2/16/15 “Reacting to When God Says, ‘No’ ” (Daily Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 3-5)

“But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the Lord said to me: 'Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter’” (Deuteronomy 3:26).

How do you react when you feel God is saying, “No” to a particular prayer request you have made to Him? Does your faith in Him waver or do you become angry when He appears to say, “No” to your request; or, do you trust in faith that God knows what is best for you even when His answer is “No”?

As Moses recounted to the Israelites their history since they left Egyptian bondage and the various wilderness wanderings of their forefathers, he reminded them of the incident which he had committed and would keep him from entering the Promised Land. Following the Israelites once again complaining of no water to drink, God told Moses to SPEAK to the rock and the rock would bring forth water (Numbers 20:1-8). Instead, in his anger towards God’s people, Moses STRUCK the rock and, instead of glorifying God, he and his brother Aaron directed glory to themselves by saying to the people, “Hear now, you rebels! Must WE bring water for you out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10) God’s judgment on Moses for failing to give God glory in this matter was that Moses would not be allowed to lead God’s people to the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12).

God forgave Moses of this sin. God still loved Moses and appreciated his service to Him. However, Moses would still have to bear the consequences of his sin by not be allowed to lead God’s people into the Promised Land. Moses had difficulty accepting God’s answer regarding the consequences of his sin. Moses says he pleaded with God saying, “I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon” (Deuteronomy 3:25). In His response to Moses, God says, “Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter” (Deuteronomy 3:26).

Sometimes God says “No” in answer to our prayer request. For example, He told Paul that he would not remove the thorn in his flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-8). In His response to Paul the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My Strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). God even told his own Son Jesus, “No” in answer to Jesus’ request that the cup of suffering might pass from Him and that He would not have to experience the suffering of the cross (Matthew 26:36-46). God knew there was no way to save the world from sin without the death of His only Son to satisfy the justice of God (John 3:16).

Do you have difficulty in accepting when God apparently says, “No” to your prayer request? At times, I do. But I have to remember that God has His own reasons for saying, “No” to my prayer request. He may say “No” because what I am praying for may not be what is best for me. He may say, “No” to give me an opportunity to rely more on His grace and His strength. He may say, “No” to give me an opportunity to glorify Him by my life as a go through a particular trial.

I can either fight God when He says “No” to me, or I can embrace God’s answer of “No” to my prayer request by accepting and trusting that God’s reasons for saying “No” to me are far above my ability to comprehend. Part of living the life of faith in God is learning to accept His answer of “No”. I rejoice that God hears and answers my prayers even when His answer to my particular request is “No”. Today, I will strive to learn to accept when God says “No” to me. I am thankful that I serve a God who understands so much more than I do!

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).