This is an important subject for all believers to comprehend – too many Christians adhere to an idea that God is “in control” in a way which the Tanakh shows He is not. I don’t mean that to sound disprespectful of God in any way, but we see again and again that people let God down and don’t do what He wants. He gave us free will, and we can use that to thwart His best plans for our lives if we are not careful.
Moses was meant to stand alone before, and lead, Israel. Moses thought he wasn’t a good enough speaker, and so Aaron was included in the plan (and Miriam, by extension). This change in God’s original plan had conseqences. Who would have made the golden calf while Moses was on the mountain with God, had it not been for Aaron? In Exodus 4:13-14 we read:
But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.
Saul, also, a spectacular physical specimen of a man, turned out to be not an ideal King over Israel. He disappointed God. In 1 Samuel 15:10-11 we read:
Now the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying, “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the LORD all night.
We can also make agreements which thwart the perfect will of God, and those also have consequences. Do you remember the story of the deceiving Gibeonites? They pretended to come from afar to Joshua to ask him to make a covenant with them. Not realising that they were the people of the land whom God had told them to kill and drive out, and without consulting God, Joshua and the rulers of the congregation made an agreement with them. When the truth was told, Joshua told them they would be slaves, and wood cutters and water bearers forever to the children of Israel.
The binding nature of this covenant is seen only later, after the people were living under David as their king. For during the time of Saul, Saul had taken it upon himself to “right this wrong” by persecuting the Gibeonites. We read in 2 Samuel 21:1-6:
Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, “It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.” 2 So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. Now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; the children of Israel had sworn protection to them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah.
3 Therefore David said to the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make atonement, that you may bless the inheritance of the Lord?”
4 And the Gibeonites said to him, “We will have no silver or gold from Saul or from his house, nor shall you kill any man in Israel for us.”
So he said, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.”
5 Then they answered the king, “As for the man who consumed us and plotted against us, that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the territories of Israel, 6 let seven men of his descendants be delivered to us, and we will hang them before the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord chose.”
And the king said, “I will give them.”
And seven men were then put to death by the Gibeonites, and the famine was ended.
As believers we must never forget that we live under a God who respects covenants – we enter into covenant when we stand in agreement with others – whether they are law-abiding or not. Be careful of your words, and your promises, in case you bind yourself before God and suffer the consequences. God works with you – He works according to your willingness. If you love lawlessness He is unlikely to reveal His law as truth to you. Pride and stiff-necked attitudes will limit your relationship with God. Humility and seeking Him with an honest heart is good, but we all have a past. We have all entered into agreements we no longer would if we were choosing again. Pray about this in your own life, and ask God to show you where you may have gone wrong, and how to get right with Him and those you may have wronged.
God Bless you