2000-11-02 - God Wouldn't!
Isa 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (KJV)
Jonah had it right before any of us. He tried to run from God's call to go to Nineveh because he knew that God would be merciful and forgive the repentant inhabitants. Now, please don't get me wrong. His attitude was all wrong in wanting to see the city destroyed. But Jonah knew that even the people of Nineveh could not be beyond the reach of God.
I'm going to take this a little out of context. The text here is calling for repentance of the nations and of individuals. But this statement is filled with truth. God is so far beyond us, that the presumption that we absolutely know how He will react in a given situation is childish. The idea that He is limited in any way is foolish. I'm not talking about someone praying for forgiveness with a broken heart before God. Yes, the Lord will forgive. We have His promise to us that He will not turn away the penitent heart.
But is there anything that is beyond God's ability to use? When Paul and his company tried to go to Asia, they were "pushed out of measure," or sorely tried and "despaired even of life" - they thought they were going to die. Some commentators write that this is where Paul contracted malaria which would devastate his eyesight. Paul writes the Galatians with "large letters" because his eyesight is so poor. Some also believe that this was Paul's thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7). This was given to Paul to keep him from becoming proud or boastful after he had been taken up into the third heaven. So, the limited eyesight served God's purpose.
Did God send the malaria to Paul, or did Paul remove himself from God's protection by trying to go into Asia with the Gospel? Well, let's all dance madly on the head of a pin. Yes, we each have free will and Paul used his to try to go to Asia. Yes, God is absolutely in control and nothing happens that is beyond His sovereign control. Are the two at odds with each other? I don't think so. It is simply the finite human mind trying to grasp the infinite power and majestic being of God. The two facets will appear to work in concert independently when God's hand is guiding all the pieces at all times.
The only thing God will not do is violate His own character, and therefore His own laws. If someone truly repents, we can know that God has promised to show grace and mercy to that person. When Peter had denied the Lord three times, Jesus kept asking Peter, "Do you love me?" And Peter, who's pride had been crushed finally responded, "You know all things, You know that I love you." When any one of us might have had some slight doubt, Peter appealed to Jesus Himself saying that his heart was open before the Lord with nothing hidden from Him. God knows. He doesn't have to think about it, He knows - everything. He is unlimited, and unrestrained by time, space or thought. And since we can barely begin to grasp that as a concept, let alone in all the details, it is unwise for us to be saying exactly what God will or will not do or use, that He has not specifically told us He will or will not do.
The laws of physics were suspended while the sun stood still for Moses, Joshua and the army of Israel. If the Creator of the Universe can command light to be created from nothing days before stars are created, then I don't think germs or viruses or the hearts of the Ninevites are beyond the control of God.
Lord Jesus - help us to not speak for You where You have not already spoken. Give us awe for Your omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. Amen.
Grace & Peace,