Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey…and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so I will return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God…” (Genesis 28: 20-21 NIV). Jacob haggled. Rather than receive the blessing and be grateful, the bargain hunter spoke to God the way he would speak to a camel trader.
A working term for this might be transactional theology. It presupposes that we meet God on equal terms. He’s got what I want. I have what he wants. Wrong. Anytime we suggest that God is an ATM who dispenses goodness if we enter the correct PIN, we border on heresy. We’ve exchanged the transcendent God to whom we’re accountable for a dependent God who’s accountable to us. Let’s remember, we come to God with empty hands and an open heart.