Monday, 20 January 2014

Shelf Item No. 4

(This reading is based on Proverbs 16 and is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Church.)

Bearing in mind that Jesus suggested that we become as little children in some of our responses to Him we continue with the toy store analogy (with every verse, a different toy on the shelf). Today in aisle 16 of the store named "Proverbs," shelf item No. 4 jumps out at me a bit more than the others - it is the most curious or troubling: "The Lord has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom." Here's an exciting revelation, as hinted by a fellow blogger - we can walk away with every toy in the store, we really don't have to "choose" one; there's enough for everyone to get one of each.

       x Hasbro%20Inc.%20toys%20based%20on%20Marvels%20The%20Avengers%20movie%20sit%20on%20the%20shelf%20at%20a%20Target%20Corp.%20store.%20%28Emile%20Wamsteker%20/%20Bloomberg%29
Does the above passage mean that it is God who selects whom He saves (notwithstanding what the individual may choose to do with his/her life)? Is it that God makes some of us wicked (just for the day of doom), and others of us good ( that we may inherit eternal life)? Does God predestinate?
A surface reading of Proverbs 4: 16 would make the answers to the above questions a resounding YES in each case. But wait, what about:
2 Peter 3: 9, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that ANY (open to all of us) should perish, but that all should come to repentance?"
Or John 3: 16, "For God so loved the world (open to all of us) that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life?"
Or Eze. 33: 11, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked: but that the wicked turn from his way and live?"  God's universal suggestion and appeal to us that we should, "Choose life that both you and your descendants may live." Deut. 30: 19.
Romans 8: 29 gives us an excellent insight into what is happening - God knows everything; He has FOREKNOWLEDGE! It says, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did (predestine) to be conformed to the image of his Son." God knows beforehand what our future choices will be, and in His grace He provides the opportunity for all who would wish to be saved, to be saved. For those who will not elect to be saved, His provision stands as a witness against them. "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matt. 24: 14.
God and sin cannot cohabit the universe; one of the two has to go. He was well aware that when He created beings with the freedom of choice (an imperative for love to exist and be experienced), the possibility would exist for evil to surface. Unfortunately sin happened, but thankfully, so did GRACE. In fact, "where sin abounds, grace doth much more abound," (Rom. 5: 20). Hallelujah!
Father in Heaven, although You had predetermined that a destiny of doom would await the course of sin, thank You that You stand willing to lead us all into the paths of righteousness where a destiny of life awaits us instead. Amen and amen!

To read and/or listen to Proverbs 16 and to read other related blogs, please click here.