Is it possible for mere, fragile, and mortal men to limit the Almighty, Omnipotent, and Supreme God of the universe? Sounds like a foolish question, right? But let me tell you the truth: you can limit God.
It is possible for us to put the shackles of doubt, faithlessness, and fear around God’s hand and prevent Him from doing wonderful miracles in our lives.
How the Israelites Limited God
We find one of the most powerful illustrations of limiting God in Psalms 78. Let’s read:
12 Marvelous things He did in the sight of their fathers,
In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and caused them to pass through;
And He made the waters stand up like a heap.
14 In the daytime also He led them with the cloud,
And all the night with a light of fire.
15 He split the rocks in the wilderness,
And gave them drink in abundance like the depths.
16 He also brought streams out of the rock,
And caused waters to run down like rivers.
Notice the power of God. He made marvelous and astonishing miracles in the sight of the Israelites. We may think that if there are people who should have unshakable and steadfast faith, it should be the Israelites. They are a group of people whom God mightily delivered from the hands of the most powerful nation during their time.
But what happened? Let’s continue reading Psalms 78:
17 BUT THEY SINNED EVEN MORE AGAINST HIM
By rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness.
18 And they tested God in their heart
By asking for the food of their fancy.
For the Israelites, the miracles they witnessed in the land of Egypt were not enough. In fact, they continued to disobey God because they thought that God couldn’t provide their needs in the wilderness.
19 Yes, they spoke against God:
They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
20 Behold, He struck the rock,
So that the waters gushed out,
And the streams overflowed.
Can He give bread also?
Can He provide meat for His people?”
In here, we can see that the Israelites were testing God. They want to see if God will truly fulfill His promises. They asked for food and God indeed gave them food. They asked for water and God indeed gave them water. In spite of all these, the Israelites were ingrates. It seemed that nothing could convince them of God’s power, faithfulness, and love.
Thankfully, we read God being merciful:
38 But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity,
And did not destroy them.
Yes, many a time He turned His anger away,
And did not stir up all His wrath;
39 For He remembered that they were but flesh,
A breath that passes away and does not come again.
And now we come to the scripture that shows us how the Israelites limited God.
40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,
And grieved Him in the desert!
41 Yes, again and again they tempted God,
And limited the Holy One of Israel.
After seeing all the miracles that God had done for the nation of Israel, they still provoked God. There’s no doubt they were there when God sent the ten plagues, when God parted the Red Sea, when God destroyed the army of Pharaoh. But how come they still limit God and think it is too hard for Him to accomplish His purpose and fulfill His promises?
Forgetting or Remembering God
Verse 42 tells us, “They remembered NOT His hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.”
Whenever we forget about God’s might and powerful ability to help us in our troubles, we limit Him. When we doubt God’s love and mercy toward us, we limit Him. Instead of believing that He can provide all our needs, we tend to solve our problems by our own effort. We forgot about the many miracles in the past that God had already done for us.
When we encounter trials, we feel discouraged. We feel overwhelmed. We feel that our problem is too big for God to handle. However, we have a bigger God who is willing and more than able to solve our problems, if – here’s the big IF – if we let Him.
Instead of saying, “God, I have a big problem,” we need to say, “Hey problem, I have a BIG God!” That should be the type of confidence that we all should have. Remember that God is bigger than any of our disappointments, failures, and problems. When we forget that, we limit God and prevent Him from helping us.
When we doubt God, we stop Him from intervening in our lives. Instead of trusting Him with the outcome of our decision in following Him, we tend to be short-sighted and trust our own understanding.
After all, how can we know if God will indeed help us if we don’t follow His commandments? How can we know if God’s way truly works if we don’t even try? How can we know if all things work together for good if we don’t let God guide us?
How the people limited Jesus Christ
The same thing happened to the people of Nazareth. They have limited Jesus Christ. Let us read Mark 6:1-6.
1 Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.
4 But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 AND HE MARVELED BECAUSE OF THEIR UNBELIEF.
Unbelief and faithlessness are the chains that we put around God’s hands. It is like a rope that we tie around God. While it is true that nothing can frustrate God’s plan and purpose, God won’t force His way of life to those who continually reject it.
The consequences of limiting God
When we limit God, we prevent amazing, miraculous, and powerful circumstances to happen to us. Many people miss life-changing opportunities in their lives because of limiting God. They refuse to make room for the new things God wants them to have in their lives.
When great opportunities come along, instead of launching out in faith, we say, “hmm… I’m not sure, I think that’s too good to be true. Well, I think it’s really not for me. I think there’s just too many obstacles on the road. I believe it is impossible.”
With God all things are possible
But brothers and sisters, if it is the will of God, nothing is impossible. All things are possible. All things can be achieved. All things can be done according to God’s purpose. You know why? Because Jesus Christ will be there to strengthen us.
Philippians 4:13, a very popular verse, tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” What a VERY, VERY powerful statement from a person who has suffered a lot because of doing God’s work.
Paul who has experienced tremendous hardships came to the conclusion that nothing that is required of him is impossible. He knew that whatever God commands him to do, he can do it. How? Through Christ who strengthens him.
Paul knew that whatever limitations he might face, he can overcome it, NOT because of his own might, NOT because of his own abilities, but through Christ who strengthens him. In the same way, we can overcome the limitations in our lives through the power of Jesus Christ.
For this reason, we should stop worrying because we know that God will make a way. All we have to do is concentrate on the work that God has set before us, knowing that NOTHING is too hard for God.
We must be God-reliant, and not self-reliant. Our strength will not come from us, but from God.
So let us stop limiting God as we limit ourselves. Let us challenge the limiting beliefs in our lives. Let us change the way we think because when God wants us to do something, there’s no doubt in God’s mind that we can do it. All we have to do is let God work in our lives and believe that what He has started, He is able to finish.
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