It is amazing how people make their own decisions, take their own path, do what they want to do in life and then when it does not work out and they encounter problems, absolve themselves of responsibility and try to blame it on God.
Imagine that! As incredible as it sounds, this is what they do and have been doing, even as early as the Old Testament days.
In 2 Kings 3 for example, there is an account given of king Jehoram of Israel. He was the son of king Ahab (who was deceased) and served while king Jehoshaphat continued to reign over Judah.
Jehoram ascended the throne after the short two (2) year reign of his brother king Ahaziah, who, after falling down through a lattice in his upper chamber, was sick and eventually succumbed to his illness. In Chapter 1:17, the Bible tells us that Ahaziah’s brother Jehoram began to reign in his stead because Ahaziah had no son. He therefore had no offspring to pass the throne over to.
Now the people of Moab, who had previously served Israel during Ahab’s reign, rebelled against them after Ahab died (2 Kings 1:1; 3:5). During Jehoram’s reign however, although Ahaziah his brother seemed to have done nothing about it, maybe because of his short stint as king and his illness, king Jehoram decided to fight against Moab, seemingly to re-assert Israel’s power over them.
While travelling to the battle though, which involved some days of journeying through the wilderness, as the path that had been chosen, king Jehoram and all those who were with his company, found themselves in a fix. They had no water to drink, not for themselves or the animals that were with them. Without water for a long enough period of time, a person would die, which all the persons in that company, including king Jehoram, knew.
They had been travelling for seven (7) days already and therefore, clearly they were in trouble and king Jehoram did not know what to do. It was admittedly, a frightful situation to be in, out in the middle of nowhere and not an ounce of water to be had! In his predicament and fearing for his life and that of those with him, king Jehoram did what many people do today. He did not blame the situation on his poor leadership, his decision to go after Moab, the path through the wilderness that he had agreed they would take or anything else. He however, blamed God!
Yet, when one looks at the life of Jehoram and the decisions he made, he was clearly the one at fault. Why do I say that? Well let us examine the evidence laid out in 2 Kings 3.
FIRSTLY, as each king before him had faced, both in Israel and Judah, when Jehoram ascended the throne, he had a choice to make. He had to decide whether he would serve the true and living God or live life unto himself, in disregard for God’s authority. Sadly, just like his brother Ahaziah, his father Ahab and his mother Jezebel had done, he chose the path of evil, although not to the full extent that his parents had.
Verses 2-3 states of him:
- “And he wrought evil in the sight of the Lord; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.”
Jehoram was therefore not living right and was not a godly man. This was his first big mistake, which led him down a series of other mistakes that resulted in his predicament.
For, SECONDLY, in him choosing the path of evil and living a rebellious life, he had no walk and no relationship with God. While he may have thought of himself to be something therefore because of his title and all the riches that that may have meant, he was really poor, vulnerable and naked, without any spiritual covering and therefore, highly prone to getting himself into trouble.
THIRDLY, there is no record that, in his desire to re-assert control over Moab, that he sought counsel of the Lord, as to what the Lord wanted him to do in the situation. He apparently, did not see it fit to do so.
Did God want him to go and fight Moab or not? If he wanted him to, who did he want him to take with him and what approach did he want him to take? Should they go through the path of the wilderness or some other path? All of these were important questions which only God could answer but Jehoram did not benefit at all from God’s wisdom because he failed to seek him.
In his deluded sense of self-sufficiency, he took people with him and went to the battle presumptuously without first getting answers because he did not apparently, see it feasible to ask for God’s intervention. In any event, as a man who did not consider God as important to be maintained in his thoughts, even if he had decided to seek counsel, one can speculate that he most likely would have sought out false prophets and not the true and living God.
Contrastingly, before David took decisions as to whether to go to war or not, he would usually ask the Lord what to do and if to go. Sometimes God would tell him to go up and at other times, he would tell him not to or give him insight as to what strategy he should adopt.
David benefited from the counsel of the Most High because he had relationship with him. He knew that it was foolish to go into a war without seeking the Lord’s face for his guidance, strength and wisdom.
Yet, Jehoram having cast God aside as unimportant and living unto himself, did not apparently see the significance in asking the Lord for counsel before leaving for the battle. This was of course quite unwise but such is the case with the ungodly, who think that they can conquer this world and be successful in life on their own, without God’s help and guidance.
FOURTHLY, Jehoram seems to have unilaterally made the decision to form strategic partnerships with two other kings, king Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom, to strengthen his army for the battle. Whether this was the ideal thing to do is not known. For, king Jehoshaphat of Judah was a godly king and God may not have therefore wanted him to align himself with the ungodly king of Israel but he did, even as he had done when king Ahab was on the throne and had gone up to fight against Ramoth-Gilead. Such an alliance had almost cost him his life in the battle when he was initially mistaken for king Ahab but through God’s grace, his life was spared.
God may not have also wanted any alliance with any of his people and Edom, which, although the people there were distant family members as Esau’s descendants, later on in life, they positioned themselves as enemies of Israel. Yet, what God wanted was not known and not sought after. Jehoram did as he pleased and of his own volition, sought out these kings, based seemingly on family connections, requested their assistance and combined forces with them.
Ironically, based on his earthly thinking (which was limited and skewed), Moab was also family, the people there having been descendants of Lot who was related to Abraham. Nonetheless, king Jehoram had decided of himself that there was going to be a war and he wanted these kings of Israel and Edom with him for that war, so he approached them and got them to join the battle. In his mind, there was clearly no need for God in the fray. He had everything under control and had thought out how he was going to secure victory, all by himself!
2 Kings 3:6-9 reads:
- “And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel. And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses. And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom. So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom.”
Jehoram therefore made all of his decisions for himself, as there is no record of God featuring anywhere in it. In the life he lived, he wrought evil, as although he had the choice to live right, he chose the path of evil. In so doing, he automatically chose to have no relationship with God and therefore, chose not to seek his counsel on how to deal with the Moabites. Of his own volition, he decided to form alliances with the king of Israel and the king of Edom, to strengthen his army for the fight and took the path of the wilderness, after asking king Jehoshaphat (a mere man like himself, not God) what path they should take.
This underscores a FIFTH problem with Jehoram’s approach. He placed all of his confidence for securing a sure outcome, in his own might, what he could see and reason, what was in the natural realm and none in God. At no point in time did he see if fit to pray to God for his strength. He reasoned in the natural, that with his army fortified with the armies of the people of Israel and the people of Edom, that he could not lose and that he had covered all of his bases. Yet, he did not anticipate, it seems, that they would be in the wilderness for so many days without water. He had not apparently catered for this eventuality and had no power to create or provide water for himself and the people. The king who had thought that he had thought of everything therefore, found himself in danger of death, through a problem that he had not anticipated: Thirst.
This reminds me of the people who were responsible for the Titanic ship, who, believing that they had figured out everything as to how to make the ship the strongest it could possibly be, reportedly declared proudly, that not even God could sink the ship. Ironically, on its very first voyage, their egos got deflated, as it sunk, taking many lost souls with it.
After having made all of the decisions that he made without God’s guidance, when Jehoram found himself in dire straits, God was the first to come to his mind and to his lips. To add insult to injury though, it was not to ask him for help, which he desperately needed but astoundingly, to blame him for their predicament.
In verses 9-10, it states:
- “So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days’ journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them. And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!”
Ironically, he did not retain the Lord in his knowledge prior when he was living his life how he wanted and making decisions as he saw fit but at the first sign of danger, he readily accused the Lord as being the one at fault for the trouble he encountered. He was the one that went out and contacted king Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom, yet he lyingly stated that it was the Lord that had “called these three kings together.” He went further to impute evil motives to the Lord, accusing him of having called them together for the purpose of delivering them into the hand of Moab and therefore, for their demise.
He did not blame himself for having lived a wicked life and having no relationship with God and for foolishly leaving for battle without seeking his counsel. No. He ignored all of these facts and tried to pin the blame on God. In fact, he did it twice! When Jehoshaphat finally suggested that they seek counsel from a man of God and they went to Elisha the Prophet, Jehoram had the audacity to repeat the accusation against God to him. In verse 13, he said again to Elisha, “Nay: for the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab”. No wonder Elisha responded, “As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.” (v. 14).
Jehoshaphat knew better, as a man of God, to know that this was not the Lord’s doing. One could only imagine what the king of Edom, an ungodly man would have thought though. He must have heard about the God of the Israelites and of his mighty acts of power exercised to protect the Israelites in the past but yet, here was king Jeroham, tarnishing his reputation and bringing disgrace to his name, by boldly accusing him of plotting to lure them to their deaths!
Having found himself where he found himself, having no relationship or real fear or regard for God, Jehoram did not think in humility, to approach God even at that late stage for help. Alas, he could think of God to blame him but not to seek his face.
It was king Jehoshaphat, who feared God and had a relationship with him, that had finally suggested getting God involved, as none of them had the answer as to what to do in their predicament. After king Jeroham had initially thrown the blame at God, the Bible says: “But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him?” This should have been done from the get-go but it is never too late to invite the Lord into our mess at any point. This is better than not doing so at all.
On the whole, as indicated prior, there is a tendency when people do their nonsense, to try to vindicate themselves, while blaming the Lord for it. Yet, the Bible tells us quite clearly, that when people do their wrong, it is not God that caused them to do it. It is their own lust which they gave into, that led them down that path. They made their own poor decisions and should accept responsibility for it, instead of trying to blame it on the Lord.
James 1:13-16 states: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
People like to hold the Lord culpable for their own mistakes, their own folly, their own foolishness and their own shortcomings. When things don’t go their way and they encounter problems, the tendency is to say that it is the Lord that is responsible, while regarding themselves as the victim. They say things like, “Woe is me” and “Why has the Lord allowed this?” and “Couldn’t the Lord have intervened to prevent this?” and “Why did the Lord do this?”
In fact, when Lazarus in the Bible had died after being sick and Jesus visited his sisters, he found them and the Jews who had surrounded them for support, grieving. It was a sad sight to see, so much so that it says in John 11:33 of Mary, one of Lazarus’ sisters, that, “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.”
Him being touched with the feeling of our infirmities as human beings (Hebrews 4:15), he clearly felt hurt at the pain they were going through and the Bible says that “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).
Yet, beholding this sight, all some of the Jews could think to do as a mechanism for dealing with the pain and helplessness they felt, was to blame Jesus. He was and is God the Son, although they did not believe it but even unbelief does not stop the ungodly from blaming God for adverse situations.
I have heard unbelievers blame God for natural disasters where people lost their homes and loved ones and practically for everything that goes wrong on this sinful, rebellious earth. For the things that go right, they don’t give him the praise but when things go wrong, they are quick to say that it is all his fault.
Similarly, in verse 37, of John 11, of the unbelieving Jews who saw Jesus weep, it says “And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?“
Whereas they were not blaming God for causing Lazarus’ death therefore, they were grasping at straws, so-to-speak, trying to blame him for not doing something to prevent it. Ironically, they did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God and God the Son but because they knew that he had the capability to do healing miracles, they sought to cast the blame on him for not healing Lazarus before he had died.
Yet, God in his sovereignty had a plan to raise Lazarus back from the dead, as a testimony of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, so that some of them would finally believe on him (which thankfully they did) and be saved from eternal damnation.
It highlights the fact that, even in situations where we face unfortunate circumstances and we have truly not brought them upon ourselves, it is not God that is to blame for the adversity and we should not think or say that it is his fault. For, God is sovereign and this means he can do or allow anything he pleases and he always has a divine purpose for this, even if we, in our puny minds don’t understand it.
In most cases though, unless the Lord is taking us through a trial for some reason, we are responsible for the troubles we find ourselves in. Yet, many of us are slow to accept this truth.
This has always been human nature. In addition to the account given of king Jehoram, who blatantly and openly blamed God for his situation, the same happened as far back as in the book of Genesis, during Adam and Eve’s time.
Although God had given Adam clear instructions as to what he could eat and what was not to be eaten, Adam still went ahead and made the decision to disobey God. His wife ate of the fruit first, her having been deceived by the serpent into disbelieving what God had said and she then gave Adam of it to eat. Instead of saying no and standing by what God had said, the Bible said that he took it from his wife and ate it.
Then, after his eyes had been opened so that he was now conscious of his nakedness, when confronted by God, Adam had the gall to blame the situation on God and also on Eve. Instead of answering the question that God posed to him, he got defensive as a self-preservation measure, refused to confess his wrong and instead, tried to justify it, by transferring the blame to God and to his wife.
God asked him, “Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou should not eat?” (Genesis 3:11)
Instead of Adam saying that he was now conscious of his nakedness because he had sinned by disobeying God’s command and had eaten fruit from the tree that God had forbidden him to eat from and instead of repenting with sorrow for his sin and asking God for his forgiveness, he instead replied, as a deflective tactic to get the attention off of him: “The woman whom THOU gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” (Genesis 3:12).
He therefore divested or stripped himself completely of any responsibility for what had happened, blaming what he had done and the predicament he and Eve found themselves in, primarily on God and by default, on his wife as well. It was as if Adam was implying that, had God not given him Eve as wife in the first place, he would not have been in a position to take the fruit from her and eat it. This was the ingratitude meted out to the Lord who, in love for him, had seen that it was not good for him to be alone and had provided him with a wife. The problem had not been with God’s provision. The Lord did not make a wrong choice in the woman he appointed for him to be husband to. The problem was with Adam’s heart.
By any stretch of the imagination, it was wrong to blame God for his situation, as it was Adam who was clearly in the wrong for choosing to disobey God. One could even go so far as to say, that he was also at fault, as the head of his household, for not exercising proper supervisory leadership over Eve, so as to prevent her from eating the fruit in the first place. Yet, having sinned and in a desperate attempt to preserve his self, this is exactly what Adam did. He preferred to accuse the God of heaven, the perfect and sinless one, instead of pointing the finger at himself.
Sadly, this is what many people do today. They make their decisions, do their wrong, act foolishly and rashly and then when trouble comes, say that God is at fault, not them. They let themselves off the hook while seeking to implicate God in their nonsense, so as to appease their prideful, rebellious conscience. They prefer to do this, than to humbly acknowledge the truth and confess that they did wrong.
In fact, in Jeremiah 3, so unwilling were the Israelites, who God had punished for their wrong, to confess that they had sinned, that they preferred to continue on suffering God’s judgment, than to to acknowledge the truth. They preferred to continue on in delusion, pretending that they had not sinned and therefore, that God was unjust for punishing them.
In verses 11-13, Jeremiah stated:
- “And the Lord said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord.”
In chapter 4:18, God declares to them through Jeremiah, the truth, telling them, “Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.”
Today, many people, including those who profess to know the Lord as Saviour, do exactly as the Israelites, Jehoram and Adam did. As they sit and survey the ruins around their lives, they do not humble themselves and admit the truth, that they are responsible for the mess they found themselves in, even when adversity pounds them with blow after blow. No. To them, it is important that they continue the charade, of defending themselves and their reputation to the world. In pride, rebellion and too much self-love, they carry on under the delusion that they did nothing wrong and that they’ve been good people. They justify themselves and in so doing, imply that it is God that was unjust in what he allowed to happen to them. They paint themselves as innocent victims and feign ignorance, when in truth and in fact, they are reaping for the sin they endlessly sowed.
Sadly, while this is to be expected from the unbeliever, many people, especially women who claim to be Christians, do this, after having made poor choices as to a life partner and after having blatantly disregarded God’s Word, for the sake of their desperate pursuit to find “love”. When disappointment hits because reality kicks in and all they find is an unhappy home, emptiness, barrenness, a miserable existence, a man who is not at all who they thought he was, a man who does not pull his weight financially or take up his role as leader of the home or who is physically, verbally, emotionally, psychologically or financially abusive or a man that treats them despicably, neglects them or is unfaithful or divorces them, they have the nerve to blame their own poor choices which led them to where they are on God!
I have had conversations with persons who profess to be Christians but have thought this way. The first was a single woman, who, although she had done quite a lot of wickedness in her life after claiming to come to Christ and was continuing down a rebellious path, blamed her ongoing singleness on God. For years, she wanted to marry but no suitable bachelor had come. Instead of repenting of her wicked ways, in looking at her age and no doubt, her biological clock, she declared in self-righteousness to me, “I don’t deserve this!” She was therefore putting the blame for her singleness, not on her own sinful ways which could not attract God’s blessings but on God himself, as being unjust to have her still without a spouse.
The second and third examples pertain to a woman and a man respectively, both of whom had marriages that ended badly.
Instead of blaming themselves for their poor decisions and if they are genuine Christians, for ignoring the still small voice of the Lord which would have been sure to faithfully warn them of danger ahead before they decided to enter into the marriage, they both took the view that it was God that told them to marry the person they married, although there were claims of infidelity and attempted murder on the part of the spouses. They thereby implied that they did nothing wrong, that it was God that led them down the path and therefore, God that had them in their current state. Needless to say, one of them had rushed into marriage with his wife, a few weeks or months after first meeting her. He therefore married a stranger in haste, apparently without doing his due diligence and taking time for the Lord to properly instruct him as to his will on the matter and then sought after the marriage’s demise, to blame the Lord for the ugly fall-out that ensued, while excusing himself for his rushed, unwise decision.
In conclusion, it is important to remember, that no situation that people ever find themselves in, is God’s fault. People need to therefore cease trying to ascribe blame to him for their problems. If they’ve done nothing wrong and are suffering, then it is God’s will in his sovereignty to allow it, as we saw with Joseph and Job in the Bible and we should trust him through it.
In most cases though, if we are honest, we are solely responsible for the situation we find ourselves in, not God. Many of us are in wilderness experiences where there is barrenness, sterility and thirst because of the path we chose in life, without seeking or heeding God’s wise counsel. We have been foolish and the sooner we come to terms with this, the better.
We need to humble ourselves from our pride, embrace the truth and come clean with God, confessing to him that we have done wrong and exactly what we’ve done, that we deserve to be in our mess (and far more) and that we are sorry for our sin. Peradventure, if we adopt this correct way of thinking and this humble posture before God, he may in his mercy, help us to get out of our situation. He is able to do this at any time. For as long as we continue to lie to ourselves and to others though, that the infallible, sinless and Most High God is at fault for our own actions and foolish choices, we deserve to sit and stew in our problems until we come to our senses.
(Written on 3rd January, 2024)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, beneficial or edifying, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 62 – ‘Is There Not A Balm In Gilead?’
Also, under ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ page:
- Note 185 – ‘The Sheep And The Shepherd‘
- Note 263 – ‘Why We Should Let God Direct Our Pat
- Note 273 – ‘He Wants To Be Enquired Of’
Also, under the ‘SINGLE Daughters’ page:
- Note 12 -‘Placing God At The Wheel Of My Future Love Story’
- Note 87- ‘I Lost All Control When I Asked God To Take The Wheel’
- Note 137 – ‘Who To Marry?’
- Note 268 – ‘Making The Wrong Decision Can Be Costly – When You Don’t Wait On God To Introduce You To Your Spouse.’
- Note 274 – ‘I Being In The Way, The Lord Led Me – A Match Made In Heaven’
- Note 317 – ‘God’s Choice = The Best Choice’
Additionally, under the ‘BROKEN Daughters’ page:
- Note 34 – ‘Wisdom Is The Principal Thing’