Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Musings

Today's lesson at church was on God's omniscience. He knows everything - everything that ever happened in the past, everything that is happening right now, and everything that will happen in the future. He also knows what would have happened if we made different choices in the past, as well as what could happen depending on what choices we are making now and those we will make in the future.

So, some people ask, why bother? If God knows what will happen, why bother making decisions? Does it even matter?


It matters because God wants it that way. He wants us to have responsibility over the choices we make. Otherwise Adam and Eve wouldn't have had a choice. God didn't have to plant the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He didn't have to give them a choice. If he wanted humans to blindly do His will it would have been easy to leave that tree out.

But He didn't. He gave them a choice. Yes, they chose wrong, and there were consequences for that bad choice. Big ones, huge ones, changing the course of humanity ones - but that's another lesson.

So, back to the main point, we have a choice. We have a responsibility to take our decisions seriously and deal with the consequences. God knows what we will do. He knows what choices we will make. But they're our choices. His omniscience does not supersede our responsibility.

I can relate to this in a small way as a wife and mother. I can predict the behavior of my husband and son. I know when they're about to make a decision, be it good or bad. Many times I know (because I know them so well) what their decision will be, and I can predict what will happen because of that decision. I know that when my husband eats the last few wings "just because I'd hate to waste them" that he will have overdone it and feel bad the next few hours. I know that when my son is eating and waving his food down below his tray where the dog is (even though I've sent the dog to the living room 10 times already) eventually the dog will take that yummy treat and my son will be upset. I know these things, but that doesn't change the fact that my husband is responsible for his overstuffed stomach and my son is responsible for his lost snack. And that doesn't even come close to how all-knowing God is about our choices.

So God knows everything. How does that apply to everyday life? Sometimes we humans get frustrated when we don't know what's happening. We don't see the big picture, we're not in on the big plan. But we shouldn't give up. We may not see God's plan while it's in action, but He does. When we don't understand the methods, we can still trust the intentions and believe that the outcome will be godly. Even when we mess up, He knows. He knew ahead of time that we'd do that. But we can't mess His plan up. Sure, we can make decisions that He's not pleased with, but since He knew ahead of time what we'd do He already made allowances for it. And when we see the error of our ways and come back to Him, we can get back on track and still be part of the plan.

Case in point, the apostle Peter. He was one of Jesus' chosen men. He worked side by side with Him during his ministry. He said he'd follow Jesus into jail and even death. But God knew. The gospels tell how Jesus told him that he'd deny even knowing Him 3 times leading to His death. And he was right. Peter fled when Jesus was arrested (after cutting off someone's ear). He hid around the fires during the trial. When people recognized him and called him out he denied it, 3 times. But God's plan went on without him. And after Jesus rose Peter went back to His side and was able to be one of the most instrumental tools in the new church. But I'm sure he never forgot what it felt like to deny Jesus. To realize that he was a coward and did exactly what he swore he'd never do. He had to live with that consequence, but it didn't wind up defining his life, because he went and got back on track with the plan.

Our choices effect us and our relationship with God. Since He knows ahead of time what our choices will be, we aren't actually altering His plan, just our participation in it. He lets us fail, so we can learn. So, we need to learn from our mistakes. Listen when we think God's warning us - His warnings don't come from guesswork or bad information. He knows the outcome. He wants us to be part of the plan, for our own good.

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