I found an interesting verse today in Isaiah 47 that made me pause:
6 For I was angry with my chosen people and began their punishment by letting them fall into your hands. But you, Babylon, showed them no mercy. You have forced even the elderly to carry heavy burdens.
God is saying that He allowed the children of Israel to fall into Babylonian captivity because He was punishing them. However, it appears that the punishment the Babylonians put upon them was too great, which results in the destruction of Babylon.
I wonder if the Babylonian people would have been a bit more merciful, more careful in their treatment of God’s chosen people, how would things be different? Could it be that God was expecting (desiring?) for them to treat these people less harshly?
This brings up the age-old conundrum about predestination – and I cringe. I do not doubt that God knows exactly how things will turn out, but I also know that He gives us a chance to make the right decisions along the way.
Does He know that I will participate in a particular sin again today? Yes. Do I have a choice in the matter – can I choose not to? Yes. Can I change the outcome of my day? Hmmm…
This does not shake my faith, however, because the bottom line for me is this: God loves me not because of my actions or my inactions. He has called me to be an heir of the Kingdom. There is nothing I can do to earn it, so there is nothing I can do to throw it away. As long as I pursue Him and realize my dependence upon Him and follow His commands, I am His forever.
What about those who are called but choose not to follow His commands? Hmmm…