Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sowing and Reaping

God is Ruler and God over the universe. He makes things happen as He justly chooses. We know some of how God likes to run things from His Perfect Word:

Galatians 6:7
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap."

Some people in the world see that life seems to operate according to the rules of cause and effect, and conclude then that the universe is like a giant clock, in no need of a Ruling sovereign. They will say "of course the wheat grows! It does not come from God, but science dictates that it must grows!" They do not realize that they very laws of science are from God. That God decrees that the wheat must grow, has put science in place, and continues to command science to continue in the same way. In the same way, cause and effect is seen in work, in relationships, etc. In the same way, this is not because there was no other way it could have happened, but rather because it pleases God to make the world operate generally in that manner.

On this tangent, when we sow evil, God justly judges us by giving us the reaping of that evil.

Beautiful and terrible case in point:

Ahab and his prophets...

2 Chronicles 18...
Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”
So they said, “Go up, for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.”
But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him?”
So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil. He is Micaiah the son of Imla.”

All the false prophets lie. The King wants a lie (as we see, as the story unfolds) and God sends a lying spirit into the mouth of all those prophets. They know that this is not the truth from God...

Then he came to the king; and the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”
And he said, “Go and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand!”
So the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”
Then he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, "These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace."

This is incredible! Ahab knows that his victory is a lie, and asks for the truth. He, then, still rejects the truth...

Then the king of Israel said, “Take Micaiah, and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son; and say, ‘Thus says the king: “Put this fellow in prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and water of affliction, until I return in peace.”’
But Micaiah said, “If you ever return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Take heed, all you people!”

Ahab's heart desired a lie, God gives him the lie he wants. God also gives him truth, and Ahab, who hears the truth and recognizes it as truth, blocked it from his heart, choosing instead to listen to what he knows is a lie. "Hearing, he hears not." Thus God gives him the reaping of what He had sown, and he perished in battle. What a sobering story.

Some may read the story and think to themselves, "Why would a God of truth send someone lies?" I may be wrong, but it seems to me that God wants all to believe truth, and He punishes those who want lies by giving them what they want. What a terrible and just punishment. In fact, it reminds me of hell. Some people simply want no part in God, and God gives them exactly what they ask for, sending them to the only existent place where He is not.

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'
C. S. Lewis


Mark said...

It would seem odd that God would want something that does not come to pass. I may be wrong, but it seems scripture speaks of God's will always being done.

Skarlet said...

Ephesians 1:11 (New King James Version)
"In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will"

Mark, I agree that God's will is always done. However, it is simplistic to think of God's will as a single line of "wants." If we knew that nothing would happen save that God allows it, and therefore conclude that He wants bad stuff to happen, then we would have to conclude that God wants every theft, every lie, every abuse, every murder, and every blasphemy to occur.

Now, some do believe that, but I think that God is Holy and Righteous and not only does not do evil, but also does not desire evil, delight in evil, or otherwise "want" evil to happen.

In the verse I quoted above, notice that all things are worked together according to the counsel of God's will. God's will is multi-faceted, complex, and works in according with itself.

Now, I want to eat brownies. I also want to stay thin and healthy. In the counsel of my own will, I choose to eat brownies only on occasion. I am not eating brownies right now. Does that mean that I no longer desire to eat brownies? Well, no, because I do desire to eat brownies. Does it mean that I do not have the power to get brownies? Well, no, because I absolutely could get my hands on some brownies!

I want it, I have the power to get it, and yet I don't have it? Does that contradict itself? No, it doesn't, because you have to take into account my other desires, which I choose to put more priority on. Therefore, I do not will to have brownies right now.

Now, God's will is even more complex than mine! If I can desire something, desire something else more, and will not to satisfy the first desire immediately and constantly, then how much more can God WILL all things in accordance with the entire counsel of His will (and "wants" to use your term)

Skarlet said...

Mark, I just had another thought. You might like to read the three posts I have on compatablism, so that you can have a better understanding of my view of how God's Sovereignty interacts with the choices of man. You may not agree, but you will better understand the position at least:

Mark said...

Now, some do believe that, but I think that God is Holy and Righteous and not only does not do evil, but also does not desire evil, delight in evil, or otherwise "want" evil to happen.

I agree God does not do evil. However, from an apologetic and scripture point of view, God's "plan" includes the existance of evil (sin). If it didn't God's plan is reactionary - not only to the fall of men, but of His created angels (Satan and his those who followed him).

There is a battle, on earth and in the heavens, but this battle is ordained / decreed / allowed/ etc.. it is His will, no?

Mark said...

btw - I want you to know it is a pleasure to discuss and even disagree with you - You have exhibited nothing but utter Christ like grace; not to mention you are one "smart" young lady!

Skarlet said...

Mark, thank you for your gracious words, and I must say that you have also shown nothing by Christlike character in our conversations.

I said above that I do not believe that God actively desires evil, but I do agree with you that everything that happens did not come as a surprise to Him, but was rather intentionally permitted. God created the world, knowing full well that man would fall, and reigns over every event such that nothing happens without His go-ahead.

I simply reserve the term "will of God" for the Scriptural use, which defines what God wants, rather than what He simply allows.

1 Thessalonians 4:3
"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;"

Like I said before, it seems that you and me mostly agree on the workings of God over creation, and His sovereign reign over the world -- we just consistently seem to be using different terms to describe the concepts

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