1 Sam 23:10-13 if statement in conversation between God and David

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Lane McKay | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Jan 28 2020 11:17 AM

Hello,

Reading in Understanding Theology in 15 minutes a Day, the author in Chapter 7 gives an illustration on omniscience

of 1 Samuel 23:10-13 that reads:

"An interesting biblical illustration is in 1 Samuel 23:10–13, where God tells David what would happen if King Saul came to a certain city looking for David. As it turns out, Saul never came and those things never happened. God knows what would have happened if …"

Daryl Aaron, Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2012), 46.

Are there other places in the Bible where an if... situation occurs and how would I find them?

Lane

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 28 2020 4:07 PM

Lane McKay:
"An interesting biblical illustration is in 1 Samuel 23:10–13, where God tells David what would happen if King Saul came to a certain city looking for David. As it turns out, Saul never came and those things never happened. God knows what would have happened if …"

God knew what would have happened if David remained, so it is an illustration of God's omniscience affecting a person's fate.

Lane McKay:
Are there other places in the Bible where an if... situation occurs and how would I find them?

If you were to look up omniscience in Factbook, it would provide many Dictionary articles with examples. The "if..." part is relatively easy as it relates to the reaction of the recipient. For example, what if Paul did not go to Jerusalem in Acts 21:10-14 - also see Acts 20:22-24? What if Paul ignored the Lord in Acts 18:9-10 - also see verses 12-17? What if Gideon disobeyed in the account that starts in Judges 6:10?.

Dave
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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 2:26 AM

Lane McKay:
God tells David what would happen if King Saul came to a certain city looking for David. As it turns out, Saul never came and those things never happened.

To be honest, if David had asked any of his entourage the same question, he very likely would have gotten the same answer. You didn't have to know the future to correctly answer that question--you only needed to know Saul and the mindset of a town that was under threat of destruction due to an outsider's presence. Consider the time Joab laid siege to the city and the old woman told him she would throw the head of Sheba over the wall to him if he would stop the siege. Neither omniscience nor foreknowledge is a necessity to provide the answers David received.

The point I'm trying to make is that there is no reason to postulate or imagine that YHWH is utilizing some fantastical awareness of alternate realities to arrive at His response. A child (well, a youth) could have given David the exact same answer for pretty much the exact same reason. In saying what I'm saying, I'm not saying that YHWH doesn't have "perfect knowledge"...just that there is no reason to "cook up" fanciful theories about what happened in the case you've focused on from 1 Sam. 23.

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Lane McKay | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 5:17 AM

Dave,

Thank you for this explanation. That does make sense.

And, going to Factbook is a great idea. 

Lane

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Lane McKay | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 5:20 AM

David,

Good explanation. 

Thank you,

Lane

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 30 2020 3:02 PM

David Paul:
You didn't have to know the future to correctly answer that question--you only needed to know Saul and the mindset of a town that was under threat of destruction due to an outsider's presence.
David Paul:
The point I'm trying to make is that there is no reason to postulate or imagine that YHWH is utilizing some fantastical awareness of alternate realities to arrive at His response. A child (well, a youth) could have given David the exact same answer for pretty much the exact same reason.

One has to consider that David did not ask a child if he should save the town from marauding Philistines, and that he felt equally comfortable in asking God if he would be safe from Saul's army. There probably was scope for other avenues of inquiry, but he trusted God's omniscience in this matter!

Dave
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Lane McKay | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 30 2020 3:39 PM

True. If only we were at that comfortable with God's omniscience. We seem to never think about what God thinks on matters in life, except after the fact, sometimes.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 30 2020 4:52 PM

Dave Hooton:
There probably was scope for other avenues of inquiry, but he trusted God's omniscience in this matter!

Lane McKay:
If only we were at that comfortable with God's omniscience.

Audible answers don't hurt either.

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