Myth: God Never Violates Man’s “Free Will”

Daily Scripture readings for October, set #1:

1 Samuel, chapters 1-2
Psalm 95
Mark 9:33-50
2 Corinthians 1:1-11

1 Samuel 2 contains two significant and noteworthy descriptions of God’s sovereignty. Hannah, in giving praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, declares in verses 6-7: “The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.” Then, in verse 25, the author gives reason for why Eli’s wicked sons were unrepentant and stubborn in their wickedness: “But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.” The question, then, is whether these instances of God’s direct orchestration of the events of mankind are solo examples (just “one-offs” of this level of God’s involvement in history’s developments), or if this is how it always works. What CANNOT be stated, in light of these verses, is that God NEVER “violates” the “free will” of mankind in order to accomplish his purposes.

Psalm 95 is referenced heavily in Hebrews chapter 3, and reading that chapter can bring a lot of insight to today’s Psalm. Not only that, but I think Amy Grant wrote a hit worship song using verses 6-7…

Mark 9:49 is a difficult to understand statement from Jesus, and isn’t paralleled anywhere else in the Gospels. “For everyone will be salted with fire.” I did a quick google search on this verse and found this article from the “NT Resources” blog. The article is somewhat helpful, but very academically worded  and leaves me with some questions still.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 provides a helpful look into why God allows us to suffer, and what he intends by comforting us in our suffering. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and  God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” Bottom line: our pain and our comfort, neither of these are about US.

Daily Scripture readings for October, set #2:

1 Samuel, chapters 3-5
Psalm 96
Mark 10:1-16
2 Corinthians 1:12-24

1 Samuel 3, verse 7: “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” I wonder if the word “because” could be substituted for the word “and.”

Stark and obvious comparison in Psalm 96, verse 5: “For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.” Worthless idols vs Creator of the universe.

I’m curious to know if Jesus’ response to the Pharisees regarding Moses’ divorce law was meant to undermine or invalidate Moses’ law. “And Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment'” (Mk 10:5). So… a commandment that only exists because of hard hearts isn’t legitimate?

Let’s face it… the ESV wording of today’s reading in 2 Corinthians is very difficult to follow. After reading it I also took some time to read the NLT translation, and it helped quite a bit.

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