August 26, 2018
God does not learn.
He never is taken by surprise.
The word “oops” is not in His vocabulary.
Think about it. The One Who has all knowledge and is eternal never experiences surprise. Never does He encounter something about which He was unaware or had not considered previously. He does not learn.
We are not like that. Even though some people seem averse to learning anything outside their tiny view of the world, we are meant to learn. If you know a person who seems never to learn, that is a sad situation. Blithely careening through life, making similar poor choices on repeat. We who are wholly different from God are meant to learn. Trouble looms over the future of a non-learner.
I know a young man who has lived this way for around 15 years. He exclaims his great desire to know God and change his life. When he is released from incarceration for the umpteenth time, he refuses to submit to outside help. Being an addict, outside help is exactly what he needs. But he wants to do it alone. Endless circle of dumb choices. Others and I have tried to steer him in helpful directions. We are at the place of having to change our stated approaches to him. We know the way he needs to go, and how. He refuses. So we have “regret”, not at our attempts to help, but at his awful life path.
God has made strong pronouncements in history. People who hear such pronouncements have a limited, present insight into the mind of God. His pronouncements of impending judgment are accurate and certain. If people continue in their stubborn, self-informed ways, judgment will fall as stated.
When repentance comes on the part of the people over whom He has made the pronouncement, God has made other pronouncements, reversing the first statements He had made. He knew all along what He would do, but the humans involved did not.
God’s repenting is not based upon ignorance, failure, or surprise. God’s repenting is based upon foreseeing the future he ordained; He knows the end from the beginning.
The account of King Saul, in ancient Israel, illustrates this. Here is an article that digs into the scenario which seems like God changed His mind. See what you think.
As John Piper points out, God is quite capable of lamenting a state of affairs He Himself foreknew and brought about. In other words, God’s regret is not analogous to our regret.
When God has regret over his creation, it is due to the fact that He regrets sin, stubbornness, and disobedience in people He loves. And He loves like none of us really understand.
People were never designed to live in such conditions, even though they were given the freedom to choose such a course of action.
Humility is the factor which will prevent God-regret being exclaimed over you.