« Last post by Seth on July 27, 2014, 07:40:20 AM »
Take a look at a story and this will explain what I see regarding choices and God's will:
God announces his judgment upon Solomon
1 Kings 11
11 So the Lord said to Solomon, "Because [f]you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. 12 Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.
Rehoboam was Solomon's son, the son who God said he would tear the kingdom out of his hand. But look at how God does this:
1 Kings 12
6 King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, "How do you counsel me to answer this people?" 7 Then they spoke to him, saying, "If you will be a servant to this people today, and will serve them and grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever." 8 But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him. 9 So he said to them, "What counsel do you give that we may answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, 'Lighten the yoke which your father put on us'?" 10 The young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, "Thus you shall say to this people who spoke to you, saying, 'Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us!' But you shall speak to them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins! 11 Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.'"
12 Then Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day as the king had directed, saying, "Return to me on the third day." 13 The king answered the people harshly, for he forsook the advice of the elders which they had given him, 14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions." 15 So the king did not listen to the people; for it was a turn of events from the Lord, that He might establish His word, which the Lord spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
So Rehoboam was given a CHOICE: listen to the younger advisors, or the older advisors. He chose the former, to deal with Israel harshly. The result is that Israel revolts, and Rehoboam loses his control. At this point God comes back into the picture with this word to Israel:
1 Kings 12
24 'Thus says the Lord, "You must not go up and fight against your relatives the sons of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing has come from Me."'" So they listened to the word of the Lord, and returned and went their way according to the word of the Lord.
If I took out the first and last scripture, and only focused on the middle part, it would APPEAR that Rehoboam had a choice to make. Does that mean his choice was free? The Elders (much like the Apostles with regard to sharing the Gospel) URGED Rehoboam to treat Israel fairly. But his actions were STILL of the Lord, who brought about his plan from within Rehoboam's choices.
Did Rehoboam know this was happening? Did he feel the hand of God in his actions?
Here is my point: Just because scriptures urge people to grow in the faith, at the end of the day God is still in charge of who grows into the likeness of Christ. Romans 8:29 proves this. It happens according to the foreknowledge and predestination of God. All the admonitions of the Gospel to grow, are just as part of God's ultimate plan as the admonition to Rehoboam to treat Israel fairly. It doesn't mean that God isn't still predetermining the growth of his elect. That's what makes them elect.