Examples of God’s Reaction to his Own Dire Pronounements

* God told Moses, ‘Now therefore leave me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of you a great nation.’ Moses disobeyed the Almighty’s command to ‘leave me alone.’ That’s a bold act, since it was for disobedience that all the others were about to be destroyed. But this man knew God’s heart. He prayed and God reversed his decision to destroy them (Exodus 32:10, 14).

* Jonah was a prophet (2 Kings 14:25). His entire prophecy, according to Scripture, was ‘In forty days, Nineveh will be overthrown’ (Jonah 3:4). The prophecy held not a shadow of hope. God’s chosen instrument to pronounce this death sentence was a man who hated these people with a passion. He wanted them annihilated. You can be sure there was nothing about the body language or tone of voice of this messenger from God to hint to these pagans that the God of this foreigner might be loving or merciful. Everything hitting their senses told them they were doomed. They were wicked. They deserved destruction. Their time was up. Yet they repented and the divinely inspired prophecy fell to the ground.

* The Bible clearly indicates that prophecies of doom are not given so that God can prove how smart he is in predicting the future, but are given in the hope that the prophesied condemnation will be averted by the people repenting. ‘If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation . . . repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned’ (Jeremiah 18:7-8, see also Jeremiah 26:3, 13; 36:3). ‘And if I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but they then turn away from their sin and do what is just and right . . . None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. . .  they will surely live’ (Ezekiel 33:14,16). Why is this? Because of the heart of God: ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. . . .’ (Ezekiel 33:11).

* Jesus repeatedly rebuffed the Canaanite woman, calling her a dog and saying in response to his disciples’ plea to get rid of her, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel’ and later, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs’ (Matthew 15:24,26). She persisted and got what she wanted – the very thing Jesus had just pronounced ‘not right’ and contrary to his divine mission.




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