February 1, 2012

Snipers With Bad Aim

Have you ever watched an action movie where the main character is being chased by a group of assassins or secret agents and while running through an open field or down an alley the highly trained group of individuals with machine guns can’t seem to land a single bullet? I love stories where the good guy comes out on top, but sometimes I want them just to get shot so the movie is more believable. Because such poor aim just doesn’t exist. Or does it?

In Judges 13 an angel of the Lord appears before Samson’s parents who were unable to have children and informs them they will soon be with child. The angel goes on to tell them that “the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines” Judges 13:5. For Samson’s parents this was great news! For one they were going to have a child. And secondly Israel was going to be delivered from the Philistines. There’s no doubt, such news would provoke a thankful response. So the problem here isn’t their response. It’s their aim.

In a moment when God should be the one receiving glory,  Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.” The angel of the LORD replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the LORD.) Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?” Judges 3:15-17

Consider how often we do this sort of thing. God chooses to do incredible things in our lives by blessing us in a myriad of ways. Yet when gratitude is expressed we have the aim of a blind sniper with a squirt gun. We shower others or ourselves with the credit, all the while the one who is responsible goes unnoticed and without appreciation.

I’m unsure of what God is doing in your life, but I do know scripture promises he is at work in the lives of those who trust in him (Romans 8:28). The question is, when moments call for gratitude will our appreciation be on target? Or will God go untouched like a Hollywood hero being chased by some dirty cops?