One day, I was talking with a friend about the promises of God that are found in the Bible. After I mentioned that many of these promises are guaranteed, my friend informed me, “You can’t put God in a box.” After thinking about this phrase, I realized that it is nothing but an excuse not to have faith in God. Invariably, this phrase is heard when someone refuses to believe what God has said about Himself.
Peter is an example of someone who put Jesus in a box. When Jesus came walking on the water towards the disciple’s boat, Peter cried out, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come out on the water.” What was Jesus supposed to do? Since it was him, he was practically forced to tell Peter to come. Peter had faith, we know this because he called Jesus “Lord” and Jesus responded to the faith of Peter.
Let me give you another example. Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). Some would say, “This verse does not really mean you can have whatever you ask for in prayer.” Oh, really? I didn’t say this, Jesus said it. Go argue with him, not with me. He said I can have anything I ask for in prayer, if I have enough faith to believe I receive it.
Essentially, God has created a rock that is so heavy that He cannot move it. It is not so much that He cannot move the rock, it is that He will not move the rock. Once God gives His word, that’s final. There is no changing His mind. His promise endures for all of eternity and He will do anything He needs to do to make His word come true.
For example, God promised David one of His children would sit on the throne of Judea forever. No sooner did David die, then Solomon married hundreds of woman. God may have wanted to change His promise because of Solomon’s sin, but He didn’t. The children and grandchildren of Solomon sinned even worse, but God’s promise was still guaranteed. In the end, God sent His own Son to earth in the line of David just so the promise would be fulfilled. Now, the seed of David (Jesus) will be seated on the throne of Judea forever.
This promise to David was a box God built Himself. Once God made the promise, there was no backing out. God locked Himself in this box for all of eternity.
The truth is that God is in a box. Of course, mankind did not put God in this box, God built his own box and committed to staying inside it. This “box” is made from the covenants the Father made with His people.
A covenant is a lot like today’s legal contract. When two parties sign a contract, the agreement is binding. Many times I have heard people complain about the contracts they have signed. They usually say something like this, “My car payments are way too high.” But, there is nothing they can do about the situation because they signed the contract agreeing to pay a certain amount each month. The contract becomes a box that they built with their own hands and are forced to live in.
If God does not keep his word, why would you want to serve him? If you cannot have absolute faith in God’s word, of what value is that word? The whole point of signing a contract is that it is binding on both parties.
God says, “If you will do this, I will do that.” God promised Abraham, “If you will leave the country you are living in and go to where I tell you, I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you.” Once Abraham fulfilled his part of the bargain, God was forced to fulfill His part of the bargain.
Later, God made a covenant with all of Israel. He promised to bless them in exchange for their obedience. Unfortunately, the children of Israel quickly strayed from their side of the deal. In spite of their continued disobedience, God gave them repeated chances to live up to their end of the bargain. When God saw humanity would never be able to fulfill their side of the covenant, He sent His only son to become a human. Because Jesus was human, he was able to fulfill the human side of the covenant.
Today, we live under a new covenant. Since man opened the trapdoor of the old box by disobeying God, He decided to build a new box. This box is built from the wood of the cross Jesus died upon. Because God the Father made the promise, and God the Son perfectly fulfilled humanity’s side of the bargain, God is finally right where He wants to be, in a box without trapdoors.
By accepting the work Jesus did on the cross, we gain access to the box of promises. Now, God lives in the box of our faith and expectation. If we have faith in the work Jesus did on the cross, we can have “whatever we ask for in prayer” because God absolutely keeps His promises.