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Does God co-operate with sinners?

Query for the Month

of

April 2004

Next up-date: May 1st 2004 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best on this subject that I have ever read!Flying bird


Query:

Isaiah 55:

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” says 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.”

Does this mean that God will never work with our ideas? 


Answer:

 This a question which has puzzled a few of us.  How can a holy God even APPEAR to co-operate with the sinful actions of saint and/or sinner?

 Yet this is what He does!! 

When He does so he is taking the risk that His way will be misunderstood even by His “friends”, yet He is willing to meet us more than halfway if we can be saved. (He went all the way at Calvary!)

 Let us see an example. After the Son of God made each species “after their kind”, we find this record:-

 Genesis 36:

24 And these are the children of Zibeon; both Ajah, and Anah: this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father.

Anah did not just “find” mules, for they are the result of mating horses and asses.  What he did was mis-mate them deliberately, for such behaviour would not have occurred naturally in the wild.  So Anah’s action was a sin.

What did the Son of God do about it?  While He was being listened to after the exodus from Egypt He explained that this was not the kind of behaviour He expected from His people.

Leviticus 19:

19  “You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let [cause] your cattle gender [mate] with a diverse [different] kind: you shall not sow your field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon you.

How they kept that advice from then on is not clear, but by the time some returned from Babylon with Nehemiah about 444BC we find that mules are a common item amongst them.

 Ezra 2:

63 And the Tirshatha [Nehemiah as governor] said to them [a special group], that they should not eat of the most holy things [as members of the priestly family], till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim [they should wait till there was high priest with the “yes” and “no” stones on his chest so the LORD could confirm their identity].

64 The whole congregation together was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, 65 beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty-seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women.

66 Their horses were seven hundred thirty-six; their mules, two hundred forty-five. 67 Their camels, four hundred thirty-five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty.  

Why did they have so many illegal animals?

 2 Chronicles 9:

23 And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart. 24 And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.

When the monarchy was formed against the Son of God’s advice, the enemies of God brought many presents to their fellow-rebels, amongst which were kings’ mounts, mules.  At first this was a voluntary offering to an equal as in David’s reign, but as time went by it became a tax imposed by Solomon.  Thus the mule became the means of transport for royalty in Israel!

 2 Samuel 13:

29 And the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded [they murdered him].  Then all the king's sons arose, and every man got him up upon his mule, and fled. [They were the Roll-Royce of the time.]  

One of the reasons the Son of God had for not using mules was their behaviour.  To favour them was to show a similar lack of sense!

 Psalm 32:

9 Be you not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle [by force], lest they come near to you.  

Yet. . .

 It is written in the gospel:

 Matthew 21:

4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Tell you the daughter of Sion, Behold, your King comes to you, meek, and [yet] sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass [a young one].”  

 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set Him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strowed [laid] them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, “Hosanna [Hurrah] to the son of David. Blessed is He that comes in the name of the LORD. Hosanna in the highest [thus recognising Him as the Son of David and the King of Israel].”  

 John 12:

14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, your King comes, sitting on an ass's colt [a mule].”

He did this in accordance with the 1,000 year old custom of Israel. When David was ready to abdicate in favour of his son Solomon, he caused him to appear in public riding the royal steed.  This confirmed Solomon’s appointment, and the use of the same ceremonial confirmed Christ’s as the Son of David.

 1 Kings 1:

32 And king David said, “Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada.”  And they came before the king. 33 The king also said to them, “Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon. 34 And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow you with the trumpet, and say, ‘God save king Solomon’.”

So, does God work with what He has on earth?

The answer in this case is easily seen.  Are we willing to believe it where it is not so clear? 

 Malachi 3:

6 “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7 Even from the days of your fathers you are gone away from My ordinances, and have not kept them. [But] return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. [In the meantime He works with what He is given.]

Conclusion:

Because God gives us absolute freedom of choice, He often has to work with us in ways He would rather not.  So long as those things are not vital to salvation He can do this.  In the meantime, He holds out to us the optimum way and tells us that if we fail of following that way there will be consequences.  One of those penalties (results) might be physical death, and if so, He must allow us to go in to that situation and be resurrected into His kingdom later.

Of course, if we are determined to rebel continually against His advice, then He must also allow us to have our own way without His co-operation. This then leads  to being "cut off" from Him.


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
Next query. To be discussed from April 1st 2004.

How did the plants which were created on the third day survive when the sun was not alight until the fourth day? 

Where did Cain get his wife from?

Two very common questions next month.  Common and yet seemingly endlessly asked, so let's spend a little time considering them.

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