Text: Psalm 18:21-26
Psalm 18:26 “…and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward” (Psalm 18:26).
Your choice: everlasting life or everlasting torment! — The apostle Paul wrote of “the goodness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22). He also wrote: “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” (2Corinthians 5:11)!
The previous studies on the three of the four views of God demonstrated God’s goodness and blessings and his desire to show great mercy and kindness to all men. In great contrast to the first three views of God, the fourth view warns of God’s everlasting curse to all men who refuse to “repent and turn to God” (Acts 26:20).
Moses warned Israel, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).
FROWARD: ‘Perverse, that is, turning from, with aversion or reluctance; not willing to yield or comply with what is required; unyielding; ungovernable; refractory; disobedient; peevish; as a froward child’ (Noah Webster, 1828). Synonyms: ‘contrary, insubmissive, obstinate’ (THESAURUS.COM).
PERVERSE: ‘Literally, turned aside; hence, distorted from the right; Obstinate in the wrong; disposed to be contrary; stubborn; untractable [not able to be corrected]’ (Noah Webster, 1828).
SOVEREIGNTY OF MEN
Men bring condemnation upon themselves — The children of Israel exhibited the sovereignty of men when they “turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel” (Psalm 78:41)! The Lord Jesus “came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). Jesus responded and said: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37). God has given all men the freedom of their own will to resist the “good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
God invites all men to come — In the very last chapter of the Holy Bible, God gives his last and unlimited invitation to all: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Speaking of his death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection from the dead, the Lord Jesus proclaimed, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die” (John 12:32-33).
Later in the same message, Jesus also warned, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
The apostle John summed up this truth when he wrote, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1John 5:12). The Lord Jesus declared, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:18-19).
One false soul-condemning gospel teaches that God predestinated certain men to eternal suffering, men who are given no hope of salvation. In complete contrast to this false doctrine, the Holy Bible teaches that Jesus Christ “died for all” (2Corinthians 5:14-15), that God “now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30-31), because he is “longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2Peter 3:9).
The Lord Jesus promised his apostles to send the Comforter [the Holy Ghost] after his departure, saying, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:7-11). Men who refuse to repent from their unbelief and believe “the word of God” (Hebrews 4:12), limit the will of the Lord to save them. Against the declared will of God, they deny “the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2Peter 2:1; Proverbs 1:24-31)!
The scriptures make it very plain and clear that God has given all men the sovereign will to resist God’s own will! Think and meditate on this. God’s will is to inhabit his eternal kingdom with men who will be there because each of them by their own free will chose to be there! God calls men “by our gospel (1Corinthians 15:3-4), to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2Thessalonians 2:14) Are you now one of “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26), or do you remain a condemned unbeliever? God has given you the choice to receive or to reject the Lord Jesus Christ!
GOD REPAYS THE FROWARD
Following are a few examples of the many ways by which the LORD recompenses the froward. The LORD repays them by:
A prophet is deceived by the LORD — The LORD said unto Ezekiel, “Say unto them [Israel], As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11). Nevertheless the LORD gave warning to Israel through Ezekiel, and said, “…And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him” (Ezekiel 14:7-10)!
The Lord Jesus warned his disciples, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
Unbelievers will be damned by the LORD — After the rapture of the church, when “that Wicked” is revealed, all who rejected the truth will perish “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2Thessalonians 2:8-12).
GIVING MEN OVER TO A REPROBATE MIND
Given to vile creature worshippers — God gives up to “vile affections” those who change the truth of God into a lie and serve the creature more than the Creator. To the “sodomites” (1Kings 14:24), who are an abomination to him (Leviticus 18:22), and who refuse to repent of their wickedness, God gives “them over to a reprobate mind [a mind, ‘Abandoned in sin; lost to virtue or grace’ (Noah Webster, 1828)]…” (Romans 1:25-28).
SENDING EVIL ANGELS
Plagues sent to Egypt — When the LORD sent the plagues upon Egypt: water turned to blood, flies, frogs, caterpillars, locusts, hail, hot thunderbolts, and frost, “He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them” (Psalm 78:43-49).
SENDING A LYING SPIRIT
Ahab’s fatal belief — When the LORD sought to kill Ahab for his wickedness, he offered Ahab a choice of which prophet(s) he would believe. This took place when Ahab the wicked king of Israel asked the king of Judah to go with him to battle to Ramothgilead. Jehoshaphat responded by asking Ahab to enquire of the LORD.
So Ahab gathered four hundred of his prophets together and asked them of the matter. Ahab’s prophets with one consent said, “Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king” (1Kings 22:1-6). “And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?” (1Kings 22:7). Ahab answered, “There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (1Kings 22:8).
After one of Ahab’s officers brought up Micaiah from the prison, he said, “I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace” (1Kings 22:17). By these words Micaiah prophesied the death of Ahab in the battle. Micaiah then continued his speech, and finished with the declaration: “Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee” (1Kings 22:19-23). The prophecy of Micaiah, the prophet of God, came to pass (1Kings 22:24-36) when Ahab went up and died in the battle.
FAMINE AND PESTILENCE
The LORD offered David three choices of how he would be repaid for his sin of pride and misplaced trust in men when he numbered Israel: to suffer seven years of famine, to flee three months before his enemies, or to suffer three days of pestilence [that which produces the plague, or other malignant, contagious disease; noxious to health and life like the covid 19 coronavirus]. David chose to fall into the hands of the LORD. “So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men” (2Samuel 24:12-15).
USING WICKED MEN
The wicked are the hand of the LORD — David said, “Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes” (Psalm 17:13-14).
God uses wicked men to chasten and judge his own people—When the ten northern tribes of Israel were disobedient, the LORD sent the king of Assyria to carry “them captive to Assyria” (2Kings 15:29; 1Kings 8:46).
When the two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin were disobedient, the LORD sent Nebuchadnezzar, his “battle axe” (2Kings 24:11-16), to carry away the people of Jerusalem.
Ahaz king of Judah in Jerusalem “did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD” (2Chronicles 28:1). Ahaz “walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim… burnt his children in the fire… burnt incense in the high places” (2Chronicles 28:1-4), and trespassed in other ways. “Wherefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter” (2Chronicles 28:5).
THE GOSPEL COMMENDS GOD’S GREAT LOVE TO ALL FROWARD MEN
God foreordained the gospel of Christ — God “foreordained [predestinated: predetermined] before the foundation of the world” (1Peter 1:18-21) that he would prepare a body (Hebrews 10:5) for his everlasting Son (Micah 5:2) by causing a virgin to conceive “a man child” (Revelation 12:5) “of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:20). The angel Gabriel told Mary that she would bring forth a son, and that she would “call his name JESUS” (Luke 1:31), the “name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9-10), “whose name alone is excellent” (Psalm 148:13): the only “name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12)!
The gospel reveals God’s eternal purpose — Therefore God foreordained that Jesus Christ would “taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9): that he would die “for all” (2Corinthians 5:14-15). God’s eternal purpose for creating man in his own image (Genesis 1:26) from the dust of this first earth (Genesis 3:19) is to populate his everlasting kingdom in the “new Jerusalem” (Revelation 3:12), and in the “new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17) with men who will live with him for ever, because they chose to receive the Lord as their Saviour: men who have been “saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8-9) in Jesus Christ, men who have been “made the righteousness of God in him” (2Corinthians 5:21).
All of the new things (Revelation 21:5), “wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2Peter 3:13), which the LORD will create, will remain before him (Isaiah 66:22).
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2Peter 3:10). The first and present heaven and earth will pass away and “shall not be remembered” (Isaiah 65:17). No man can imagine how wonderful eternal life in a perfect body in God’s new creation will be! The apostle Paul affirms: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1Corinthians 2:9).
Therefore “when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). It was on the cross where God demonstrated “the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). The “glorious gospel of Christ” (2Corinthians 4:4)—also called, “the glorious gospel of the blessed God” (1Timothy 1:11), is “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1Corinthians 15:3-4).
On the cross of Calvary, “God commendeth [‘To represent as worthy of notice, regard, or kindness; to speak in favor of; to recommend…To produce or present to favorable notice’ (Noah Webster, 1828)] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
God used wicked hands to crucify his Son — The word of God clearly settles the controversy among some men over who was responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. By the scriptures we understand that God the Father used the hands of unwitting and ignorant heathen to crucify his “only begotten Son” (John 3:16-18)! At the hands of heathen men, children of the devil (John 8:44; Genesis 3:15), the LORD bruised his Son, put him to grief, and made “his soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10-11): “an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:2): “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2Corinthians 5:21).
Wicked men acted according to God’s predetermined counsel — The apostle Peter told the men of Israel, “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses… And now, brethren, I wot [know] that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled” (Acts 3:12-18).
The disciples also acknowledged the Lord’s work by the hands of wicked men, saying, “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done” (Acts 4:27-28).
From the greatest evil proceeded the greatest good — After Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, who had sold him as a slave into Egypt, he said unto them, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20). In like manner, the great evil of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus by the hands of wicked men whose intentions and acts were both very evil, made the redemption of all men possible! Knowing that the men who crucified him were doing so in ignorance, Jesus said from his cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots” (Luke 23:34).
After Jesus yielded up the ghost, “when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:50-54). We may meet in glory one or more among those that drove the nails into the hands and feet of the Son of God! The apostle Paul confessed that he “was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 1:13-14).
Hopefully these studies on the four views of God from Psalm 18:25-26 have shown how God delights in showing mercy, and has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
My view of God — For the first 41 years of my life, I was among those who “did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28). I was a man who despised the riches of God’s “goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God” (Romans 2:4) would lead me to repentance. Then at age 41 on one rainy day in June of 1979, I sat “in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; Because…[I was a rebel]… against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High” (Psalm 107:10-11).
While sitting in my house alone, I read the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke; and while I was reading in the first chapter of John’s gospel, the truth became clear to me. On that wonderful day when I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, I “passed from death unto life” (John 5:24)! God sent his word, and healed me, and delivered me from my destruction. I cried unto the LORD in my trouble, and he saved me out of my distresses (Psalm 107:12-20). Now for forty-two years, I have been praising “the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:15). Now my view of God is excellent beyond description!
Your view of God — Any man’s view of God is a supernatural reflection of himself! If you are merciful, God will show himself merciful to you. If you are upright, God will show himself upright to you. If you are pure, God will show himself pure to you. But if you are froward, you will see God also as froward, which is an absolute and blasphemous lie! The living and true God is holy, just, righteous, merciful, perfect, and good, among many other wonderful things!
To all those who have been saved “according to his mercy” (Titus 3:5), the psalmist declared, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever… Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever: And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 136:1-26)
If you are an unbeliever, my hope is that you will read the Holy Bible for yourself and allow “the word of God” (Hebrews 4:12) to cut through your darkness and shine the light of the glorious gospel of Christ into your heart: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9); that saving “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17): “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).