The Better Will

A couple of months ago my friend Kenny totally blew my mind and I still have not gotten over it.


Kenny claimed that God is totally sovereign and human beings have total free will. 


At the same time.


That’s right–God is totally, absolutely, ultimately, omnipotently, omnisciently in control of absolutely every thing that takes place in heaven and earth. 


And, we are free to choose absolutely whatever we want to do whenever we want to do it. 


Yes, those two concepts are seemingly absolutely, totally diametrically opposed to one another.  How could I possibly believe I chose to have a radish sandwich for supper totally of my own volition and at the very same time believe God controls every radish ever made into a sandwich ever to have existed in all the universe?


That’s crazy.


Ahh, but we believe in the Trinity, don’t we? We believe that God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in three distinct and separate persons but is at the same time ONE God. We accept that and even embrace it, even though it’s clearly beyond our ability to comprehend or understand fully.


And what about Jesus being fully God and fully man all at the same time? Again, that’s totally counter intuitive and impossible through our human understanding. That’s only possible supernaturally.


And there’s the point.


God is supernatural. We accept Him as infinite, immutable, eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, gloriously perfect and holy, and possessing a perfect love for us.  All of those are supernatural qualities. Every song, every preacher, every announcer  on Kinship Christian radio doesn’t just believe that, it is the very reason for our worship of Him!


But, wait,  if we can choose to do whatever we want, aren’t we in danger of choosing wrongly and messing up God’s plan for our lives? 


I was smiling when I typed that.


Let’s look at Jonah: 

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. (Jonah 1:1-3 NIV)


Clearly, Jonah ran away from the Lord of his own free will. God did not put him in chains or place him in Ninevah in the blink of an eye –as he surely could have.


But, we know how this turns out. 


Jonah tells those with him on the ship to throw him overboard when the Lord sends a huge storm and endangers his life and the lives of all those on the ship. He is swallowed by a huge fish and ends up laying on the beach three days later smelling like fish vomit.


And here’s the part they left out in Sunday School: The Assyrians in Ninevah worshiped Dagon and Nanshe who were male and female fish gods.


God knew.


When He told Jonah to go, our omniscient God knew exactly what Jonah would do of his own free will before Jonah knew he was going to do it. And, God knew that what Jonah would do would fit His plans perfectly. 


How about Job?


When the devil came strutting around God looking to cause trouble, God was the one who mentioned Job.


Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8 NIV)


As you know, that’s followed by many, many chapters of really, really bad stuff happening to Job, including chapter after chapter of his “friends” blaming him for his misfortune and his wife advising him to, (and I quote) “curse God and die!” (Job 2:9)


In all of this, Job never does curse God. He questions God. He wonders why all this has happened, but the devil never does win out over Job –or over God. 


In the end, God poses 77 questions to Job, all of which boil down to, “Just who do you think you are, little man?”


And God never tells Job about His conversation with the devil, or why any of that took place.


God knew Job. He knew how Job would respond. He specifically sent the devil to Job because God knew exactly what would happen.


And that’s why I smiled when I typed that sentence about messing up God’s plan. He is GOD! I’m just a man, a creation of God, made of the dust of the ground whom He breathed into and gave life! I am His! 


Yes, I can oppose God. I can even run away from Him, but if I do, I have no reason to complain if I end up on some beach somewhere smelling like fish vomit.  I can make decisions which I will look back on and later decide are mistakes, but God is GOD! I believe He can use whatever He wants for whatever purposes He wants whenever and however He wants. I believe that knowing He’s got all of this under His control no matter what happens creates such an amazing freedom and such a sense of awe and wonder that I totally believe a radish sandwich for supper will be used by Him for His glory in some way –if HE so chooses!


And that is why Jesus taught us to pray “thy will be done.”




Today’s Praise

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20 (NIV)


Written by Dan Jones




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