Why Didn't You Stop Me?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, October 3, 2015 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

It's easy to ask, “Why didn't you stop me?” to a spouse or friend when we get to the other side of a personal “duh” moment. We can feel the same way about God when we try to do things our own way and end up in a bad situation.

When I have struggled with doing the right thing, and instead chose the selfish decision, I have often wondered why God didn't stop me. I mean, seriously, if I am stepping into rebellion, where's the angel with the flaming sword obstructing my path? Where's the audible voice from heaven calling for a play action fake, to change it up and get back on track? Where's the booming voice from the sky, or even Morgan Freeman appearing as God to warn me?

If I am honest, God does try to get my attention and He does try to warn me by His Holy Spirit working with my conscience. But the bottom line is rebellion and disobedience are a part of my nature as a human being. It's part of all of us, and it's actually impossible for us to live a perfect (or even a good) life on our own apart from God.

Read Romans 11:25-36. I am going to focus on verses 32 and 36, but please read the context; it's important. Paul further explains in this passage how God is still working to fulfill His promise to Israel - to remove their sin and fully redeem them as a people. Even though they currently reject Jesus as Messiah and Savior, Paul states that this cannot prevent God from fulfilling His promise, because God's “gifts and calling are irrevocable” (verse 29).

Now look at verse 32. “For God has shut up [bound up] all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.” The Greek word used here for “shut up” or “bound up” is one used to describe fish being caught in a net, or a person being held in prison. It's a strong image of God containing everyone in a net or a cell where we will all participate in disobedience.

Let me be clear, this does not mean God CAUSES us to be disobedient. It means He is not shielding from our own rebellion and willfulness, but rather keeps us in a place where we are fully exposed to the potential for good and evil, and fully exposed to situations where we will choose our own path instead of God's. Instead of shielding us from things that trigger our disobedience, God keeps us in a place where we are prone to act on our selfishness. He didn't put us here. Adam and Eve's choice to disobey in the Garden of Eden put us in this position. What Paul is saying is that EVERYONE has been exposed, and God is keeping us there because it is from this rebellious place that we can finally recognize and understand His mercy.

For Israel, their disobedience and disbelief lead to the Gentiles hearing and believing the promise of God. The Gentiles moved from a place of disbelief to faith, because of God's mercy and grace. Israel moved from a place of belief and perfectionistic legalism to denial and rebellion against the promise made to them. Because God's promise is irrevocable, Israel will one day awaken from her disobedience and receive Jesus.

For the rest of us, as we go our own way and discover the destructive results of our self-centered choices, as we recognize we are not and can not be perfect on our own, as we recognize the dark realities of human desire, by God's mercy we may see and desire God's ways above our own. We may recognize the statement made in verse 36: “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

God has bound everyone to the disobedience that started with Adam and Eve for one purpose: that from His mercy toward our rebellion, we may realize we have no good thing, not even life, apart from Him.

Some life lessons are best learned by the mistakes others let us make for ourselves. I think that is a reflection of this larger story playing out in our lives, daily. Are you still believing that you are in control? Are you willing to see that there is a larger plan around your life, and God is constantly extending mercy and holding out hope for you to trust Him and live His way? Instead of getting frustrated when your way doesn't work, would you be willing to pause and consider that God may have let you walk through the failure of your decision, just to help you see Him more clearly?

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

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