Updated: Mar 19, 2019
A. Predestination & Freewill
What does it mean for something to be predestined and what does it mean to have freewill? How many people believe that life is predestined ([a]That: God is in absolute control and that all outcomes are by his divine design)? How many people believe that we have freewill in life ([b]That: God has given us the ability to make our own choices)? Which is it? Are we predestined people or people with freewill?
B. Types of Choices & Their Consequences
Understanding that predestination and freewill work parallel can be a complicated duel relationship. Destiny seems out of our control, yet we have an important role to as we make each decision in life. All choices, whether good, bad, small, big, clear, unclear, or forfeited have consequences. Let’s read, label, and discuss a few characters and their various decisions. Let’s focus on the sequence of events in situation and classify the choices made. Please prepare to defend your argument with sound scriptural reasoning!
1. Good Choice – “Elijah and the Widow”
1 Kings 17:10-15 NKJV
The widow gave her last meal to Prophet Elijah. Whether she did or didn’t, she and her son were ready to die. Her decision was brave, bold, and good.
2. Bad Choice – “David, Bathsheba, & Uriah”
2 Samuel 11:14-17 NKJV
David and his army orchestrated Uriah’s death. His army buddies stepped back from the fight to solidify and ensure his death on the battle field.
3. Bad Choice* – “Abraham & Abimelech”
Genesis 20:1-7 NKJV
Seems small but, Abraham—a man of God; someone who knows better—was fearfully trying to avoid persecution by giving his wife to another man.
4. Small Choice – “Saul Spares King Agag”
1 Samuel 15:2-9 NKJV
Saul thought his choice would be inconsequential given all the lives he had already taken, and as was norm—a real conquest requires physical proof!
5. Small Choice* – “Naomi Returns with Ruth”
Ruth 1:11-19 NKJV
Ruth would have been fine if she decided to stay or leave. In the moment, the choice seemed small and inconsequential. However, her decision to stay was big and similar to the disciples’ decision to follow Jesus (big). Speaking of which, it was through Ruth’s decision to stay that she met Boaz and they gave birth to Obed, who gave birth to Jesse, who gave birth to David and it is through David’s lineage that Jesus Christ, our savior, was born!
6. Big Choice – “Four Fishermen Called as Disciples”
Luke 5:4-11 NKJV
These men left their business, family, lives, everything behind to follow a man they just met that same day. They dropped it all without so much as a two-week notice or a phone call home to their parents and spouses.
7. Clear Choice – “Abram Inherits Canaan”
Genesis 13:5-13 NKJV
Abraham suggested that they separate to make room for their riches, but it was Lot’s clear decision to pick the land that seemed green and prosperous.
8. Unclear Choice – “The Parable of the Lost Son”
Luke 15:12-20 NKJV
His consumer, entitled-millennial, ‘give me now’ mentality blinded him from being able to realize the gravity of what he was asking for. He thought he could be an adult, that he didn’t need anyone, especially his family to live.
9. Forfeited Choice – “Jonah’s Disobedience” & “The Storm at Sea”
Jonah 1:1-9 NKJV
Jonah was a God-fearing man who decided to hide from God, he didn’t say yes but he surely didn’t want to say no either. He hid and God jolted him to obey!
10. Forfeited Choice* – “Feeding the Five Thousand”
John 6:9-14 NKJV
The lad’s food was taken! Everyone blew up his spot. They exposed him big time. The disciples said “Jesus! This kid has a lunch bag, but I think it’s one serving”. The next verse informs us that Jesus didn’t ask him for permission to use the lad’s food. Jesus took his lunch-ables and said “look, like it or not, you’re going to be used today boy! You’re going to be a blessing by force!” lol.
C. Navigating Our Choices
Navigating our choices requires understanding our present social-emotional state, self-awareness, and the guidance of the holy spirit! Understanding our present social-emotional state can prevent us from making rash decisions as we’ve seen with David and Lot. Being self-aware can enable us to come to terms with our real selves, not the self we present to others to be but our true inner nature—which would have helped the Prodigal Son. Lastly, we need the holy spirit to ensure that we are making choices that are good; and a good choice is always in alignment with God’s will. Jesus was in perfect alignment with God’s will and it all worked out, even for the lad who had his lunch taken by our savior. The most difficult aspect of making a decision is when a decision is seems good, but it’s actually bad. These are called unclear choices and a lot of carefulness and pray is required to navigate such paths. The bible tells us in Proverbs 14:12 NKJV, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death”. May we not choose wrongly and be the cause of our own sorrow in Jesus name; Amen!
D. FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
“Joseph Dreams of Greatness” & “Joseph Sold by His Brothers” – Genesis 37
Question: Did Joseph make the right choice of telling his family his Dream of Greatness? Explain the correlation between the decisions of his brothers and the Joseph’s predestined accomplishment of becoming King. Would he still have become king if his brother decided to respect his dream and leave him be? Was it predestined by God that he would suffer prior to becoming King or did the choices of his brother force this outcome? What do you think?
The best answer I could come up with is found in 1 Corinthians 14:33a, Hebrews 12:2a, and Romans 8:28 which I’ve combined to say, “For God is not the author of confusion, but the author and finisher of our faith, therefore, we know that all things work together for the good of those that love God and are called according to his purpose”.