Micah 3:4—Does God ever withhold His blessing from those who cry out for it?
Problem: This text and other passages of Scripture (cf. Isa. 1:15; James 4:3) speak of God withholding His blessing from those who cry unto Him. But, the Bible contends, on the other hand, that God “gives to all liberally” who ask (James 1:5), “for everyone who asks, receives” (Luke 11:10).
Solution: These diverse texts are speaking about different kinds of people. God never withholds His promised blessing from those who call with a sincere and repentant heart. But, He does withhold it from those who do not call in “faith with no doubting” (James 1:6) or who “ask amiss” to spend it on their own pleasures (James 4:3). In brief, God always grants His promised blessings on the faithful, but He does not always promise the same blessings to the unfaithful.
Second, not all of God’s promised blessings are unconditional, as was His unilateral land promise to Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 12; 14–15; 17). Many of His blessings are conditioned on His people’s obedience, such as the bilateral covenant with Israel (“If you will indeed obey my voice,” Ex. 19:5).
Likewise, God never promises that He will heal everyone in this life of all diseases. In fact, God refused to heal Paul though he pleaded three times with Him to be relieved of his burden (2 Cor. 12:8–9). Nor does God promise that He will make all believers rich in this life. Even Jesus became poor for us (2 Cor. 8:9), and He declared that there would always be poor (Matt. 26:11), spiritually blessed though they be (Matt. 5:3). In these cases, no matter how much faith one musters, God will not necessarily bestow the blessing in this life, since He never unconditionally promised to do so.
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.