Monday, September 14, 2009

Focusing on one issue

In the God's pleasure; man's free will thread, the discussion has focused on general/limited atonement and conditional/unconditional election, though not necessarily in so many words. I have despaired that we will get back to the actual theme in that comment thread, so I have pulled out one context to post here and see anyone wants to discuss it. Please keep discussing on the other thread.

In the book of Numbers God records Israel coming to the land of the Amorites. They sent messengers to Sihon the king asking to be allowed to pass through thy land: they said would go straight through and not get off the main highway. Sihon would not give permission for Israel to pass through his country but rather gathered his people together to fight against Israel.

In a divine commentary on this incident we are told: "But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day. (Deut 2:30)" Do you believe it? Is it so? The reason Sihon did not allow the Israelites to pass through his land peacefully is because God hardened him and made him obstinate. The end of this was to judge him and give his land to the people of Israel.

So I ask you, do you believe the Bible as it is literally recorded here? Did God actually harden Sihon's spirit and make his heart obstinate, or do we need to shave it here and there to make it fit our ideas of free will and fairness? Is it wrong because it is not fair, or must it right because God did it? Or something else?


Anonymous said...

Brother Robert I will answer your first recently posted comment.

Yes, I believe the Bible!
God hardened his heart and it was right. Also, I would like to share some verses, regarding Eli rebuking his sons, with two comments.

1 Sam. 2:25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.

1. It is the will of the Lord that children obey/honor their parents.

2. It was the will of the Lord to kill them.


Anonymous said...

forgot the follow up

R. L. Vaughn said...

Brother Alderman, I posted the following on the other thread and am repeating some of it here.

God said to Pharaoh I raised you up to show my power and there was nothing Pharaoh could do to change that, free will or not. In context first there is Pharaoh, who God prophesied He would harden and did harden long before Pharaoh "ultimately rejected" anything. Second in context it is "whom He will" (v. 18). God hardened Sihon's heart, made him obstinate, and judged him. We can debate endless suppositions, but it is a simple fact that when God did it Sihon had no choice. Eli's sons were not free to hearken to their father, because the Lord had determined to slay them (II. Sam. 2:25). Nebuchadnezzar was not free to do what he wanted when God sent him to the pasture like an animal (Dan. 4:28-35). We cannot by our free will decide to open what God has shut or shut what God has opened (Rev. 3:7).

God will not violate His character or His Word. When we read in the inspired word that God undertook some course of action or declared something, we can be guaranteed that He did not violate His character or His Word. However baffled I may be in trying to reconcile that God cannot lie and that He sent a lying spirit to the prophets of Ahab, I can nevertheless be confident that He did not violate anything in Himself. Who will dare say that He did?