Many centuries ago, it was said that we are “known, but with authority.” Meaning that, since God lives outside of our understanding of time and place, He knows what we did, what we are doing, and what we will do – right now, but gives us the free will to do so, whether right or wrong, whether God’s Divine Will, or our own selfish will (flesh nature).
Then, God cooperates with us in a very real sense. We can 1) cooperate with Holy Spirit, 2) refuse to comply and act in direct rebellion, or 3) ignore Holy Spirit and hope He doesn’t notice…lol. Parents, you understand. We may still mess up even when we are trying to cooperate, but God totally knows what our motives were, and will take our motives into account, while teaching us the better way, if we will be teachable.
God is often seen as harshly judgmental when, really, we are being given exactly what we asked for – no, even demanded. Actions come from decisions based on our thought life. When we let those “wild horses” roam instead of putting them into the coral, locking the fence, and walking away to let them starve and die, we begin the process of open rebellion. That’s why Jesus told us that to even look at someone with lust was to commit adultery.
Mt 5:27-28 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’” NLT
And, yes, God shares our every thought, so there’s a really good reason to get to work on those aberrant (deviant or morally evil), or perverse thoughts we’ve been hiding…correction…we think we’ve been hiding.
1 Ch 28:9 for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent (motives) of the thoughts. NKJV
Mt 9:4-5 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? NKJV
Heb 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. NKJV
Let’s look at some people in scripture who either cooperated, or did not cooperate, with God Almighty, and the outcomes of their thoughts, and efforts, which is God choosing to cooperate with them.
Esther: this young lady was in a tough situation through no personal fault. She could live in – maintain her thought life toward – resentment, or she could work within her current life situation, which was harsh. She was torn from her family, and placed among idol worshipping strangers without a single friend. When it was time to act, her choice could have meant death for her, as well as all the Jewish people in the nation, and she entertained doubts and fear. Esther, however, ultimately chose to take those thoughts captive, and do what she was called to do, embracing her own death, if need be.
Est 4:10-5:3 Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.” So they told Mordecai Esther’s words.
And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” NKJV
In the end, Esther’s requests were all met by the king, who favored her. Esther is a perfect example of someone who took her aberrant thoughts captive, and overcame. Because of Esther, Israel’s people in that nation were all spared death, and she and Mordecai gave many other orders, one still in practice today among her people; the celebration of Purim.
Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. tells us in the book The Hard Sayings of the Bible – “it must be remembered that all God’s prophecies to his prophets have a suppressed ‘unless you repent’ attached to them.” We have a divine opportunity to push away those awful thoughts and do what is right and good in God’s eyes. God chooses to cooperate with either, or to allow, so, we choose death and evil, or life and good. (Deut. 30:15-20)
Not so sure? Read the book of Jonah. It’s only 4 chapters long. Jonah never offered them the option of repentance (he actually hoped they didn’t repent, and were all killed – nice guy). Faced with sure death from a God they had no relationship with, they repented! They could have killed Jonah and continued their filthy ways in disbelief, but they did not, and because they repented, God spared them, of course.
Jnh 3:6-10 …the king of Nineveh…arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. NKJV
By the way, all of the bible does this – warns of consequences as a method to spare us, if we will allow ourselves to be spared, from the One Person who created everything, knows how it works, and knows the end of the story. Just like we do with things we build or create (like our kids), out of love. We shelter them from harm, if they will allow it.
What about people who choose to entertain those aberrant thoughts? What if we decide to go with our rebellious ideas, even when warned of the consequences?
Pharoah. He would not listen – he would not obey. He would not turn his thoughts away from his own arrogance. He hardened his own heart against God over and over again, even against the advice of his own inner court, so God cooperated and, after many warnings, God hardened Pharoah’s heart even more, and Pharoah’s own evil intentions rained down on him, and his people. (See Exodus 7-14; a real page turner)
In Romans chapter 1, we see the same thing happening to us, in our day, as we harden ourselves against God’s good and perfect created order with idolatry and sexual immorality.
In Revelation 2:18-29, we see God warning his people again that idolatry and sexual immorality brings evil and death, and offering them a chance to repent.
OR, we can choose to have a good heart toward God in the first place.
Lk 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. NKJV
Lk 8:15 But the ones (seeds) that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. NKJV
Our good hearts cooperate with Holy Spirit to bring God’s intended glory and blessings to this earth, in advancing God’s Kingdom. God cooperates with us by raining down salvation, blessings, and strength to conquer sin and persevere among His people. We choose life – God gives us life, and life abundantly.
It’s the blessing of a spirit of cooperation.
September 28, 2021
Note: there will be a bible study on the dynamics of God cooperating with our wrong choices and demands. Watch for it!