JOB & JOSEPH, Part 1b
Faithful in Trials
From last week: However, while God possesses this control, He also delegates free will to every one of us. Proverbs 16:9 says “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” But doesn’t this contradict itself?
I have heard Ravi Zacharias speak on God’s sovereignty many times and I love what he once said. I believe it gives the best understanding to this very question. He said:
“The ultimate or supreme ethic in life is love. Necessary to the ethic of love is free will. You cannot have love without the freedom to not love otherwise you have conformity and compliance, which really is not love.
“The greatest gift of God is free will in order for us to love. With that gift, however, comes the possibility of calamity when you violate that love and then the consequences follow. We know that there is both good and evil and both are very real; therefore, the human heart must recognize this and choose that which is good otherwise you live in a world of non-concrete expressions where you can choose bad with no consequences.
“In the supreme effort of God to bring us to Himself, He gives us love and the freedom to choose to love. He has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Him.”
The very first introduction in the Bible to human freedom is found in Genesis 2:15-17. Here the Lord has just created man through His limitless power and now has placed him in a beautiful garden home…the Garden of Eden. Verse 15 says:
“The Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work and take care of it. (v. 16) And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; (v. 17) but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
I love here how God does not put physical restraints on Adam from eating this fruit. Rather, He loving gave Adam the choice with the possibility of choosing wrongly and thus suffering the consequences.
Without choice, Adam would have been like a prisoner or robot and his obedience to God would have been empty and hollow. His love for the Lord would not have been genuine and neither would his choice to obey him… it would have been forced. And really no one wants to be loved out of obligation or force.
We don’t want to be loved because we have to be loved but because our family and friends want to love us. We want to be loved genuinely and that’s the same type of love God wants to receive from us.
Just as the Lord desires all of us to choose to obey him; so He gave this choice also to Adam and He did so freely without restraint. As being our Creator and sovereign, however, He does give us limits on our choices.
We can choose, just like Adam, to do right or wrong and with each choice comes the consequences; those being either good or bad. So then,
“God’s control over human free will is not in the forcing of willpower as much as it is in the allowance of limited human determination.” —John Christy
Stay tuned for next week…and Part 1c.
[Past episodes: Part 1a]