control of God

©2020 dan bulkley | ask@lifefellowship.org

introduction

section 1

Control is an element in our lives that is always present, and we unwittingly seek it daily yet hardly regard it in its Biblical manner. More often than not, we do not even think of control in our thoughts, actions, circumstances or relationships because we have made such a habit of exerting it in wicked ways matthew 13:15 that we rarely recognize the virtues and the vices of control that are constantly present in our lives.

supporting scriptures

matthew 13:15

For this people’s heart has become calloused;

they hardly hear with their ears,

and they have closed their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

hear with their ears,

understand with their hearts

and turn, and I would heal them.’

Be aware that control is very much core to the conflict between rebellion and obedience genesis 3:5-6 i samuel 15:23 . We typically seek control so as to bring things to our obedience whereas if we relinquish our control of God, circumstances and others, we are simply seeking to obey God romans 1:5 romans 16:25-27 even to the extent of the self-discipline of our own mind ii corinthians 10:5 romans 12:2 ephesians 4:22-24 .

supporting scriptures

genesis 3:5-6

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

i samuel 15:23

For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”

romans 1:5

Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.

romans 16:25-27

Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith—

27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

ii corinthians 10:5

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

ephesians 4:22-24

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

my notes:

control of God

section 2

The worst way we as believers and even unbelievers try to exert control is trying to control/manipulate God i timothy 6:5 or the gods of various names and persuasions i corinthians 8:5-6 with our religiosity. We think we will be heard and get what we want if we use the right and superfluous words with Him matthew 6:7-8 i john 5:15 as if flattery would persuade Him to our desires isaiah 29:13 . We swear great commitments judges 11:30-31 james 5:12
ecclesiastes 5:1-7 isaiah 48:1 and offer up sacrificial gifts acts 8:18-20 to try to coax Him to our side. We even simply claim what we want and expect to have it by declaration psalm 73:9 . We weep and wail trying to illicit His favorable response hebrews 12:17 malachi 2:13-14 . We try to make ourselves clean with outward good deeds so as to invoke God’s favor jeremiah 2:22-23 proverbs 30:20 ; while the very act of trying to fool God with being good ii timothy 3:5 titus 1:16 to fulfill evil desires is reprehensible to God james 4:3 acts 5:1-11 proverbs 21:27 isaiah 1:10-20 .

supporting scriptures

i timothy 6:5

... and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

i corinthians 8:5-6

For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

matthew 6:7-8

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

i john 5:15

And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

isaiah 29:13

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.

judges 11:30-31

And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.

james 5:12

Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

my notes:

ecclesiastes 5:1-7

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

2 Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

3 A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool.

4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.

6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?

7 Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.

isaiah 48:1

“Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and come from the line of Judah, you who take oaths in the name of the Lord and invoke the God of Israel— but not in truth or righteousness—

acts 8:18-20

When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!

psalm 73:9

Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.

hebrews 12:17

Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

malachi 2:13-14

Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

jeremiah 2:22-23

Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign Lord.

23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals’? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there...

proverbs 30:20

“This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’

ii timothy 3:5

having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

titus 1:16

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

james 4:3

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

acts 5:1-11

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

my notes:

proverbs 21:27

The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable— how much more so when brought with evil intent!

isaiah 1:10-20

Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah!

11 “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?

13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.

14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.

15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!

16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.

17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;

20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

my notes:

section 3

And when those don’t get us what we want, we look to other means to fulfill our desires ii chronicles 24:17-20 ii chronicles 25:14-15 : using our own spiritual practices isaiah 47:7-15 , trying various venues {i.e. looking for a more “spiritual” experience at a different church} i kings 20:23-28 , and even getting as desperate as to offer up terrible sacrifices to get what our evil desires want ii kings 3:26-27 proverbs 18:1 . All this instead of acknowledging the Lord alone is God and that He controls our lives to fill us with beneficial desires if we would only seek Him psalm 37:4 ezekiel 36:25-27 and heed His sovereignty over us micah 6:6-9 .

supporting scriptures

ii chronicles 24:17-20

After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. 18 They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger came on Judah and Jerusalem. 19 Although the Lord sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen.

20 Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.’”

ii chronicles 25:14-15

When Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought back the gods of the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down to them and burned sacrifices to them. 15 The anger of the Lord burned against Amaziah, and he sent a prophet to him, who said, “Why do you consult this people’s gods, which could not save their own people from your hand?”

isaiah 47:7-15

You said, ‘I am forever— the eternal queen!’ But you did not consider these things or reflect on what might happen.

8 “Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.’

9 Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells.

10 You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’

11 Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you.

12 “Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror.

13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you.

14 Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. These are not coals for warmth; this is not a fire to sit by.

15 That is all they are to you— these you have dealt with and labored with since childhood. All of them go on in their error; there is not one that can save you.

my notes:

i kings 20:23-28

Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they. 24 Do this: Remove all the kings from their commands and replace them with other officers. 25 You must also raise an army like the one you lost—horse for horse and chariot for chariot—so we can fight Israel on the plains. Then surely we will be stronger than they.” He agreed with them and acted accordingly.

26 The next spring Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them. The Israelites camped opposite them like two small flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside.

28 The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”

ii kings 3:26-27

When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they failed. 27 Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land.

proverbs 18:1

An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

psalm 37:4

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

ezekiel 36:25-27

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

micah 6:6-9

With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

9 Listen! The Lord is calling to the city— and to fear your name is wisdom— “Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.

my notes:

section 4

Example: the wanton attempt to control/manipulate God by Balaam and Balak in Numbers 22-24. Balak wanted Israel defeated by cursing them numbers 22:1-6 and Balaam wanted to profit from cursing them jude 11 . Balaam knew he couldn’t go curse them numbers 22:12 , but still pressed his desires trying to get to potential profit numbers 22:19 numbers 22:32 , and even though Balaam knew He could not curse Israel numbers 22:38 numbers 23:8 numbers 23:23 he tried several times from different places numbers 23:13 numbers 23:27 . Until finally he saw it was pleasing God to speak through him blessings for Israel he stopped trying to manipulate God through his “controlling” sorcery numbers 24:1 . Sadly, his heart did not change. He simply refocused his controlling profiteering to Israel {others} instead numbers 24:1-3 numbers 31:16 ; to the cost of his own life numbers 31:8 .

my notes:

supporting scriptures

numbers 22:1-6

Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab and camped along the Jordan across from Jericho.

2 Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, 3 and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.

4 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.”

So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the Euphrates River, in his native land. Balak said:

“A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. 6 Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.”

my notes:

numbers 22:12

But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”

numbers 22:19

Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me.”

numbers 22:32

The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.

numbers 22:38

“Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.”

numbers 23:8

How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced?

numbers 23:23

There is no divination against Jacob, no evil omens against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!’

numbers 23:13

Then Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place where you can see them; you will not see them all but only the outskirts of their camp. And from there, curse them for me.”

numbers 23:27

Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come, let me take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them for me from there.”

numbers 24:1

Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness.

numbers 24:1-3

Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness. 2 When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him 3 and he spoke his message:

“The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,

the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,

numbers 31:16

“They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people.

numbers 31:8

Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.

my notes:

don’t forget parts 2 through 5 of this series, available separately