It seems hard to believe that the omnipotent God is negotiable but Ezekiel proved that He is. In chapter 4, God said this to Ezekiel, “Each day take flour from the barrel and prepare it as you would barley cakes. While all the people are watching, bake it over a fire, using dried human dung as fuel, and eat it” ( vs 12). Could you think of using human dung to cook your food? The thought of it may just be making your stomach turn. But…Ezekiel was given a clear directive from God.
How did Ezekiel respond? He said, “O Lord God, must I be defiled by using dung? For I have never been defiled before in all my life...” (vs 14).
What did God say? “All right, you may use cow dung instead of human dung” (vs 15). Wasn’t that a simple conversation between God and Ezekiel. There in the ruins, God has some tasks for us that seem impossible to do. There are tasks that are overwhelming. God gives orders, but He also take requests. This reminds me, Abraham also negotiated with God. Lot was in the height of the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah. God told Abraham that He would destroy the cities, but Abraham negotiated with God to bring Lot safely out before the destruction, and God granted his request.
I remember a colleague, who was diagnosed with cancer. I don’t know what she talked to God about when she found out. But, she did tell me that she asked Him for one thing, while she was undergoing her treatment. “Please Lord” she prayed, “minimize the side effects of the treatment.” She had to walk in the ruins of cancer, but she negotiated with God and He said, “All right, I will minimize the side effects.” She went through the treatment with minimal side effects; and eventually rose out of the ruins, cancer free.
The ruin is a wretched place to be in. No matter the cause or the type of ruins you are facing, always remember that God is negotiable.
God negotiates with those who surrender. Ezekiel had already gone through his bitter and angry days. He was already equipped with the strength of the Spirit. He was ready and willing to do God’s work in the ruins. So when he poured out his request to God, God was willing to comply. Once we surrender our will to God, our heart and our work, God is sometimes willing to negotiate with us.
God negotiates with those who takes time to negotiate with Him: The ruins are there to accomplish something in your lives, but God will listen to our concerns, when we make time for prayer. In the midst of his ruins, Samson had enough hardship. He was tired of the horrible treatment he received in the prison. Although God could have given him victory and restored his sight, he negotiated for death. On the contrary, Hezekiah negotiated for life, when death knocked at his door and God granted him some extra years. Jacob negotiated for favor when Esau and a host of army headed his way to destroy him.
While in your ruins, God is willing to hear the concerns of your heart. He is Lord of the ruins. He is the one who structures and re-structures the ruins according to His will. David, a man who knows the ruins well, encourages us to “pour out our longings before [God] for He can help” (Psalm 62: 8). Nobody wants to be in the ruins. Nobody wants hardships in their lives. God understands how difficult it is for us and He wants us to come to Him with our requests.
1 John 5: 14, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
Artwork: Earl Brooks Jr. (Used with Permission)