What If…? (Lane)
by Lonnie Lane
God is sovereign. Right? He is “God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth (Gen 14:19). “God reigns over the nations. God is seated on His holy throne” (Ps. 47:8). He knows the beginning from the end. He is, in fact, the aleph and the tav, the A and the Z (Rev 1:8: 21:6). “In Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together” (Col 1:15).
Yet, the most amazing thing is that God has also given us free will. We can make choices. In fact, that’s one of the ways we are made in His image. We have the ability to perceive abstract ideas and to project their outcome, we can envision consequences and results, and we can plan and make choices. We are capable of being morally accountable for just this reason. We have an acuity for wisdom, especially if we seek for it and most especially if we seek HIM for it.
But how do we reconcile these two aspects of His sovereignty and our freedom? The question brings up lots of other questions. I tend to ask God lots of questions. Many of my articles are the answers I am led into. This time, I feel to share with you only questions. Perhaps the Lord would like to feed you this as food for thought Himself. Perhaps He will answer some or all of them for you Himself as you ask and wait upon Him to bring you the answers. Perhaps the questions will stimulate you rethinking some things. Maybe you might even want to get together with some friends and enjoy hashing out what you think about some of the questions.
With the changes that are taking place in the Body in our day, the development of “one new man” and restoring the Hebrew roots of our faith being significantly is among these changes, it may be that God would like to give us opportunity to reassess some things on our own, in order to have Him re-align our thinking. That’s a word that seems to have some spiritual clout lately, I’ve noticed: Re-alignment. If you’re going through something that’s perplexing you or you’ve not been down this route you’re on before, it may be God’s re-aligning Hand upon you. May I suggest you don’t try and struggle to understand it in your natural mind. Let Him bring understanding to you as you trust in Him and hold it prayerfully before Him. I have the sense of revelation floating up from deep within you, like balloons that have been released. No struggle to make them go up. So also with some things He’s trying to show you. “Cease striving [let go, relax], and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).
You may find that you’ve never even thought about some of these issues before. Some of them haven’t been usual church concerns, even though they may have been God’s concerns, or Israel’s concerns. I have found that many times people get saved and come into the Body and just jump in wherever the sermons or the Bible study is but don’t get to really think through what those things mean to them personally. Soon it’s time to head off to the next meeting and we’ve not digested what we heard last week.
Years ago the Lord spoke to me and told me to take what I hear from the pulpit or a Bible study and bring it back to Him and pray into it with Him. I can’t tell you I’ve always done that; I haven’t. But when I do, I can say, “Lord, is there something you’d like to share with me about this? The message said…. ” That’s why I take notes. I’d forget too much if I didn’t. I jot down important points I want to ask God about or think about later.
As I hold the issue before Him, it begins to open up for me and things begin to come to mind I hadn’t considered before. I keep a notebook I call “Listenings” for just that purpose — to record what God may be saying to me when I’m listening for His input. Imagine, Input from God!! How amazing is that really? As I also record my thoughts, and the revelations that come to me like a knowing I didn’t know a moment before, I see patterns of what God may be saying to me. Reading back over these sooner or much later will give you insight into what God may be doing in your life.
So here is a list of questions for you to ponder. You may want to print them out and take them one at a time or choose those that interest you. However you choose, I hope these will serve to bring you to more of an appreciation of the marriage of the sovereignty of God and the free will He’s give us.
- What if Abraham wanted more proof that God meant what He said when He first spoke to Abraham before he obeyed?
- What if Abraham didn’t ever get to Canaan, like his father before him, who despite his intentions to go to Canaan, never did and died in Haran.
- What if Abraham hadn’t been willing to slay his son so that God knew he loved Him more than Isaac? Would God have called Abraham His friend?
- What if Abraham didn’t hear the angel say “Stop!” And Isaac had been slain and not resurrected? What did this experience mean to Isaac the rest of his life?
- What if Jacob never returned to the Land from serving Laban? What if Esau had killed him when he returned?
- What if Moses’ fear kept him too paralyzed to go back to Egypt and face this Pharaoh he knew growing up?
- What if Moses was as afraid of God as the people were and never went up on the mountain? And what if he never went back up on the mountain the second time?
- What if Moses had never taken the time (years) to record all the 613 commandments to show Israel how to live out the Top Ten?
- What if Joshua was unable to lead Israel into the promised Land? What if they were defeated by the “giants”?
- What difference would it have made if the Hebrews never took possession of the land God promised them?
- What if David had retaliated against Saul? Or even Nabal? (See 1 Sam. 1:25)
- What if Abigail hadn’t been such a woman of wisdom?
- What if Solomon had obeyed Torah as his father had? What would have turned out differently? (See 1 Kings 11:11) How has Jewish history been affected as a result?
- What if the Jews were assimilated and never returned to Israel from Babylon?
- What if no Israeli leaders while Israel was still in Babylon took the initiative to return Israel to the righteousness that restored them to the land and kept them “in God?”
- What if that well intentioned effort hadn’t succeeded and eventually become the Pharisee movement?
- What if Antiochus was not overthrown by the Maccabbean army and the Temple was never reclaimed?
- What if there were no more Jews to hold to God’s instructions (law, Torah)?
- What if there was no righteousness in Israel for the Messiah to have been born into?
- What if Yeshua had not come to the earth? (This question alone is much to consider.)
- What if Yeshua had died and not been resurrected?
- What if His followers had died out within that generation?
- What if the Gentiles hadn’t outnumbered the Jews among His followers and “the church” remained what it was — Jewish?
- What if God intends for His final revival to be one of a return to the values He originally set in place in Israel?
- Would Jeremiah’s words that God was going to write the Torah on our hearts mean we would have to take it as seriously as we take the New Testament to see what He was writing on our hears?
- What if we had to give proof when we stand before God that we truly “love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves?”
- What if His forgiveness to me means I am to forgive everyone, just as He has?
- What if my life only really matters ultimately according to what I do in love?
- What if there was no forgiveness in God?
- What if I really believed God would do exceedingly abundantly beyond all I could think of or ask of Him? What would be my valiant request?
- What question above has meant the most to me? How come it did?
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.