Was God Taken By Surprise?

by André Piet
October 4th, 2012

In my last blog I wrote about GOD, Who, before anything happens, has given it a place in his plan. The idea that He would not have known in advance what would happen, or had not foreseen it, while making His plan, is a denial that He is GOD. Yet, with some with some regularity, I receive strong reactions to this Biblical ABC. Someone, angerly presented me with what is written in Jeremiah 7:31:

… [they] have built the high places of Tophet, That are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, To burn their sons and their daughters with fire, Which I did not command, Nor did it come up on My heart.

The suggestion of my opponent was: you see, things happen that God did not previously know about. Is that so? Does this indictment mean that the Israelites were doing things that God had not anticipated nor foreseen?

That He was presented by them with a surprise? No, that text does not say that, at all, and neither does it connote that. The Israelites did horrible things had not come up in the heart of God, but not anything that was outside His plan! Countless horrible things happen that aggrieve God’s heart. That they, nevertheless, occur is because He gives them a place. Pharaoh disrespected God’s will (“let my people go!”), with all the misery that followed (the holocaust of Egypt). But herein, he precisely fulfilled GOD’s intention (Rom. 9:17-19). Everything serves His objective, nothing excepted. Solomon testifies:

"YAHWEH has made everything for its own pertinent end,
Yea even the wicked for the day of evil."

Proverbs 16:4

By the way, not only things that Yahweh sees and hears His creatures doing go against His heart, even things He does, Himself, often times do not have His heart. In Lamentations 3:32,33 we read:

Indeed though He afflicts, yet He has compassion according to the abundance of His benignities; For He does not humiliate from His heart or so afflict the sons of humanity.

Here too, it is true: God afflicts and grieves the children of men because it is essential. It is a necessary evil with a view to the goal He has set Himself. He does not do it from the heart, because the Creator loves his creation and therefore suffers along with the suffering of every creature. That He lets (or makes) it happen is because He knows what it is good for. Never forget: He is a good GOD (cp Luke 19:19) and this is why no more evil ever happens than is necessary for the achievement of His purpose.


Translation: Peter Feddema

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