From the old television program to a simple exchange between salesperson and customer, there is something exciting about making a deal. Bargaining for an item at an auction or sale may be as much fun as the actual purchase—except when it comes to seeking a “deal” with God.
The Old Testament has several examples of people wanting a deal with God. Hezekiah sought an extra 15 years of life from God. Gideon sought the fleece deal (fleece dry and ground covered with dew and vice versa) with God to prove that God would really save Israel against the enemy. But the problem with deal-making with God is that it shows a basic lack of faith in God, and the consequences can be tragic.
For example, in Judges 12:30-40, Jephthah made a deal for God to give the Ammonites into his hands. Jephthah said that when he came home from battle he would sacrifice whatever came out of the door of his house to meet him. We read then in verse 34, “When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child.” How devastating! He should have just trusted in God from the beginning.
We are tempted at times to make deals with God. “God, if you will just help me recover from this illness…” or “God, if you will just help through this problem…” then I’ll be faithful and really dedicate my life to you. We should simply realize that God is already there to help us and sustain us—God has given us his assurances that he will be with us if we will follow him.
One of the reasons the story in Genesis 22 of Abraham’s willingness to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice is so inspiring is that he did not try to make a deal with God to spare his son’s life. He simply arose early in the morning to carry out God’s command.
Deal-making should be left to the tangible insignificant material things of life, not those circumstances that have eternal implications for the soul.