insulted that she and her daughter had been compared to dogs. Why follow Jesus if He refused to help and also made such a demeaning comparison? Would you still follow Jesus if He did that to you?
Many people in the world are troubled by what God allows. They are troubled by what God commands. Some say that they will not follow a God who would send people to hell. Some won’t follow a God who has allowed there to be so much evil, so much pain, so much death in this world. For such individuals, Satan is right. They will only follow God if He makes it worth their while. They will only follow God if everything makes sense to them and if God meets with their approval. They have seated themselves as God’s judges. He, it seems, must answer to them.
The Bible does not describe a God that we will always understand or agree with. Nonetheless, the Bible has the audacity to call on all men to trust and obey God. Why would we do that?
- Because God is God. Your perception, opinions, and approval won’t change that. He created everything. He is eternal. He is all powerful. He is all-knowing. He doesn’t need your approval to be God. Job understood this. This is why Job stunned Satan and worshiped rather than rejecting God. “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away” (Job 1:21). Job didn’t understand and he certainly didn’t like what had happened to him. None of that changed who God was and therefore what God deserved. So, Job worshiped. “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
- Because you need God and your need doesn’t change if you stop understanding Him or accepting Him. Isaac’s life was endangered by God but also spared by Him. Ishmael nearly died in the wilderness because of God, but it was God who kept Him alive. It was God who blessed all of them. It was Jesus who ultimately healed that desperate mother’s daughter. Getting upset with God won’t change how much you need Him. The examples listed in this article were only partial examples. God saved Isaac and Ishmael’s lives. God blessed them both. The woman’s daughter was healed. All of that came from God. Their times of desperation only served as further proof that they needed God. We all need Him.
- Because you gain nothing by protesting His nature. Walking away from God and refusing to worship Him will not change who He is.
- Because everyone who does not follow God will regret it. Every knee will bow to Him (Rom. 14:11-12). Some will do so voluntarily and they will eventually be rewarded. Others will rebel against God and only by force will they come to acknowledge Him and worship. These will be punished for their rebellion (II Thes. 1:6-10).
You do not have to understand everything about God in order to trust Him. You do not need to agree with God in order to obey Him. I suspect that everyone of us will be tested in a similar fashion to Job—maybe not to the same degree, but we will have to answer the same basic question. Why do we serve God? Will we only serve Him as long as He makes our lives pleasant and filled with blessings? Or will we continue to serve God even when we do not agree with Him or like what He is doing?
Do not expect it to be easy to follow God. It wasn’t for others. Why should it be for you? But whatever you face, we must prove Satan wrong about us. We must serve God because He is God. Period.