The Intentional God | Joni & Friends

“He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand.”

—Daniel 4:35

When we say that God allows an accident or permits a painful disappointment, we get the picture that Satan backs God into a corner with some weird request and then twists God’s arm until he yells, “Uncle!” We think that the Lord would really rather not allow thus-and-such, that he would prefer that the Devil just leave him alone, thank you. 

But the permitting and the allowing that God does in the Bible is far more deliberate than what people usually assume. God gives the green light to problems not because he’s helpless or has set himself restrictions against meddling in the world’s affairs but because he is intentional. God is decisive, even about suffering. 

This is obvious in Ezekiel 20:26: “I let them become defiled through their gifts—the sacrifice of every firstborn—that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the LORD” (emphasis added). Centuries earlier, God saw what was coming. Long before the Jews entered Canaan, he knew what they were predisposed to do. Why did God permit them to follow their own vices, especially something so loathsome as infanticide, which he hates? He tells us in Ezekiel 20: to expose the vileness closeted in their own hearts, so they would stare at it and vomit. This is hard for us to grasp, but exposing sin is more important to God than relieving human suffering, even unthinkable suffering. (Estes) 

Almighty God, forgive me when I think that you allow things to happen in an offhanded or casual way. Forgive me when I assume that the Devil is holding you hostage, making you do and decide things you really would rather not. I praise you for your decisiveness, for your deliberateness, for your decrees that are always intentional. You have something good always in mind, and a plan that is always perfect. Bless you! 

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