What is the significance of Psalm 106:23?

“Therefore he said he would destroy them—
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him,
to turn away his wrath from destroying them.”

Moses (on several occasions, we have seen) persuaded God to change his mind regarding his plan to judge Israel. This inspired verse explicitly says that God “would destroy them…had not Moses…stood in the breach.” If God always foreknew that Moses was going to stand in the breach and thus that he wasn’t going to destroy Israel, can we avoid concluding that his declaration to Moses that he was going to destroy Israel was somewhat duplicitous? If the outcome was eternally known to God, can we avoid getting the impression that he was playing a Machiavellian game with his prophet?

If we trust that God is above such antics, however, we must accept the straightforward meaning of this verse. Accepting this view has the added advantage of accentuating the importance and urgency of intercessory prayer in a way that is, I believe, impossible if we believe the future is exhaustively settled in God’s mind (cf. Ezek. 22:29–31).

Category:
Tags: ,
Topics:
Verse:

Related Reading

Can Science Inform Our Theology?

Over the last century, we have witnessed a revolution in various areas of science that relate to how we see the world and even God. For example, the Platonic notion that time and change are less real than timeless stability is being abandoned in light of the fact that physicists work from the assumption that…

Topics:

How do you respond to Isaiah 45:7/Lamentations 3:37–38?

The Lord says,“I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7) “Who can command and have it done if the Lord has not ordained it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” (Lamentations 3:37-38) Calvinists…

Could the God of Open Theism Have Foreknown the Crucifixion was Going to Happen? (podcast)

Greg talks about a really really really smart and good God in a really really really bad world against a not-quite-as-smart adversary. Episode 540 http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0540.mp3

What is the significance of Ezekiel 22:29–31?

The Lord says he “sought for” someone to stand in the breech for Israel “but I found none.” Hence Israel experienced the wrath of God. If everything that shall ever come to pass is eternally fixed in the divine mind, God would have foreknown that no one would respond to his call for a Moses-like…

Topics:

Greg Boyd Chats with Thomas Jay Oord (podcast)

Greg talks with Thomas Jay Oord about what God can and can’t do.  Episode 674 http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0674.mp3

How do you respond to Genesis 15:13–15?

The Lord tells Abraham that his offspring “shall be aliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves here, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” This passage may constitute…