Monday, October 6, 2008

Sparring with Jovies, part 2

Here's her reply, without the intro and goodbye:

Sorry it took me a couple of days to get back with you. I was doing some research. Here is some information related to regret as mentioned in the case of King Saul and the flood.

In the majority of cases where the Hebrew na•cham′ is used in the sense of “feeling regret,” the reference is to Jehovah God. Genesis 6:6, 7 states that “Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth, and he felt hurt at his heart,” their wickedness being so great that God determined he would wipe them off the surface of the ground by means of the global Flood. This cannot mean that God felt regret in the sense of having made a mistake in his work of creation, for “perfect is his activity.” (De 32:4, 5) Regret is the opposite of pleasurable satisfaction and rejoicing. Hence, it must be that God regretted that after he had created mankind, their conduct became so evil that he now found himself obliged (and justly so) to destroy all mankind with the exception of Noah and his family. For God ‘takes no delight in the death of the wicked.’—Eze 33:11.

M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopaedia comments: “God himself is said to repent [na•cham′, feel regret]; but this can only be understood of his altering his conduct towards his creatures, either in the bestowing of good or infliction of evil—which change in the divine conduct is founded on a change in his creatures; and thus, speaking after the manner of men, God is said to repent.” (1894, Vol. VIII, p. 1042) God’s righteous standards remain constant, stable, unchanging, free from fluctuation. (Mal 3:6; Jas 1:17) No circumstance can cause him to change his mind about these, to turn from them, or to abandon them. However, the attitude and reactions of his intelligent creatures toward those perfect standards and toward God’s application of them can be good or bad. If good, this is pleasing to God; if bad, it causes regret. Moreover, the creature’s attitude can change from good to bad or bad to good, and since God does not change his standards to accommodate them, his pleasure (and accompanying blessings) can accordingly change to regret (and accompanying discipline or punishment) or vice versa. His judgments and decisions, then, are totally free from caprice, fickleness, unreliability, or error; hence he is free from all erratic or eccentric conduct.—Eze 18:21-30; 33:7-20.

A potter may begin to make one type of vessel and then change to another style if the vessel is “spoiled by the potter’s hand.” (Jer 18:3, 4) By this example Jehovah illustrates, not that he is like a human potter in ‘spoiling by his hand,’ but rather, that he has divine authority over mankind, authority to adjust his dealings with them according to the way they respond or fail to respond to his righteousness and mercy. (Compare Isa 45:9; Ro 9:19-21.) He can thus “feel regret over the calamity that [he] had thought to execute” upon a nation, or “feel regret over the good that [he] said to [himself] to do for its good,” all depending upon the reaction of the nation to his prior dealings with it. (Jer 18:5-10) Thus, it is not that the Great Potter, Jehovah, errs, but rather, that the human “clay” undergoes a “metamorphosis” (change of form or composition) as to its heart condition, producing regret, or a change of feeling, on Jehovah’s part.

This is true of individuals as well as of nations, and the very fact that Jehovah God speaks of his ‘feeling regret’ over certain of his servants, such as King Saul, who turned away from righteousness, shows that God does not predestinate the future of such individuals. (See FOREKNOWLEDGE, FOREORDINATION.) God’s regret over Saul’s deviation does not mean that God’s choice of him as king had been erroneous and was to be regretted on that ground. God must rather have felt regret because Saul, as a free moral agent, had not made good use of the splendid privilege and opportunity God had afforded him, and because Saul’s change called for a change in God’s dealings with him.—1Sa 15:10, 11, 26.

The prophet Samuel, in declaring God’s adverse decision regarding Saul, stated that “the Excellency of Israel will not prove false, and He will not feel regrets, for He is not an earthling man so as to feel regrets.” (1Sa 15:28, 29) Earthling men frequently prove untrue to their word, fail to make good their promises, or do not live up to the terms of their agreements; being imperfect, they commit errors in judgment, causing them regret. This is never the case with God.—Ps 132:11; Isa 45:23, 24; 55:10, 11.

Here is some information related to 1 Samuel 15 and Deut 3:6 and Deut 20:16

Laws concerning assault and siege of cities. Jehovah instructed Israel as to military procedure in the conquest of Canaan. The seven nations of Canaan, named at Deuteronomy 7:1, 2, were to be exterminated, including women and children. Their cities were to be devoted to destruction. (De 20:15-17) According to Deuteronomy 20:10-15, other cities were first warned and terms of peace extended. If the city surrendered, the inhabitants were spared and put to forced labor. This opportunity to surrender, together with the assurance that their lives would be spared and their women would not be raped or molested, was an inducement to such cities to capitulate to Israel’s army, thus avoiding much bloodshed. If the city did not surrender, all males were killed. Killing the men removed danger of later revolt by the city. “The women and the little children” were spared. That “women” here no doubt means virgins is indicated by Deuteronomy 21:10-14, where prospective war brides are described as mourning for parents, not for husbands. Also, earlier, when Israel defeated Midian, it is specifically stated that only virgins were spared. Such sparing of only virgins would serve to protect Israel from false worship and no doubt from sexually transmitted diseases.

Many parents today do drastic things to protect their children from harm. The people of the nations were involved in dangerous practices that could influence God's people for the bad. They were given opportunities to change and be God's people.

I have found that the Bible's message pierced deep, revealing our true thinking and motives. Those who read it with a critical heart are often stumbled by the accounts that do not contain enough information to satisfy them. What I have done is made a careful study of the Bible with humility so I can see Jehovah in the context in which the Bible as a whole presents him.

I truly believe what Deuteronmy 32:5,6 says: The Rock, perfect is his activity, For all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; Righteous and upright is he. 5 They have acted ruinously on their own part; They are not his children, the defect is their own. A generation crooked and twisted!

Some may question the way you personally raise your children. But you as the parent know what is best for them, knowing them better than anyone. It's not that I have never has questions about the way Jehovah has handled things, but again I have looked at the Bible as a whole and been able to discern that really he is a God of love. The decisions he made were for protection and preservation of his children.

No comments: