The prophet Micah asked the question in Micah 2:7, “Is the Spirit of the Lord Straitened?” In other words, can people’s actions restrict the power of God? The obvious answer here is “No.” God is all-powerful and has supreme authority. There is nothing people can do to limit God, right? Not so fast. There is actually a biblical precedent for that exact thing in Matthew 13:58. When Jesus would have healed people, He did not because of their unbelief. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His power to speak, provide, heal, and save are alive and well. If that power is not being manifested in the lives of believers today, it could be that our own doubt and low expectations are hindering it.
Ancient Israel’s Unbelief
“O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?”Micah 2:7
This was Micah’s response to the people of Judah when they told him to quit prophesying already. They were done with Micah’s doom and gloom predictions of impending judgment for their bad behavior. After all, they were God’s chosen people. Surely (and according to the false prophets) only blessings would follow. If that mouthy Micah would just be quiet, they thought, they could go on with their happy little lives. But just because the people didn’t want to hear the truth didn’t mean that they could stop consequences of it. Shortly thereafter, Jerusalem fell to the Assyrians for the sins of idolatry, dishonesty, and oppression of the poor.
See, the people of Judah thought God was the problem. How soon they forgot God’s words to Moses in Deuteronomy 27 and 28 which spelled out all the ways in which their very own actions would determine how God treated them. When they took God at His word and followed His commands, they would be blessed. When they disregarded His words, only curses and judgement would follow. In fact, the only restrictions to the blessings of the Spirit of God were the ones people provided for themselves.
God is the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever
The same is true with God’s people today. When we believe God, we will receive all the blessings His Word promises to us. If, on the other hand, we doubt or think too little of Him, we can limit God’s work in our lives.
God Still Speaks
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”John 10:27
The distinguishing difference between Christ possessors and Christ professors is that born again believers have a personal relationship with God. He teaches us and corrects us by highlighting passages when we read the Bible. He also speaks with His still small voice in our minds and sometimes through dreams and visions. God can even communicate through circumstances or the words of others, both believers and non-believers alike. No matter how He does it, He gets His point across so that the “conversation” is two ways.
But sometimes it seems as if the heavens are brass. We can’t seem to feel Him or hear what He would say to us. Instead of waiting on God for His direction, we can decide to take matters into our own hands. Without meaning to, we are communicating to God that we don’t believe He will answer or, even worse, that His answer isn’t worth waiting for. Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? No. He speaks today just like He did with ancient Israel. He is still our God and has a lot to say about the way we live our lives. We must believe that He not only wants to speak to us but will in His timing. We must wait upon the Lord.
God Still Provides
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:19
The Bible is full of verses about God’s great provision for His people. He knows what we need before we even ask Him. And when you start to talk to other believers, you can hear all kinds of stories about needs being met at just the right time and in amazing ways. But it isn’t just our physical needs that God makes sure are met. He meets our mental, emotional, and spiritual needs too. He takes care of everything the way a shepherd takes care of his sheep, the way a Father takes care of a child.
But while it’s easy to trust in the blessings of God when things are going great and all the bills are paid, things can change in a moment and throw us for a loop. When we get bad news about our housing situation, our vehicles, or our health. When we face the loss of a job or encounter a hostile situation at work or in our community. These are things that can make us start to feel anxious or fearful about the future. We can start to wonder how we will ever make it through.
But fears about the blessing and provision of God are just doubts about God’s character in disguise. Think about it. Has God ever left you alone no matter what you have had to face? Doesn’t He always come through even if it’s in unexpected ways? Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? No. God takes care of His own. It’s up to us to trust Him and rejoice in every circumstance, thanking God for the provision He has chosen for us.
God Still Heals
“O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.”Psalm 30:2
Story after story in the Old and New Testament alike testify to God’s willingness and ability to heal His people. Then as now, God can restore our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health when we ask Him in faith. Derek Prince, in his book (and YouTube video) entitled God’s Medicine Bottle, tells the story of how God healed him. He said that in the beginning of his year-long illness, he didn’t have enough faith for God to do it. It wasn’t until after he understood how to build his faith that it happened. He said one day it hit him that Roman 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” That was the key. He didn’t have the faith before, but faith COMES.
But sometimes God’s people have gone through so many trials and asked for healing so many times that it seems like God isn’t listening. Yes, it’s true that some illness is to be expected as a part of the human experience and the advancement of age. It’s also true that God can use illness to humble us, to teach us lessons, and to put us in a position to help someone else with a similar experience. But Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? No. Sometimes maybe we could be healed if we would just have a little more faith that God will do it.
God Still Saves
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”Ephesians 2:8-9
On the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke with power. He exhorted the people to repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. On that day alone, 3,000 people were moved to salvation. From that time and through the preaching of the disciples, the number of Christians has increased over the years. God’s gift of grace is still fully and completely available for all who are lost.
But things are so very different in these last days. People seem harder, less likely to open their hearts to the things of God. The number of Christians is diminishing, and so many of those who call themselves Christians now don’t even believe in the Bible as the standard anymore. Atheists aren’t interested. Lukewarm believers just think we’re crazy for having a biblical worldview. But is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? No. Jesus saves today like He saved back then. We can’t insult God by assuming that people are too far gone for Him to reach. We can’t give up praying and listening to the Holy Spirit’s leading about what to do and say to bring others to Christ.
Those of us who are born again are called “believers” for a reason. We believe. We believe in our hearts that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. But sometimes we can manifest practical unbelief by our thoughts and actions. And we might not even realize that’s what we’re doing.
Sometimes we might think God just doesn’t want to speak to us instead of waiting on Him to do it. Often, we worry when circumstances change, and we don’t see in the natural how our needs will be met. Or we can assume that God doesn’t want to heal us, or people are too hardened to be saved. But is the Spirit of the Lord Straitened? No. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is just as powerful now as He has aways been. And for those who walk uprightly and take Him at His word, He will show Himself strong just like He promised.
Want more good questions? Try Where Do You Labor in the Harvest of Souls? Or, try The Desires of the Heart: What’s Your One Thing? Please sign up to receive my blog in your email in-box. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud. I also have a playlist of hymns from my church.