Psalm 81. Our Pro-Choice God.


Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 81. (MsgB)

Listen, dear ones—get this straight; O Israel, don’t take this lightly.
Don’t take up with strange gods, don’t worship the latest in gods.
I’m God, your God, the very God who rescued you from doom in Egypt,
Then fed you all you could eat, filled your hungry stomachs.

But My people didn’t listen, Israel paid no attention;
So I let go of the reins and told them, ‘Run! Do it your own way!’


On occasion, when I meet one of those stubborn, small-minded, ‘I-know-God-better than-you’ Christians, I like to throw out my little teaser, saying, “You know what, my friend? I really think God is pro-choice!”

As you might be doing right now, the person I generally say this to thinks I’ve gone off my rocker and joined the dark side. But then I laugh and say…“Gotcha!”

You see, in truth, the Bible indicates very clearly that our God is pro-life in everything He does. But at the very same time, while God always honors life, He also rarely, if ever, violates His equally holy mandate of free-will which He bestows upon us earth-dwellers.

Free-will, you see, is the only choice a wise, loving God can give His creation. Anything less than free-will would mean that God is not loving at all. No loving God, you see, would create human beings as robots…men and women who must do things that are against our will.

So it’s in love when God says, ever so sadly, in Psalm 81…

But My people didn’t listen, Israel paid no attention;
So I let go of the reins and told them, ‘Run! Do it your own way!’

And so, as I see it, here is the core of our problems down here on planet earth. We have a loving Father who rescues us from evil, but also loves us so much that He will never insist that we love Him back. Thus, in our own free-will, we choose on many occasions to ignore the love emanating from our Creator-King and run off, doing life our own way, instead of choosing to follow His roadmap through life.

Hmm.

What a dilemma God has on His hands.

He could take away our free-will, keeping us safe from our own self-imposed stupidity, but then, that would not be loving. Taking away our free-will, takes away our choices. No loving God would want that. But by leaving us with our free-will, God also risks loosing many of us to the evils of this world. Indeed, bad things happen to wayward sheep running off on their own steam.

Some are killed by predators. Some are hit by cars. Some are maimed. Some wander off and remain lost forever.

But fortunately, some come to their senses and realize that returning back home to the arms of our loving Father is the best choice we can make. Some of us actually learn, in this lifetime, to say, like Jesus did, “Not my self-will, Father, but Yours.”

Some choose correctly. Others don’t.

Welcome to the world of God, our Loving Father, who on occasion has to let His children loose to practice their free-will. Only a Loving Father could be that loving. Only a Loving Father could be that pro-choice. Don’t you think?

My prayer: God, giving me free-will is a beautiful, loving thing. But at the same time, my free-will, exercised incorrectly, can kill me. Holy Spirit, thank You that You dwell inside me, guiding my free-will, giving me wisdom when I ask for it, leading me homeward when I choose God’s will over mine. May I always choose through my gift of choice to go Your way and not mine. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: How am I missing the point that God is actually desirous of teaching me to choose wisely during my life down here on planet earth? How can I become a better steward of my gift of free-will, making certain that my choices honor my Creator rather than insult Him?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?


Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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