2 Chronicles 18.16-21 – God’s involvement in History
Posted: 25 February 2011 in 2 Chronicles

Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil? Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.

This passage reminds me of Isaiah 6, in its depiction of God’s sovereignty over human affairs. In this case the destruction of the house of Ahab has been determined upon by |God, and now he decides how to effect what he has planned. I do not think this can be understood merely in terms of God reacting to something unforseen by him. That would reduce him to the status of a far from omnipotent deity, who was forever struggling to regain control of his creation.

For all its difficulties, the biblical writers prefer to think in terms of a God who preordains all things – even those things which will subsequently attract his wrath. At all points in history, God is intimately involved iwith his creation, and not merely as a spectator, idly standing by to see what will happen next. A typical example of this, admittedly from a completely different part of the Bible, is Isaiah 63.17

“O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.”

So here, a situation has resulted in divine judgment being passed upon Israel, but their disobedience is nevertheless thought to flow from God’s hardening of their collective heart. This is clearly a difficult idea, insofar as it tempts prideful humans to sit in judgment upon God most Holy, but the motif is there, to be found throughout the Bible, and we are compelled by faith to believe that God is all righteous. That in him there is no darkness at all.

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