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They Limited God

Updated on March 8, 2020

Studying the bible is always good. For years, I have been studying the bible and I found it wonderful


Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines limit as a point at which something stops being possible or existing.

Sometimes when we hear some words, we would think we are not hearing right, we would think such words is not possible an example of such word is what I titled this article, “limiting God”.

One seeing this article in a jiffy we shall think and or ask that “how possible is that?” Is that person who is limiting God insane? Is the person out of his mind? Or does the person belong to the class of people who do not believe in God? If the person belongs to the class of those who do not believe in the existence of God then, we shall say no wonder he or she is limiting God.

However, this word is found from the bible and being refer to of the people who believed in the existence of a superior being, power. It is those people who were discovered by the author of the book to have limited God by their actions.

I will want us to see those people and what makes the author of the book to say that they limited God as well as bring this close to us today, to know maybe we are also limiting God or nay by our actions.

Who Are Those People?

The author of the book of Psalms while given a summary of the journey of the children of Israel in the wilderness, as they were being led of God to go and possess the land he has promised to give unto their fore parents, Abraham, isaac and Jacob that when they got to a certain juncture, they acted in a funny manner and by their actions he discovered that they have limited God. This account we shall find in chapter 78 and verse 41 of the book of Psalms.

Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. (Psa. 78:41)

How did They Limit God?

Having known those people who limited God that they were not those who do not believe in the existence of God let us see some of the ways in which they have limited God.


1. By Turning Away from Him

The people turned away from him to other gods when they were in the wilderness, because they had been carried away by some of the things they had experienced in Egypt and felt they need more of such which were not forthcoming at that instance.

Another way by which they turned away from him was by saying they will return to Egypt. They by saying this do not believe in the leadership of God and his chosen vessels again.

And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?

And they said one to another, let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. (Num 14:3-4)

2. By Tempting Him

Their form of limitation comes in the form of saying what other miracles can he do? What else does he have to offer? What else can he do that he has not done? He has killed the erring people, he has killed the Egyptians will he do more than that? They limited him when they were saying those words within them because of their desire to eat flesh as they were doing in the land of Egypt forgetting that God still has more that he can offer them.

3. They Limit Him by Setting a Mark for Him

Professor Alexander says, “on the Holy One of Israel, (they) set a mark”. They say beyond a certain point they do not think God can act again and if he can act beyond that point, he should prove that to them.

We like them have set mark for God because of the experience we have had, because of some of the stories we have read from books that God did so and so but did not exceed that.

4. They Signed Him

Targum says of this place that they limited him by “signing” him. This means they ask for a sign from him to prove to them that he can do more, he can do better.

I have once interacted with a church member who says, for everything he wants to do he will ask for sign from the Lord and if the Lord does not supply those signs, he would not make advancements. And I told the brother that, when one gets to a certain stage in faith God expects us to grow over the position of asking for sign from him for everything we want to do.

Signs usually are for babies in faith as children would always ask for signs from their parents when leaving home, but when those children get to certain stage, they would not ask for signs again.

The children of Israel acted in this wise, “signing” the Lord, asking for signs to show that he was the one who was really in the scene.

Jarchi while talking about the children of Israel “signing” the Lord says, they insisted that a miracle be wrought to convince them that he is still the one shepherding them.

Gill’s in his commentary says, men limit God when they fix on a blessing that they would have, even that, and not another; and the measure of it, to what degree it should be bestowed on them, as well as set the time when they would have it; whereas the blessing itself, and the degree of it, and the time of giving it, should all be left with the Lord; who knows which and what of it is most convenient for us and when it is the best time to bestow it on us.

5. Measure God by Their Capacity

The Geneva study bible says the people limited God by comparing his capacity to theirs’. How true this is today to all of us, because we have been troubled so much, we sometimes view God in the human’s periscope and would assume because those we have ran to have failed to bring such to pass even God cannot bring it to pass too.

6. They Limited Him by their Unbelief

Cambridge in his opinion of this says, the Israelites limited God because of their unbelief. This unbelief is the reason why Jesus could not perform mighty miracles in some towns when he was on earth.

And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Mat 13:58)


Holy One of Israel

Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. (Psa. 78:41)

Cambridge adds that though the Holy One of Israel (which is commonly found in the book of Isaiah could be found here and in Psalms 71:22 and 89:18) in the name God has chosen for himself to show his character, that though he is the Holy God, yet he does not allow for iniquities to go un-attended to, even when Prophet Moses trespassed he dealt with them because he is no respecter of persons. He dealt with Moses and Aaron by preventing them from entering the promised land to show them that though he is holy, yet he will deal with sin. This attribute of God, Moses and Aaron got to know in a hard way. (Num 20:12-13)

As a good father would not leave the iniquities of his children un-attended to, without punishing them for it, that is how God dealt with the Israelites and by that they all know that he is holy and called himself their God by that.

If we can also allow this truth to sink in us, we shall know that he also is our God and father who will not allow our sins to go without been addressed without us being punished for those sins irrespective of how filled in the spirit we are.

Poll Limit God

Have you at a time or another limit God before?

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How We Limit God today

As believers under the dispensation of grace we also fall into the purview of what the Israelites fell into in the wilderness today and we sometimes limit God within us through some of these ways.

1. In Times of Suffering: When suffering is much, we tend to limit God within our hearts, we would have forgotten those things he has done for us in the past as the Israelites did in the wilderness and when they were without leaders (or rulers) in the land of Canaan.

2. Delay to Our Requests: Sometimes when our petitions are not being answered by God when we thought he would answer them we tend to limit him within our hearts.

3. Position of Authority: Some of us when we get to position of authority and we can call this to come and it comes and that to go and it goes, like King Nebuchadnezzar of the bible we tend to limit God within our hearts, saying that even if God be present can he do more than this? If one does not caution himself when he gets to the position of authority in the world, such a one would always be at cross paths with the Lord.

4. Effects of Terrorists: Some areas where terrorists have dominated in the land, those people living in that area seeking for succor and deliverance if such is not forthcoming at the time, they expected they may by that limit God within their hearts.


God does not want to share his glory with other beings neither gods,

(Isa. 42:8) he wants to take full glory on our lives, thence he expects for us to believe him in all we are doing, he does not want us to limit him, he does not want us to set some time limits for him as some people are doing. Does our setting time limits for him means that if he does not do it at the time we shall backslide and not follow him again? That is a form of threat to the Holy One of Israel we cannot threaten him, in as much as he understands our plight and what we are passing through he wants us to trust his judgment, wholly trust him and have strong believe that he would never disappoint us. If we can have such believe, whatever comes our paths we shall know that he is always there and would make those things work for our good (Rom. 8:28).



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