Is God a Vending Machine?

Let God, through Jesus, soften your heart today. Let Him shape you and mold you and in this we will see what His abundant life is truly about. By Major Matthew Satterlee

Do you remember the pre-school toy, “Shape and Sort?” You take the square-shaped block and put it in the square hole. You take the circle-shaped block and try to fit in the square hole and you open yourself to the ridicule of toddlers. 

The “Shape and Sort” toy is a reminder of another Bible verse that gets taken and used out of context. Open to Psalm 37 and you’ll find the fourth verse, “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4, ESV). Hot dog! All I must do is be happy in Him and He’ll give me whatever I want?!? This is the elite verse of the “Vending Machine God.” I put in my happy coins and out pops whatever I want. Cuter boyfriend? Done. Nice car? Check. Two kids, a house and a dog? I got you. 

No. God is not a genie waiting to grant wishes. 

God is not a cosmic vending machine in which you deposit prayers or devotional pages, and then you get “the desires of your heart.” That’s an “achieve and earn it” god and a discussion for another day. 

In the verse, we see the word “delight.” The word “delight” here is the Hebrew word “anog.” Anog means to be delicate, to be soft, to be moldable. When we delight in the Lord, we allow Him to shape us like playdough. As we grow in Him, He molds us and shapes us into His will. It’s in this shaping that He shows us how shallow popularity is. It’s in this molding that He shows us how ensnaring the love of money is. It’s in this surrendering to the Shaper that we are shown what’s truly important in life. 

Don’t forget, the word “desires” is there after the shaping, molding and softening has happened. Side note, the Bible doesn’t use the word “wishes.” 

Let God, through Jesus, soften your heart today. Let Him shape you and mold you and in this we will see what His abundant life is truly about. We’ll begin to care less and less about winning the lottery or taking the vacations we see on Instagram. We’ll begin to have a heart for our family, for our friends, for the lost, for the things in life that are unseen, but which are eternal. 

Too many people are looking at God as a Shape and Sort. We want our square-shaped block to fit into His circled will. Nope. Let Him mold, shape, clean off the edges of us and then, when we are in His will, He will give us the desires of our heart.

Psalm 37:4

Dig Deeper:

In life, what is a true “want” and what is a true “need”? 

Which of our “wishes” would really line up with what God desires for us? 

Are we guilty of making God a vending machine for our selfish and worldly desires? 

  • December 1: John 8:31-32
  • December 2: Deuteronomy 6:6-7
  • December 4: Psalm 119:105
  • December 5: Isaiah 64:8
  • December 6: Jeremiah 18
  • December 7: Romans 9:20
  • December 8: Isaiah 29:1
  • December 9: 2 Timothy 2:20-21
  • December 10: Job 10:8-9
  • December 11: Ephesians 2:10
  • December 12: 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • December 13: Lamentations 4:2
  • December 14: Job 33:6
  • December 15: Psalm 139:13
  • December 16: Psalm 100:3
  • December 17: Isaiah 44:24
  • December 18: Romans 8:28
  • December 19: Colossians 3:5
  • December 20: Luke 12:15
  • December 21: Hosea 6:6
  • December 22: Isaiah 26:9
  • December 23: 1 John 2:15-17
  • December 24: James 4:1-3
  • December 25: Hebrews 13:5
  • December 26: 2 Timothy 2:22
  • December 27: Matthew 6:33
  • December 28: Matthew 6:21
  • December 29: Matthew 5:6
  • December 30: Ephesians 3:20-21
  • December 31: Galatians 5:16

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