WHEN CAN WE ARGUE WITH GOD?
Not all arguing can be bad. We are even told that there are times we should "Contend for the faith." (Jude 3). We can argue, with love, for the truth of the Scriptures. Minor points, or personal convictions, should not be argued. Vigorous discussions can be stimulating.
Some have gotten the idea that we cannot argue with God. This is a mistaken idea, for it is not only permissible, but it is encouraged by God.
"And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none."
"O, that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor!"
"Remember that I stood before Thee to speak good for them, and to turn away Thy wrath from them."
God wants us to argue with Him for His mercy on those who have sinned. Jesus is our Intercessor, and we should be like Him. We should argue for our loved ones, our city, our church congregation, our nation, our leaders, and our world.
Arguing need not be hostile. Hostility is a strong emotion which usually results from a threat. Usually hostility causes outbursts of temper, shouting, aggressive behavior, and rage. A hostile person is difficult with which to get along. To argue with God, having hostile feelings, would be very foolish.
One can change the way in which God is about to move. God not only allows us to so argue, but we have often been encouraged to do so. God has bound Himself by His justice, to punish sinners for their rebellion. Sin must be judged. However, He does not want to judge, for He is "not willing that any should perish." Caught in the dilemma, God has designed a way to show mercy, to those who are worthy of judgment. The way designed is for an intercessor to stand in the gap of the hedge, and argue with God for mercy. He answers the prayer of the intercessor for mercy, and bestows the mercy on the sinner.
MOSES ARGUED WITH GOD
Numbers 14:13-20 "And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for Thou broughtest up this people in Thy might from among them And they will tell it to the inhabitants of the land: for they have heard that Thou Lord art among this people, that Thou Lord art seen face to face, and that Thy cloud standeth over them, and that Thou goest before them, by day in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if Thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard of the fame of Thee will speak, saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring up this people into the land... He hath slain them in the wilderness... I beseech Thee, let the power of the Lord be great... Pardon, I beseech Thee... And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word."
Israel had so provoked God, that God told Moses to stand aside, and watch Him wipe out the whole nation, and then from Moses raise up a great nation to take the promised land. Moses argued with God, and used the argument that the Egyptians would mock God's name, if He did it that way. Moses contended for mercy upon his people. God listened, and did not strike Moses dead also. No! Rather, God had mercy upon Israel, as Moses had argued.
ABRAHAM ARGUED WITH GOD
God revealed to Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. In fact, it was the pre-incarnate Christ Who came to explain the situation to Abraham.
Genesis 18:20-33, 19:15
"And the Lord (Jesus) said, Because of the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it... the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom; But Abraham stood yet before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou also destroy and not spare the place...? That be far from Thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked... Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?...And He said, Oh let not the Lord be angry and I will speak yet this once; Peradventure ten shall be found there. And He said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. And the Lord went His way... And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city."
Finally, the Lord did destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but in respect to the argument of Abraham, the Lord did spare Lot and His family. In fact, the Lord bound Himself to the intercession of Abraham so much, that Lot was told:
"Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything, till thou be come thither."
JOB ARGUED WITH GOD
"And his sons went and feasted in their houses... called for their sisters to eat and to drink with them... when the days of their feasting were gone... Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually."
Job had sons and daughters who were a bit wayward. He contended with God on a daily basis for their salvation. He offered sacrifices and argued with God for His mercy. In the next scene shown, God is asking the devil:
"...Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?"
First, Job argues with God. Then God calls Job "perfect." God not only allows mankind to argue with Him, but He likes it! We are supposed to argue with God for mercy upon our loved ones. In Ezekiel 22:30, we see God is seeking for "a man among them..." His search is often not a satisfactory one. Still today, many Christians have not learned to argue with the Lord. They have sometimes called for God to judge, and this is most un-Godlike. God does not want to judge, but He must, if He cannot find saints who will argue with Him for His mercy and blessings to replace His judgment.
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
STEPHEN ARGUED FOR MERCY ON HIS KILLERS
Stephen learned to intercede for the sins of others, even when the sins of the people were being directed directly against him. As he was being stoned, he prayed:
"Lord, lay not this sin to their charge."
Saul of Tarsus was saved as a result of the intercession of Stephen. He became Paul, apostle to the Gentiles.
PAUL ARGUED FOR MERCY ON THOSE WHO WRONGED HIM
He learned to be an intercessor, and argue for mercy for those who wronged him. Many had not wanted to accept Paul as a Christian. Even today we find many Christians shunned for various reasons. Some are shunned because of a past divorce, others for the nature of a past sin. Some are shunned because of their race, color, or financial status. Paul was hated by many because some Christians, even years later, could not forgive Paul for his part in the persecutions, and in the stoning of Stephen. Stephen had forgiven and interceded even as it happened, but some will never be intercessors because they refuse to forgive. Paul showed that he had learned from Stephen's example:
II Timothy 4:16
"At my first answer, no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge."
JESUS IS THE GREAT INTERCESSOR
What if Jesus had not prayed: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"? Would God have destroyed the Romans and their Jewish conspirators? What if we do not argue with God for our church congregation? our spiritual leaders? our unsaved loved ones?
Intercession is arguing with God. It is a pleading, or entreating in behalf of another. God's justice may call for judgment, but another may intercede and argue for God's mercy and longsuffering to replace God's wrath for a time. This mercy will not make them forgiven of their sins, but will delay the judgment so they have more time to personally ask God for forgiveness.
Jesus intercedes for us. He is at the right hand of the Father now, and He is asking God for mercy on His children who stray and fail, and are attacked by demonic forces. He is asking for more and more mercy and blessings to be given to the saints.
"He ever liveth to make intercession for us."
This is a fantastic thing that Jesus does for us. He is there in the very presence of God. He is pleading our cause, by reason of His sacrifice. He seeks to have God avert judgment upon us, for we are not perfect. Even while we yet intend to keep serving the Lord, our human frailties cause us to stumble, slip, and sin.
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life."
Jesus argues with God's justice, and because God hears, His mercy and longsuffering replace the justice we deserve. We are given time to repent, and time to realize our failures.
INTERCESSORS ARE NEEDED TODAY
The church needs intercessors. Intercessors are needed to argue with God so that wrath is turned away from the world, the country, the church, and our unsaved loved ones. Wrath is so very near in our day. The tribulation judgments loom on the horizon. The outpouring of the wrath of God is nearer than ever before, so we need intercessors as never before. Unfortunately, as it is stated in Ezekiel 22:30, so often the Lord finds "none." The scarcity of true intercessors is appalling.
Imagine if Moses had not interceded for Israel! Or what if Abraham had not interceded for Lot! What if there is no intercessor in your church? or your family? Many suffer and are judged by God's justice, when perhaps they could have had more mercy, more time to repent. But there was no intercessor!
Some have lost their arguments with God. When we argue for mercy, we will usually win. When we argue with God hoping to escape the job of intercession and ministry, we will lose. Moses, at one time, argued with God about his commission. (Exodus 4, 5, 6) He argued:
"Who am I?" (He was claiming a lack of capability to do the job God as giving him.)
"What shall I say?" (He was claiming to not have a message for the people.)
"They will not believe..." (He was claiming a lack of authority and acceptance.)
"I am not eloquent..." (He was claiming a lack of eloquence to make the message appealing.)
"Who will help me?" (He was claiming a lack of a helper.)
"I did not succeed before..." (He was claiming a lack of previous success.)
"They did not listen before..." (He was claiming that the people were not wanting to be delivered.)
He lost this argument. You cannot win the argument with God, when you argue against what He wants you to do. Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel also argued against the ministry that God wanted them to have. They sought to not be the intercessors that God needed for them to be. They all lost those arguments. You can argue against God's judgment on others, and win. However, you cannot argue against what God is asking you to do, and win. God chooses many to be the intercessors. He seeks far and wide for some who will accept that challenge. It is a very difficult task. Yet, if you look in the word of God, you will find that God seeks the foolish, the weak, the base, the despised, etc., so there is no argument that we are not good enough to do the work of intercession. All our weaknesses, are God's qualifications.
I Corinthians 1:26-29
"For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world, and the things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and thing which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence."
Remember, the battle is not ours, it is the Lord's battle. We are called to do a part, but all power, all might, all miraculous works emanate from the Lord God. God asks us to be the instrument, but God does the work. We cannot do anything without His power. He will do all things through us, as intercessors. So to argue against your calling as an intercessor, is fruitless.
If you argue with God for mercy on others (and thereby accept your calling as an intercessor), you will find miraculous things begin to happen. You will, first of all, win arguments with God. You will find God performing signs and wonders in answer to your intercessory prayers.
You can't win these arguments with God, until you lose the one about accepting the difficult calling of being an intercessor. When you finally give up that argument, you can enter into the manifold victories of interceding. When you began this study, you felt a tug from God, reminding you of you failures in intercessory prayer. He tugged at your heart to call you again into the ministry of intercession. The carnal person in you began to argue with God, and to find excuse after excuse to not accept this calling. That is a losing argument you are continuing. There is no way for you to win that argument with God. Lose it now, or someday stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and wish you had given up that argument and done what the Lord called you to do!