Summary: A sermon on God's foreknowledge (Adapted from Dr. Jack Cottrell's book, God Most High, Pages 95 to 101)
Just recently observed Groundhog Day. In the movie, Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant and egocentric Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during a hated assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again. Hollywood has a lot of movies that cause us to think about time. Some are about time travel, traveling back in time, traveling to the future. Some cause us to think about time in a different way like Groundhog Day. If you like to think about time, then this message is for you.
Look at Isaiah 42:8-9:
Vs. 8- I am the LORD; that is my name! Literally I am Yahweh. This is the name that the Lord gave in Exodus 3:14: “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”” This word Yahweh can be connected with another Hebrew word meaning, “to be, to exist, to become.” This name of God is meant to emphasize His eternity or self existence. Who was, and is, and is to come.
Vs. 8- I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. In the previous verses, God had addressed the Messiah. Here he turns to the people, and assures them that He is the only true God. This statement is meant to counteract the tendency to make God into man’s image. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is for ever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:25, NIV.
Vs. 9- See, the former things have taken place. Many of the promises given to Abraham came to pass. During the time of Isaiah, the defeat, captivity, and exile of the 10 northern tribes came to pass. This happened during the time of King Hezekiah in Judah. Prophesied about in Hosea and Amos and other places.
Vs. 9- new things I declare. The defeat, captivity and exile of Judah by Babylon, and their restoration by Cyrus the Persian. From Isaiah 42 we see the mission of Christ. Vs. 1-4 fulfilled in Matthew 12:15-21. Vs. 6 a light for the Gentiles fulfilled in Matthew 4:16 and Luke 2:32. Vs. 7, similar to Isaiah 61, mentioned by Jesus as being fulfilled in Luke 4.
Vs. 9- before they spring into being I announce them to you.
a beautiful image. The metaphor is taken from plants and flowers, referring to the springing up of plants, or to their sending out shoots, buds, or flowers. The phrase literally means, 'before they begin to germinate.’ God knows which seeds will germinate and produce. The sense is, that God predicted the future events before there was anything by which it might be known that such occurrences would take place. God told of this when there were no possible indications of such things. God knows about this by omniscience, because He is all knowing.
One can hardly conceive of a clearer description or definition of foreknowledge. The true God has foreknowledge.
Thesis: Let’s talk about foreknowledge and God tonight.
What is foreknowledge?
to know beforehand. God has infallible knowledge of our future choices before we actually make them.
Predictive prophecy and fulfilled prophecy depend largely upon God’s foreknowledge. The mark of a true prophet is if the thing He predicts comes true. “But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.” You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:20-22.
It should be pointed out that in the many passages where God speaks of His knowledge of the future, He is not just declaring what He Himself plans to do in the future, but He is also foretelling what human beings will be doing of their own free will. It’s like when I try to walk in Wal Mart. Try to predict where these people are going so I don’t run into them. Sometimes I am wrong. God knows the outcome of human free will decisions.
God has foreknowledge when it comes to the choices of individuals concerning salvation. “who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” 1 Peter 1:2, NIV. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29, NIV.