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MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell -

MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell
Part II: Examining Scripture On The Will-Related Doctrines
Chapter II: Examining God's Predestination Throughout Scripture
D. Pertinent Old Testament Passages
  1. Our view that God's election does not result in justification would lead some to ask how we would handle a verse like Acts 13:48 KJV that says: " . . . as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
  2. We answered this, and now answer more questions by viewing pertinent Old Testament passages:
    1. 2 Chronicles 36:23 with Ezra 1:2
      1. Both passages reveal God appointed the pagan king Cyrus to rebuild the Jerusalem temple.
      2. Lest we assume this means God authored Cyrus's will, Isaiah 45:5b claims Cyrus did not know God, a fact confirmed in Cyrus' famous clay cylinder where he claimed his pagan god, Marduk was "going at his side like a real friend,'" James B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts , p. 315.
      3. Cyrus' will was not necessarily authored by God, for then we should expect he would have credited the true God of Israel as his Helper! Cyrus could have been externally influenced by God to do His will .
    2. Joshua 11:20 with Genesis 15:16
      1. In Joshua 11:20, God hardened the Canaanites' hearts against Israel so they resist Israel and die in war.
      2. Lest we assume this means God directly controlled their wills in the process, Genesis 15:16 implies God for centuries granted them time to repent ("Amorites" = Canaanites, Z.P.E.B., vol. One, p. 150).
      3. The fact God was this patient with the Canaanites can argue for a liberty of their will.
    3. 1 Samuel 19:18-24
      1. This passage may seem to teach God authored a reversal of choice in evil men so they would prophesy.
      2. Yet, we do not know if God authored a different choice in them or if they willingly yielded to God, the latter being possible given the setting where Samuel taught the prophets, 1 Sam. 19:20. After all, Saul was often fickle in his choices on David's welfare, 1 Sam. 24:1-2 with 24:16-22; 26:1-2 with 26:21-25.
      3. We thus need other Scriptures to clarify the role of divine and human wills in choices men make.
    4. 2 Samuel 17:14
      1. One might claim God made Absalom heed Hushai over the highly respected Ahithophel, 2 Sam. 16:23.
      2. However, several observations in the context can argue God used external circumstances instead:
        1. Absalom was typically impulsive as seen in his previous choice to burn Joab's barley field to get his attention, 2 Sam. 14:30-32. He could thus have been influenced to accept Hushai's words over those of the reputable Ahithophel were the fitting appeal to his lusts to be made.
        2. That is what indeed happened here: Hushai urged Absalom not to rush to finish David (as though David was already powerless before him, an idea appealing to Absalom's pride), 2 Sam. 17:7-14.
      3. Thus, we find 2 Samuel 17:14 does not prove God invaded Absalom's will to author his choice here.
    5. Psalm 33:15, 10-15
      1. Though this passage might be rendered to mean God forms man's choices, verses 6-9 show the author thought of creation, so he may have meant God's creation of man's heart (that makes its own choices).
      2. Thus, this passage cannot be used to prove God authors man's choices in history.
    6. Isaiah 45:7
      1. The King James Version reads: " . . . I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." That may cause one to see God authors moral evil, and thus the evil choices that lead men unto hell.
      2. Yet, the Hebrew word "peace, prosperity" (shalom) is contrasted with ra, the latter meaning either moral evil or "calamity," B. D. B., A Heb. and Engl. Lex. of the O.T., p. 948-949, 1022-1023. One is best seeing ra as the opposite of peace/prosperity since Cyrus is pictured in the context as collecting spoils (v. 3) at the expense of the calamitous fall of his enemies in war, Isa. 45:1-7.
      3. This verse then can not be used to prove God authors morally evil choices in men in any direct way.
    7. Jeremiah 18:1-10
      1. This passage teaches God sovereignly destroys those who do not perform His righteous will.
      2. However, unlike how this passage is often used to teach a divine predestination of some unto rejecting Christ, verse 8 can be used to teach otherwise: if a nation repents of its waywardness, God will relent of the calamitous judgment He originally planned to do against it, and no hint is given as to what might cause such a nation thus to repent (whether the repentance is authored by God or by man).
      3. Thus, we find even this passage can not be used to prove God authors human decisions.