The Misery of Contending with God
Isaiah 45:9
Woe to him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth…

I. SPECIFY SOME INSTANCES IN WHICH THE SINNER MAY BE CONSIDERED AS STRIVING WITH GOD. I hardly think it worth while to mention atheism, which opposes His very being, and tries to banish Him from the world which He has made. Some, indeed, have supposed that a speculative atheist is an impossibility. How far God may give up a man "to strong delusion to believe a lie," who has despised and rejected the advantages of revelation, it is not for us to determine, — but "if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" It is undeniable, however, that we have a multitude of practical atheists. That is, we have thousands who live precisely as they would do if they believed there was no God. They strive with Him —

1. By transgressing His holy and righteous law.

2. By opposing the Gospel.

3. By violating the dictates of conscience.

4. By refusing to resign themselves to the dispensations of His providence.

5. By the persecution of His people.

6. By trying to hinder the spread of His cause.


1. A practice the most shameful and ungrateful. What would you think of a child who should strive with his father, reproach his character, counteract all his designs, and endeavour to injure his concerns? But such is your conduct towards God.

2. A practice the most unreasonable and absurd. For observe — in all the instances in which you oppose Him He is aiming to promote your good: His design is to make you wise, to make you holy, to make you happy; and the advantages of compliance will be all your own. Besides, can you do without Him? In life? In death?

3. Therefore nothing can be more injurious and ruinous. In striving with Him, you only resemble the wave that dashes against the rock, and is driven back in foam; or the ox that kicks against the goad, and only wounds himself; or the thorns and briers that should set themselves in battle array against the fire. To improve this awful subject let me ask — Whether you are for God or against Him? There is no neutrality here. We have been speaking of a striving with God which is unlawful and destructive — but there is a striving with Him which is allowable and necessary. It is by prayer and supplication.

(W. Jay.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

WEB: Woe to him who strives with his Maker— a clay pot among the clay pots of the earth! Shall the clay ask him who fashions it, 'What are you making?' or your work, 'He has no hands?'

The Indelicacy of Criticising God
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