Free will is a big deal. It’s what makes us like God.
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:19-20
When God (Elohim)* created mankind, it was in their image. Mankind was given free will.
Then God [Elohim] said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” Genesis 1:26.
Our free will gives us the ability to choose who we worship. Will it be God or something else? We might be tempted to say, “ourselves,” but when we serve ourselves, we wind up serving Satan, for he is the “god” of pleasure. Knowing that Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10a), we now know why God calls us to follow Him. He gives life in abundance (John 10:10b).
The concept of free will and God’s refusal to breach ours is revealed in Jeremiah . Let’s look at several passages from both the Septuagint (LXX) and the Masoretic (MAS) texts:
LXX- 7:3 Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your practices, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.”
MAS- 7:3 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place.
The Lord was telling the people of Judah to repent, and that if they did, He would make it so they could stay in the land of Israel rather than get carted off to Babylon. We know that they didn’t repent, and Jeremiah gives us the reasons why they didn’t:
LXX- 5:23 But this people has an inattentive and disobedient heart. They turned aside and departed [from social justice].
MAS- 5:23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away [from social justice].
LXX- 6:10 To whom shall I speak and testify? Will it be heard? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, and they cannot hear. Behold, the word of the Lord was an insult to them, and they do not wish to hear it.
MAS- 6:10 To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.
LXX- 6:28 They all are inattentive and walk perversely. They are bronze and iron, and all have corrupted themselves.
MAS- 6:28 They are all hardened rebels, going about to slander. They are bronze and iron; they all act corruptly.
LXX- 7:18 “Do they provoke Me to wrath?” says the Lord. “Do they not provoke themselves to the shame of their own faces?”
MAS- 7:19 “But am I the one they are provoking?” declares the Lord. “Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?”
Both versions have the same CIT (central idea of the text), but each says it a little differently. The conclusion we draw is that the Israelites brought their destruction upon themselves. Tomorrow, we will look at two of the reasons for their demise.
Abba, keep stretching and growing us. I know this study may seem tedious, but it has opened my eyes to seeing Your Word on a larger scale. May I never take for granted all that Your Word has endured. I want life, Your life, Lord Jesus. You are the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), therefore, I will study Your Word, for You are the Word (John 1:14), and “Your Word is Truth” (John 17:17). Amen.