“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17)
How many of you can honestly say that the Lord has forced you to work for Him, that He has given you no choice in the matter to which He has laid at your feet? I am not sure if Jonah had the same Spiritual knowledge that David wrote of in Psalm 139:7, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” All I know is that he went to Joppa to board a ship. But I also know that he did not want to do what God told him to do and that God really didn’t care if he wanted to or not.
I equate this loss of free will, if you please, with the many places in the Book of Genesis where it is recorded that the Almighty hardened Pharaoh’s heart, some will say that He simply showed Pharaoh who he was inside, the intent of his own heart, but that is not what the Scriptures say, God modified the thought processes of Pharaoh. To those of you who would contend this proposal I offer Ezekiel 36:26, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”
Does that sound like the exercise of free will, or an act of God done without any effort or request by us, without asking the Lord to perform that operation within us?
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16) “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44) There are more, many more.
In light of these truths, I would question you on this, has the Almighty forced you to serve Him against your will?
I do not believe that many can differentiate between a supposed obligation within themselves and the hand of God upon them for His glory, and honestly, I do not think that many of them want to. They want to serve when they want to, when it is convenient for them to, when serving Christ does not interfere with serving themselves, and such is how we attempt to make God less than what He is, completely and unquestionably Sovereign over all of His creation.
Man can only enforce his will upon another by either enticing them, through coercion, or by force, through chains and pain, there are only two options. Free will can easily be removed by fear or presumed love. But God can change the way you think, He can not only prepare a large fish, but turn stone to flesh, and in all reality whether you like it or not.
I offer this statement for your consideration, there is no escape from hell or from heaven, and in it is truth. No one by their own power can escape God, if He has chosen you, you will remain chosen, if you are a vessel fitted for wrath, (John 3:36) that is what you will be. The eternal question, did Lucifer have a choice, did Judas Iscariot, Pharaoh or Moses? Do you? Can you say you are a born-again believer and choose to either serve or not serve God?
The most basic answer which is not the root of the question is that if indeed we are truly saved by grace through faith and we chose to disobey, there will be some form of repercussions for our actions or inactions, or that when we do obey there will be rewards or blessings, but this does not address the base of the question, can the Most High do with us whatever He wants to do whenever He wants to?
By forcing certain circumstances upon us, as in a storm and a big fish, He forces us to make a decision, yet when we are spit out on dry land, is the choice still ours? To obey or rebel, how much of our free will can override the Sovereignty of the Most High? When was the last time that God forced you to obey, who is changing that heart of stone inside of you into one of flesh, and can that be done without your approval?