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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 16:14,15

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

14 The days are coming, declares the LORD, when it will no longer be said, “As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the children of Israel out from the land of Egypt.” 15 But it will be said, “As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the children of Israel out from the land of the north and from all the lands were he exiled them.” For I will restore them to the land I gave to their fathers.

God is omniscient: he knows the future. Here he shows that there will be a time when the rescue from Babylon will be seen at least on the same level if not even more spectacular than the rescue from bondage in Egypt. This is the gospel. Why? Because the bondage in Egypt was not due to the sins of the Israelites, but to the sins of the Egyptians. The bondage in Babylon, however, was coming because of the sins and unbelief of the Jews. Yet God was going to rescue them even from that captivity. And more spectacular than that, God would rescue all mankind from the bondage of sin and guilt through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This kind of prophecy is one more aspect of God’s omniscience.

Let’s look once again into Professor Pieper’s Dogmatics:

“A number of problems confront the Philosopher who attempts to analyze the omniscience of God. The most vexing problem is: What is the relation of the infallible prescience of God to human freedom and responsibility? If there is an infallible foreknowledge of God, then everything must happen as God has foreknown it. If that it true, then there can be no human freedom of action and, of course, no human responsibility. This is the position of some pagan philosophers… as well as some modern theologians. They have denied God’s omniscience entirely, at least in reference to the wicked deeds of men.” (Pieper, Christian Dogmatics Vol. I p. 449).

God’s omniscience is infallible. Everything happens the way God knows it will—if this were not the case, God would not be God. Yet this doesn’t make God into the author of sin. Consider a parent watching a baby learning to walk. The baby’s father knows that the baby will fall, and the baby’s mother might even be certain about the exact moment when the baby will fall. But if the baby falls, is it the parents’ fault? Only someone who isn’t a parent will think that mom should be there every minute to catch the baby. There invariably comes a day when a parent will want to help the baby—or an older child—to do something, and the child will push the parent away: “No! Me do it!” And then Boom! Down they go. We live perpetually in that moment in our relationship with God as long as we insist that we are right and that God either doesn’t know what he’s doing or that God doesn’t exist at all. God is our heavenly Father, holding out his loving hand. But what do we say? “No! Me do it!”

A baby’s parents are not the cause of the that baby’s stumbles and tumbles even when they know those things will happen. They simply know their child. God knows us and knows that we will sin, but he doesn’t force us to sin, and he doesn’t want us to sin anymore than a mother wants her baby to fall down. Any parent understands this. Perhaps not enough philosophers or ancient theologians were married or spent enough time with their own children to understand what every mother knows.

God loves us. That God loves us despite our sins is a miracle. That God loved us so much that he sent his Son to rescue us—that’s the miracle of miracles. That’s grace. And that’s our gospel.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.