The story is told of a young child who foolishly had climbed on top of the house. It was a metal roof, years ago called a tin roof, and each piece was held in place by several nails readily visible. The boy slipped and was sliding down the roof and knew he would be injured when he fell. He remembered the Bible class he had attended just days before where prayer had been discussed. So, as he was sliding, he prayed, “God help me.” Those words had scarcely been uttered and then were followed by these, “That’s all right, God, I do not need Your help; my pants caught on one of the nails and stopped me.”
That boy’s response was like that of Pharaoh when the plagues came on the Egyptians. When the second plague of frogs came, the king called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Entreat the Lord…and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the Lord.” God removed the frogs. “But when Pharaoh saw there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them” (Ex. 8:8, 15).
When the fourth plague of flies came it happened again. The king said, “I will let you go that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God…intercede for me.” Every single fly was removed. “But Pharaoh hardened his heart again at this time also” (Ex. 8:28, 32). He was like the boy on the rooftop who called out to God asking for His help, but when help came he told God to forget his first prayer.
I can imagine what might repeatedly happen in this land in the coming months in the lives of those who never have had a place for God. There will be those who will be in a difficult financial crisis and begin to pray to God for the first time. There may be those who have friends and family members who become infected with the virus and in desperation will pray to God. They may even make promises to God that if He will help them, they will serve Him forever. When better times come, they will say to God, “Forget it, God, I no longer need you.”
Turning to the Lord is far more that crying out to a Rescuer when trouble comes. He is a Rescuer, but He is Lord. He is Master. He is the Ruler of all His creation. He is the only Way. He is the Shepherd who demands His sheep follow Him. We are not at liberty to select only those traits of God we like and ignore the rest.
Meditate on these two verses. “The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and His ears open to their prayers” (1 Pet. 3:12). “He who turns his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination” (Prov. 28:9). As trials are coming toward us, make sure you are serving Him before they arrive. God has His “nails of rescue,” but He only promises them to those who serve Him all the time.