John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

A Rare Saturday Post (Must Be Something Important)

I've you've read this blog much at all you know that I rarely post on the weekends. I'm usually busy speaking on Saturdays, and when I'm home I want to spend time with my family. But I've got some questions on my mind that I can't quite sort through. If you've read this blog much at all you also know that I tend to think while I write. I use this space as a way to think through what I'm going to teach in my Wednesday night class or the way I'm going to approach the material going in the book.

Today, these questions are very personal.

God comes to Abraham and says, "That's it. I've had it with that city. I'm going to destroy it." Abraham barters God down but doesn't succeed in delivering the city. Still, God appears reasonable. Something we don't always think of when we think of deity.

God comes to Moses and says, "That's it. I've had it with those people. I'm going to destroy them." Moses manages to actually talk God out of it this time. Once again, God listens to reason and reconsiders -- changes his mind according to the text.

God comes to David and says, "That's it. I've had it with you. Your son is going to die." David begs and pleads but God does not change his mind this time.

A woman comes to Jesus and asks for help. He says, "I didn't come to help people like you." She begs and pleads and actually makes Jesus laugh. Jesus changes his mind and commends her for her faith.

Jesus tells a story about a woman who pleads her case before a judge. The judge rules against her, but she doesn't give up. Eventually, she wears the judge out, and he reverses his decision.

I'm trying to figure some things out. What if Moses had said, "Well, if God wants to destroy these people, I'm not in a position to talk him out of it"? What if the woman had said, "Well, if the judge says 'no', then it must be God's will"? What if God had said, "I've made up my mind, and it's no use trying to pursuade me otherwise"?

The Bible is filled with stories. Some of them are about people who didn't want to do what God asked them to do. Moses. Gideon. Jonah. Jesus even asked his Father for an alternative to crucifixion. God used various means of convincing them.

Some of the stories in the Bible are about people who didn't want God to do what he said he was going to do. They used various means of trying to convince him -- and sometimes they actually worked!

Here are the questions I'm wrestling with:

What is it about God's nature and character that we're supposed to model in the situations I've mentioned here?

How do you know if God is trying to get you to reconsider something?

Why are we so quick to assume something is God's will -- when it may or may not be?