I have always thought that God gave us free will and would never do anything to abrogate our right to make our own decisions. But, reading through the Tanakh- especially the books of the prophets- I wonder if I am wrong about that.
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For instance, in Joel 3 God says that in the End Days he will pour out his Spirit on all people, even their slaves.
In Numbers 11, when Moses appoints the 70 Elders to help him in judging for the people, God pours his Spirit on the Elders.
When God chose Shaul as king, he poured his Spirit on him; not just once, but twice during his kingship (hence the old saying, “Is Shaul a prophet, too?”)
In Ezekiel 36, God says he will replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh.
I am sure there are other passages we could review, but these are enough to make me wonder if God will supersede the right to make our own decisions, which he gave us in the first place?
We are told that God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow, and that because he is the holiest of holies he will never go against his word or change his mind about what is right or wrong. So, if that is true, can we trust him to stay the course with regards to free will after he tells us that there will be times he will overrule our own choices?
You know, I don’t really have an answer for that. I am not so sure now. I mean, I trust God to always know and do what is best for me, so if he does force me to think or act a certain way, which pouring out his Spirit or changing my heart will do, is that OK?
I can’t answer for anyone else, but my feeling is that whatever God wants to do for me or to me is OK with me. I trust that whatever he does it is always for my good because he tells me that he wants me to live (Ezekiel 18:23), so even if he seems to abrogate my right to make my own choices, it is for my own good.
This is weird for me. I have always said free will is for us to have and God will not change it, and that is my strongest argument against Predestination. And now, well…I still do not believe that everyone is predestined to heaven or hell, but if God says he is going to give us a new heart, that’s hard to believe without also accepting this is predetermined.
So, how can this be reconciled? How can we have free will and still be given a new heart, with God’s Spirit being forced upon us?
Give me a sec, here….hmmm….maybe, yes, you sure? Hmm…yes, I think that’s good. OK, here we go!
The one thing I was missing in this argument was that what God gives to us, we can refuse to keep. It’s called Apostasy. God can replace our heart of stone with a heart of flesh, but we can always plaster over it. God can pour his Spirit on us, but we can always refuse to listen to it.
Free will still exists within us; even though God can cause his Spirit to indwell and change our heart, we can still refuse to work with what he gives us.
Look at Adam and Eve- there was no sin in them, but when given the chance, they took to sin like a duck to water. If they could do that, so can we. We are all born with iniquity (the desire to sin) in our very DNA. God said he would give us a new spirit and a new heart, but the DNA is not changing. Iniquity was found even in the most perfect of angels, Beelzebub, and if he could turn to sin, so can we.
And in 1 Samuel, after Shmuel anointed Shaul we are told that God gave him a new heart then and there! Yet, later we see how Shaul rejected God’s instructions and ended up sinning against God. So Shaul’s new heart and spirit didn’t last. How can that be? It must be that Shaul was still able to make his own decisions!
God will do whatever he thinks is best for you; even his punishments are delivered with mercy, designed not to be punitive but to bring you back onto the path of righteousness. It is up to you, up to me, up to each and every one of us to decide if we will do what is right.
When we do wrong, God will try to gently lead us with his staff; and if that doesn’t work, he will take the rod to our heads. And if that still doesn’t work, we will be on our own. The decision to remain faithful or to sin has, is, and always will be our own choice!
In Joel 3-4, God’s pouring of his Spirit will happen before the great Day of Adonai. So, he will do this to all humanity and THEN judge, telling us that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved, so it must be that God will do these things without taking away our right to choose.
God will make himself known through this pouring out of his Spirit and changing of our hearts, but it will not supersede free will. It will be his last-ditch effort to help us save ourselves. Because God says that after he pours out his Spirit all who call on his name will be saved, we can imply there is the opportunity to not call on his name. If we didn’t have a choice, no one would have to call on his name, right? But, since we are given the chance to call on his name, we still have a choice.
Well, I am glad that I figured this one out because, I have to tell you, I was a little worried there when I started this message.
In case I lost you, sooner or later God will pour out his Spirit on everyone and give us a heart of flesh to replace the stony one that is there, but even after that, we will still have the chance to choose to call on his name or not.
We all have the right to decide whether to reject or accept God, and because he wants everyone to choose life, he will go as far as to give a new heart and pour out his Spirit on each and every one of us, but that will NOT supersede our free-will ability to refuse him.
No one knows when the Day of Adonai will come and the Bible tells us we can expect to see a worldwide spiritual awakening before it comes, but why wait? I think the best thing to do if you haven’t done it yet, is to accept God and his Messiah, Yeshua, and do it now!
Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know, subscribe on my website and my Youtube channel, buy my books, and let me know what you think of these messages. I really appreciate feedback, even if you disagree. Hey! You might be right, and if you can help me better understand God we will both be blessed.
That’s it for now, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!