Have You Been Overwhelmed By Bad Reports?

Have you been overwhelmed by bad reports

Or dismayed by news of horrible aborts?

If so, you’re not alone. For the Israelites couldn’t enter

The promised land. That’s because many a venter

    (i.e. “I need to vent!”),

As in “those who spied the land out”, just saw giants.

You know – gangs of fierce, un-wieldly “self-reliants”

Who, it seems, looked on them with disdain,

Prompting them to sing this sad refrain:

“We look like grasshoppers to such big guys,

To whom we can’t compare in might or size.

Though Caleb may command faith to arise,  

We cannot climb above such mighty lies.”

(Our forms, you know, they truly do despise)

“Their bad reports are too much to endure,

Bombarding us with thoughts that are impure

And that hit us in the face like pizza pie.

However, when that pizza hits your eye,

You know it’s not AMORE but Amor-ITES,

The guys that have a knack for un-sound bites.

What’s more, they proudly fuss about wrong ‘rights,’

Just like Hittites, Jebusites and Canaanites.”

(And we’re not talking “knight in shining armor” knights)

And so, the men were overwhelmed by bad reports.

Dismayed by news of possible aborts,

Which tempted them severely to give up

Because they tasted of the bitter cup

That’s mixed with too much doubt to trust God’s Word,

Despite the mighty signs they’d seen and heard –

Such as manna rained upon them from above.

And yet they dared to question God’s great love.

Because they lacked the faith to enter in

To the land God had prepared for them,

He told them not to go. And yet they went.

Sadly, Moses couldn’t get them to relent.

Thus it ended in disaster: soldiers killed

Because they did not do as God had willed

But trusted in their own strength so unjust.

In fact, God knew they lacked the needed trust

To win the battle. Guilt had such a grip

Upon their hearts, it caused their feet to slip.     

But it’s not wise on one’s own flesh to rely,

Regardless of the saying “Do or die.”

  Yet God invites the weary soul to buy. . .

  The food which we can eat and never die. . .

With songs of praise to overwhelm a bad report

So that no one in their right mind will fall short.

Therefore, thank God for His promises each day,

Because Jesus helps us listen and obey.

Due to the fact that He listened diligently,

He has the power to help us hear clearly

So that finally, we too can understand

The awesome things that God for us has planned.

(Based on the story in Numbers chapters 13 and 14)

Relevant scriptures: Isaiah 55:1-3, Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4 (God’s Word: our food), Psalm 7:17, Psalm 8:2 (Psalm 32:7 (songs of deliverance),

The Problem With Using Reverse Psychology on God

Have you ever used “reverse psychology” to try to get God’s attention? I know I have. I didn’t realize it at the time but I had just gotten used to being around people who would say things like, “It’ll never work” in a way that sounded like, “Now, watch God contradict me. He never gives me what I want and loves to prove me wrong. So I’ll ask for what I don’t want. I told it not to work. Now watch it work.” It was almost as if predicting a bad outcome would make them look humble, thus forcing God to be nice to them.

It’s almost like trying to guilt God into doing something good for you. But you know you can’t make Him feel guilty because He never does anything wrong. Some of us act as if He’s out to get us, however.

In Exodus 34:6 God describes Himself as, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. . .”

Why then, do we tend to act as if He’s out to get us, as if He wants to ruin our lives?

Perhaps a better question is, “What god are we serving?” Is it a god who likes to trick us and kick us when we’re down? Do we need to use reverse psychology on him to get his help?

The baal worshipers described in I Kings 18:26-28 seemed to think so. To get their god to hear them, they cut themselves. It was a mess. They beat themselves up to get their god to send down fire, hoping to bring good out of evil they inflicted on themselves.

I know what that is like. One time someone close to me was acting like a bully. So, I hit myself to try to get him to apologize to me. By means of self-abuse, I try to guilt him into caring. It’s like saying, “There, I beat myself up. That should make you happy.”

But all it did was make him angrier, because bullies don’t respond to reverse psychology – at least, not the way we’d like. Nor can we beat ourselves up and expect God to cheer us on.

“But, wait a minute,” some might say. “What about the man who was beating his chest and saying, “God be merciful to me, a sinner?”

Well, he wasn’t exactly beating himself up, for one thing. For another, there’s a big difference between humbly asking God to “Have mercy on me, a sinner” and saying, “I’m so horrible, you must be mad at me. I don’t believe I can expect anything good from you.”

Asking God for mercy is a humble act of faith, but speaking doubt over a situation to try to make God do the opposite is manipulative. It’s like trying to guilt God into giving you your own way.

God can’t be guilted into doing anything, but Jesus paid the price to cover our guilt and sin. His blood shed on the cross enables us to come boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). We don’t need to use reverse psychology in order to find mercy and grace from Him to help in our time of need.