3. The Human Veto to Prophetic Options 

Can such negative possibilities emanate from a good God?  Can opposite prophecies proceed from the same God? Does He contradict Himself?  The answer is in the verses between verse 15 and verse 19, where God shows that whichever of the options becomes a possibility was going to be determined not by His omnipotence but by the lifestyle and choices of the people, whether they would obey Him or rebel.  In other words, the power to ‘fulfil’ any of such prophetic options would not be divine determinism but human prerogatives.  In other words, some future (not every future) is a set of undetermined possibilities any of which can be ‘created’ by the human choice.  God respects the choices that earthlings make in their space (1 Samuel 8:4-7; Psalm 115:16), which explains why He once lamented thus over Israel, without interfering, 

O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deuteronomy 5:29). 

Human choices are important in creating some ‘fulfilments.’  Everybody might not always vote a choice, but a certain critical mass can be a ‘majority’ in the prophetic parliament that passes a motion for the rest of the land.  Everybody might not have turned from their sin, but we can speak of a revival when there is a prominent or reasonable righteous majority.  

Except in cases of divine intervention and a heavenly veto, numbers as well as the authority of thrones and altars, of kings and priests and gatekeepers, can be a significant factor in the fate of a land (Genesis 18:32; Ezekiel 22:30).   When Jesus lamented over Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44, it was not because there was no righteous person in all the land; it was not because everyone had been blind to the season.  At least Jesus Himself was there, as well as some of His disciples who understood the times to a certain degree (Acts 1:6-7).  Nonetheless, the lamentation became inevitable, and disaster imminent, because the ‘critical mass’ was blind.  When Prophet Jeremiah warned his nation, king after king, about the coming disasters as consequence of persistent national transgressions, himself was part of the land that eventually lived through the woes of which he had warned, as well as such holy younger folks like Daniel and Ezekiel, who later became mighty prophets in exile in their season (Jeremiah 19:10-13).  When it is said that a land repents, it does not always mean as in Nineveh where repentance became a national decree and even infants and animals fasted; it could mean a spiritual critical mass of hearts and voices, while there still might be the drunkard somewhere battling his convictions, or the adulteress in some corner awaiting her own encounter.  

Depending on what is at stake and other variables known only to the Divine, sometimes the prophetic critical mass for a land could be as low as ten righteous persons, as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:32); or more, as seems to have been the case of Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44; or much less, as when Daniel and Nehemiah raised their singular voices for their land whose time of divine visitation had come, as verily appears to be the case with the country Nigeria (Ezekiel 22:31; Nehemiah 1:5-11; Daniel 9:1-23).  

From The Preacher’s diary,
January 26, 2023.
(to be continued) 

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