Within some circles, and especially Calvinistic theology, it is taught that the answer to the title question is “YES”, but nothing is further from the truth. Throughout the scripture there is example after example of places where God foreknew an outcome, yet that outcome DID NOT occur. Well how can that be? I have chosen a text where this very thing is demonstrated in where King David delivered the city of Keilah from being pillaged by the Phillistines.
In the first situation, after David was informed that Keilah was being raided, David finds himself in a predicament. Saul is seeking to kill David, so David and his small group of loyal men were in hiding. But David, being a man with a just heart, would naturally want to defend the people of Keilah. So David did what David always did, he inquired of the Lord. We read here in….
1 Samuel 23:1-5
Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” Therefore David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the LORD said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” Then David inquired of the LORD again. And the LORD answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
So we see that David sought God for information about whether or not to go to Keilah and defend them, and if he should rise against this brutal Phillistine army. And God declares for David and his men to go, and they will defeat the Phillistines. Question?: Did David have to go and was this event predestined to happen? The best way to answer that is to ask, “Is there anywhere else where God told David to do, or not do something, and David disobeyed? Ughhh Yes!!!!! Remember when David was told NOT to number the people of Israel by God, and he did it anyway? Was that failure predestined by God? If so, if God predestined it, why was David punished by God? I though Yahweh was a just and righteous God? So to say God predestined David to fail is to bring an accusation against the holy character of God. That is pretty stupid logic, folks!! Just saying.
But as we read on in this narrative in 1 Samuel 23, we see something more clear about God’s foreknowledge versus the idea of “predestination.” Let’s read….
1 Samuel 23:6-12
When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand. Now it was told to Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, “God has given him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” Then David said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the LORD said, “He will come down.” Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will surrender you.”
So again, David seeks God for His foreknowledge and God confirms that Saul will come down to seek his life, and that to save themselves from Saul, the people of Keilah would hand David over to Saul. Talk about ingratitude, LOL! David and his little 600 man army took on the barbaric Phillistines and just saved them. But that is just like people. No marvel there.
But we have seen the foreknowledge of events that God has, and that God shares insight with his prophet. But does God’s foreknowledge equal predestination? Let’s finish the passages…..
1 Samuel 23:13-14
Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition. And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.
Do you see it?? God told David that Saul indeed would come down and that the natives of Keilah would give David up, but notice how David makes his own decision to flee Keilah and return to hiding. And all of a sudden Saul, whom God in His foreknowledge had declared would come to kill David, and the people would turn them over, AND the text tells us Saul had already mobilized his men to go there, yet the thing God had foreseen DID NOT COME TO PASS. David’s decision altered Saul’s decision, and therefore the foreseen outcome by God for that moment was altered. Foreknowledge DOES NOT DENOTE PREDESTINATION.
Just because God knows what will happen does not mean a thing must happen. David’s freewill to run thwarted the thing that God knew was coming. Human beings with freewill change things by our decisions. What do we think prayer is for? To alter the course of things set in motion. But the thing that is predestined by God is God’s plan of redemption, and that will happen as God said, with or without our help. The crucial thing is whether or not an individual will be a partaker in that plan for their own life, or deny God an be cast away at judgment. Every man is judged according to what He did in obeying or disobeying the plan of God, which to us is the Law of Christ. People will go to hell by our disobedience, and people will be saved by our decisions to obey God. We will be judged by what we did with His Word in obeying it. But the redemptive plan was predetermined before man was made and it will come to pass. The number saved by it will be on us. He died to save ALL people, unlike the heretics of the Reformation tried to say. God predestined no one to hell. If you end up in hell, you stomped on the blood of Jesus to get there.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that WHOEVER believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of OBEDIENCE, WHICH LEADS TO RIGHTEOUSNESS?”