Although God calls the shots for the overall direction of His creation, He has given each of us a wonderful, and simultaneously frightful, gift—the ability to make choices in life. Our choices are the real thing, not simply illusions.
As Moses stated to the children of Israel in the desert,
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life. (Deut. 30:19-20)
He was telling them that after they entered the Promised Land, the key to their being blessed by God was their obedience. It did matter what they decided.
Jesus later looked out over the city of Jerusalem and, with pain in His voice and His heart, cried,
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Luke 13:34)
Jesus’ pronouncement makes it abundantly clear that even though He [God] wanted to bless the people, He could not. Their disobedience sealed their fate. Now, some people might consider it ludicrous that God can be prevented from doing what He wants to do. Yet here is clear testimony to that truth. In fact, any time a person sins, God’s will is not being done. Every sin is a deviation from the clear will and purpose of God.
But doesn’t God work all things together for good? Won’t everything be fine in spite of what men do? That question will be answered in the next post.