GOD'S PERPLEXING APPROVAL, PERMISSION OR INSTRUCTION TO ACHIEVE PURPOSE.
The Almighty God is awesome and his ways are past searching out. His ways are not our ways and sometimes he will approve the unusual in order to achieve his divine purpose, prove a point or teach a lesson. (Isaiah 55: 7-9).
The most memorable instance of this character of God is found in the story of Job. God boasted about Job and vouched for his integrity to Satan. On Satan’s request, God gave approval for the affliction of Job. First was the loss of his properties and his children, followed by affliction of his body. (Job 1:12, Job 2:6). In all these tribulations, Job held on to his integrity and he would rather curse himself, the day and circumstance of his birth rather than his creator. (Job 1:22, Job 3: 1-26).
The Lord restored double all that Job lost after obeying God and praying for his friends who accused him of self - righteousness. (See Job 4:17, Job 6:29, Job 42:6-10).
The second circumstance in which God gave unusual approval to achieve his purpose was when King Ahab of Israel was killed according to the prophecy of Prophet Micaiah. (1 King. 22: 1-40).
The King decided to ally with king Jehoshaphat of Judah to fight against the king of Syria to repossess Ramoth Gilead. It was God’s plan to set king Ahab up to go and die in the battle to possess Ramoth Gilead, and to achieve this, God approved of a spirit being that came before the presence of God to be a lying spirit in the mouth of prophets consulted by King Ahab, that he will indeed win and the land in contention will be handed over to him.
This plan was disclosed to Ahab and Jehoshaphat by Prophet Micaiah who was the last and alternate prophet to be consulted as suggested by Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to confirm or contradict the initial prophecy by many prophets to the effect that Ahab will come back victorious.
At first, even Prophet Micaiah lied to Ahab and said the Lord will deliver Ramoth Gilead into his hands. “Go and prosper, for the Lord has delivered it into the hand of the king!”
(1 king. 22: 15 NKJV). Further prodding led to the contrary prophecy, thus “I saw Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no Shepherd. And the Lord said ‘These have no master… ’
Prophet Micaiah later swore with absolute confidence concerning Ahab, “If you ever return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” (1king 22: 28 NKJV).
Ahab was wounded and eventually died after hiding himself and dogs licked his blood as earlier prophesied. So God’s plan and purpose to terminate the life of King Ahab was accomplished.
Also of importance was the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt through the hands of Moses. We learn that God deliberately hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt against releasing the Children of Israel after each plague until the last plague. The Almighty God said he did this to show his power over Pharaoh, his magicians and sorcerers, such that they may know that he is God. “Now the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine before him."
(Exodus.10: 1; Exodus. 7: 3; Exodus. 9: 12 NKJV).
In another instance, God commanded Saul, King of Israel through Prophet Samuel to completely destroy the Amalekites and all that were associated with them. (1 Sam. 15: 2-3). We see here an attitude or resolve of God towards those regarded as his enemy. This is a type and shadow of God’s ultimate wrath against unrepentant enemies.
It is usually asked by people who might be confused about the nature and character of God why a good God should order the killing of even infants and nursing children?
1 Samuel.15: 18 clearly reveals the mind of God; “Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’” The Amalekites are described here as sinners and that is the basis for their punishment. Perhaps if they had repented, they would have been forgiven and spared.
Even Jesus pronounced concerning unrepentant sinners, “And you, Capernaum would be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the Day of Judgment than for you.”(Matthew. 11: 23-24).
Children of God should be able to make a distinction between 'the ways of God' and 'the acts of God'. Ps. 103: 7 reads "he made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel." Without revelation by the Spirit of God, just observing and perceiving the acts of God may lead to wrong conclusion and perception of God and his character.
We may also consider the betrayal of our Savior Jesus Christ by Judas Iscariot as one of the mysterious ways in which divine purpose is accomplished.
Judas Iscariot was chosen by Jesus as one of the twelve Apostles who worked closely with him. (Mark.3:14, 19). God's perfect plan of redemption had to be accomplished whereby God permitted his son to be betrayed,handed over and killed as our eternal sacrifice through his precious blood.
'Satan entered into Judas' as soon as Jesus pronounced him the betrayer. (John 13: 27). Jesus himself later said to those who arrested him, "When I was with you daily in the temple,you did not try to seize me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness." (Luke. 22: 53). He had earlier said, "Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour.(John 12: 27).
He later agonized in the garden of Gethsemane, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful even to death ..., "O my father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." (Matthew. 26: 38-39 NKJV). The will of the Father prevailed for the purpose of redemption of mankind.
The foregoing instances may not be exhaustive but we can appreciate the thoughts and ways of God, though sometimes perplexing, yet he works everything according to his predetermined purposes.