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makrothumia
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Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 668
Texas

 Where God's proactive effort and man's response meet

I am studying Jeremiah pondering the dynamic synergy of God's proactive efforts to turn His people back to Himself and their own response to His gracious initiatives. The precision of the grammar in the LXX (Septuagint) shines a light upon God's desire for mercy and the stubborn resistance of the people that brought judgment upon them.

Here are some insights gained from the grammar. The command for the people "to turn" is repeatedly written using both the imperative mood, and the passive voice. The implication is "allow yourselves to be turned" - indicating that God is actively seeking to turn them through Jeremiah and His other forms of correction.

God's declaration to the people to "yield to His attempt to turn them" is conjoined with their response. Here is an example from Chapter 3:12-13
"Be turned back unto Me, O house of Israel, and I will not strengthen My face against you, because I am merciful, and I will not despise you unto the age. Know fully your unrighteousness, that you were ungodly unto your God, and you dispersed your ways unto every stranger under every shaded tree, but you have not obeyed My voice says the Lord. Be turned sons having revolted, because I will have dominion over you..."

Later in the same passage God's promise of healing is set before the people. Verse 22 - "Be turned, sons actively turning away, and I will heal your wounds." If the people who are actively turning away, will yield to God's efforts to turn them back, they will be healed. This same dynamic relationship is found in Matthew 13:15
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.

The quotation from Isaiah has all the responses of the people in the "active voice" they have closed their eyes, they have not heard with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts, and they shall turn and I will heal them. Men must turn - then God will heal.

God's proactive effort to turn men back to Himself must be received by those He is seeking to turn. Without His gracious attempt to "turn us", we would be forever lost. But, although He calls men "be turned" - He does not force that turn upon men. His efforts must be received. Men must yield to His grace and mercy. They must cooperate with God.

When men refuse to receive His initiatives, Jeremiah records it this way. Chapter 5:3
O LORD, do not Your eyes look for truth?
You have smitten them,
But they did not weaken;
You have consumed them,
But they refused to welcome correction.
They have made their faces harder than rock;
They have refused to repent

All of us can be confident that God is proactive in seeking to turn men back to Himself. He seeks to "humble men" and we need to "be humbled". He seeks "to turn men" and we need to "be turned". His efforts are proactive and prolonged because He desires mercy. Nevertheless, His grace must be "welcomed" - received. Men must yield to His attempts to humble them and turn them. If they yield to His attempts and actively turn toward Him - they will be healed.

The words, the grammar is "God breathed" - infused with His spirit and life to show us the dynamic relationship of grace and faith. God inspired the writers to choose the specific grammar to make His desire for mercy and our responsibility to receive His efforts clear beyond all doubt.

mak


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Alan and Dina Martin

 2020/5/12 8:53Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4802


 Re: Where God's proactive effort and man's response meet



GIMEL
Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.

Psa 119:18

Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.

Psa 119:19

I am a stranger in the earth;
Do not hide Your commandments from me.

Psa 119:20

My soul breaks with longing
For Your judgments at all times.

Psa 119:21

You rebuke the proud—the cursed,
Who stray from Your commandments.

Psa 119:22

Remove from me reproach and contempt,
For I have kept Your testimonies.

Psa 119:23

Princes also sit and speak against me,
But Your servant meditates on Your statutes.

Psa 119:24

Your testimonies also are my delight
And my counselors.

Amen


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Jeff Marshalek

 2020/5/12 12:47Profile
makrothumia
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Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 668
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 Re:

God desires mercy - and He will have mercy upon whom He has mercy and He will harden whom He hardens - but is there a basis for His decision that involves man's response?

Will God withhold mercy from those He has promised mercy if they turn away from doing righteousness? Will He give mercy to someone to whom He had decreed judgment, if such a man turns from His wickedness to do righteousness?

Consider God's words through Jeremiah in chapter 5:7-9
"On what basis will I be merciful to you? Your sons have forsaken me and have sworn by things that are not gods. I fed them, and they committed adultery and stayed in prostitutes’ houses. 8 They became wanton horses; each one vied for the wife of his neighbor. 9 Shall I not inspect them at these things?” says the Lord. “Or shall my soul not be avenged on a people such as this?”

We must embrace all God's words related to mercy. Those that declare it does not depend upon man's desire or effort, and those that place a condition upon turning away from wickedness. It must never be one or the other - but always both.

mak


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Alan and Dina Martin

 2020/5/13 5:50Profile
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 Re:

Hi Mak,

Thanks for your scholarship on the Septuagint translation for the Jeremiah passages you cite.

I just wanted to ask you whether you see any distinction God has made with the mercy He showed His people Israel and that He showed through OT history to the rest of the gentile nations. It seems like you are extrapolating from His expressions towards Israel and applying that to the rest of mankind, the nations and gentiles at that time. Maybe you aren't and I'm just over stating your conclusions?


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Robert

 2020/5/13 6:02Profile
makrothumia
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Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 668
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 Re:

Thanks for the question. I have not considered that, but I will give that some thought. That is a wonderful part of this forum, that other brothers can help you consider aspects you have not yet thought through.

Since I have been in Jeremiah, I will offer this passage from chapter 12 for consideration towards the question.
Chapter 12
14This is what the LORD says: “As for all My evil neighbors who attack the inheritance that I bequeathed to My people Israel, I am about to uproot them from their land, and I will uproot the house of Judah from among them. 15But after I have uprooted them, I will once again have compassion on them and return each one to his inheritance and to his land.
16And if they will diligently learn the ways of My people and swear by My name, saying, ‘As surely as the LORD lives’—just as they once taught My people to swear by Baal—then they will be established among My people. 17But if they will not obey, then I will uproot that nation; I will uproot it and destroy it, declares the LORD.”

In Isaiah the Lord even promises favor for Ammonites and Moabites whose hearts have been moved towards Him. Chapter 56
3Let no foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say,
“The LORD will utterly exclude me from His people.”
And let the eunuch not say,
“I am but a dry tree.”
4For this is what the LORD says:

“To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,
who choose what pleases Me
and hold fast to My covenant—
5I will give them, in My house and within My walls,
a memorial and a name
better than that of sons and daughters.
I will give them an everlasting name
that will not be cut off.

Please consider these passages and let’s continue searching out His mercy together.

Mak


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Alan and Dina Martin

 2020/5/13 8:00Profile
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 Re: Where God's proactive effort and man's response meet

Brother Alan,

Yes this is a worthy topic 🙏🏻
I too appreciate the hand wherewith you have drawn out this point to be observed, contemplated and discussed- hopefully finding concordance amongst the body of believers

I can still remember years ago while in discipleship training it occurred to me that this was a subject that requires attention, the subject of where does the sovereignty of God end and the free will of man begin,...

Tho, if I’m being honest, I concluded it was a fluid border in that it moves- receding and advancing depending on the person and circumstances... but (if I’m reading you correctly) I also concluded their is indeed a dynamic aspect to it complete with emergent properties that signifies communion. It’s a subject that is so important to our faith but because of such intense personal passion, people sometimes shrink back from the perceived pushback and the subject goes without exploring .


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Fletcher

 2020/5/13 8:18Profile
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 Re: Where God's proactive effort and man's response meet

Hi Mak,

I am aware that God is always practicing mercy in all the earth and delights to do so. Of course, his movements of mercy are entirely up to Him and I think we agree on that. What I was referring to in my question is how does your analysis on the "imperative mood/ passive voice" play out with regard to the other nations. I was wondering whether your knowledge of the Greek in this regard reveals that He had the same heart and attitude toward the nations as He obviously did to His people Israel in commanding, pleading and reaching out His hand for repentance. Finally, I was wondering how you see God extending His message of "turning" to the nations when they did not ostensibly have access to Jeremiah et.al.? I hadn't thought about that last question before and it seems puzzling to me. I am thinking of the example of Nineveh and the preaching of Jonah. There God had a simple but effective message of soon judgment which He described as merciful.


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Robert

 2020/5/13 13:26Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4802


 Re:

Here is an example of God's mercy...

Job 33:14
For God may speak in one way, or in another,
Yet man does not perceive it.

Job 33:15
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
When deep sleep falls upon men,
While slumbering on their beds,

Job 33:16
Then He opens the ears of men,
And seals their instruction.

Job 33:17
In order to turn man from his deed,
And conceal pride from man,

Job 33:18
He keeps back his soul from the Pit,
And his life from perishing by the sword.

Job 33:19
“Man is also chastened with pain on his bed,
And with strong pain in many of his bones,

Job 33:20
So that his life abhors bread,
And his soul succulent food.

Job 33:21
His flesh wastes away from sight,
And his bones stick out which once were not seen.

Job 33:22
Yes, his soul draws near the Pit,
And his life to the executioners.

Job 33:23
“If there is a messenger for him,
A mediator, one among a thousand,
To show man His uprightness,

Job 33:24
Then He is gracious to him, and says,
‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit;
I have found a ransom’;

Job 33:25
His flesh shall be young like a child’s,
He shall return to the days of his youth.

Job 33:26
He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him,
He shall see His face with joy,
For He restores to man His righteousness.

Job 33:27
Then he looks at men and says,
‘I have sinned, and perverted what was right,
And it did not profit me.’

Job 33:28
He will redeem his[fn] soul from going down to the Pit,
And his[fn] life shall see the light.

Job 33:29
“Behold, God works all these things,
Twice, in fact, three times with a man,

Job 33:30
To bring back his soul from the Pit,
That he may be enlightened with the light of life.


God's mercy is extended to man over the process of time. God's grace is given "To bring back his soul from the Pit, that he may be enlightened with the light of life.


As a side note...Job lived outside the time of Israel.


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Jeff Marshalek

 2020/5/13 13:57Profile
makrothumia
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Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 668
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 Re:

Thank you for clarifying your question Robert. Pondering your question, brought this passage to mind from Jeremiah 18

Here is the passage from the Lexham English Septuagint

The word that came from the Lord to Jeremiah, saying,
2 “Rise up and go down to the house of the potter, and there you will hear my words.” 3 And I went down to house of the potter and look! He was doing work on the stones. 4 And the vessel that he was making fell in his hands, and he ⌊remade⌋ it another vessel, as it pleased him to do. 5 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 6 “Shall I not be able to do with you just as this potter, O house of Israel? Look, in my hands you are like the clay is to the potter. 7 Finally I will speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to remove and destroy it. 8 And let that nation turn from all their evil, and I will change my mind concerning the evil that I have planned to do to them. 9 And finally I will speak concerning a nation and a kingdom to rebuild and to plant it, 10 and they do evil before me so as not to hear my voice. And I will change my mind concerning the good things that I have spoken to do to them

The Greek of the LXX in verse 8 for "turn" is an aorist, passive, subjunctive, - indicating the translators of the ancient Hebrew text saw the "turning" as potential but not indicative. This is followed by the word "I will heal" which is in the future, active, indicative. This is a very common conditional clause. If the condition is met, this is the action that will follow.

Although, as you have indicated, Israel, would have had abundantly more access to God's servants and mercies than other nations, here God extends the same hope for mercy unto them.

I hope that helps, or at least directs us to the next clarification.

mak
.


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Alan and Dina Martin

 2020/5/13 14:14Profile
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Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 487
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 Re:

thanks Mak. I get what you are saying that God holds out a compassion if they will turn to God or fear God as Psalm 103 says. What I was asking is if you had any cites for the proposition that the nations knew of this extension of mercy. Where would they have learned the condition? I'm not doubting the condition but rather contemplating the communication of it.


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Robert

 2020/5/13 14:24Profile





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