Thursday, August 30, 2012
Questions, Questions, Questions
This is the second in a series of articles looking at questions found in the Bible. I think we can learn a lot from questions people ask. Sometimes we learn something from the answer. The question for today is one that David asked. It is found in 1 Samuel 23:11 “Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand?”
Now you might be asking yourself, “What kind of question is that, and what can we learn from it?”
Let me set the scene for you. David is running away from Saul who plans to kill him. David had entered a town called Keilah and when Saul had heard that David was holed up in the town, he made plans to go and besiege David and his men. David called for the priest with the intent of asking God through the priest what would happen. That’s where our question comes in. David wanted to know from God whether Saul would actually come there and if he did, would the people of the city give him up to his enemy.
The question and its answer tell us something interesting about God. The Lord’s answer is, “Yes, he will come down.” and “Yes, the men will turn you over to Saul.” Upon hearing this response, David and his 600 men arose and escaped from Keilah before Saul got there.
Does God know what would happen if certain events take place? This incident shows us that He does. David was basically asking if events continued as they seemed to be going, would he be turned over. As it actually turned out, Saul did not come to the city and David was not handed over. Some would say God had the information wrong. But all of us know how language is used. God knew that if David stayed put, Saul would continue his plan to attack the city and the men of the city would in fact turn David over to Saul. God knew with certainty what would happen if certain other events preceded them. This is different from not knowing anything in advance as some men have proposed. If David had stayed where he was, he would have been turned over. This was God’s certain knowledge of a contingent event.
This is interesting to me because there is a great deal of debate about what God knows in advance. Some say God can know nothing for certain until he sees what man will do. I reject that view. To me this incident does not support that view. David didn’t ask God what would actually happen in the future. He asked what would happen if certain things took place. To me this affirms God’s knowledge of future events including those which are dependent on an earlier event.