Summary: A sermon describing open theism and gives reasons why it cannot be (much taken from Matthew Henry's commentary on this passage)
The following list of statements are not meant to be offensive to the Open Theist. They are meant to be both humorous and illustrative. Open Theism teaches that God does not know future events, that He can be surprised by them, that He can make mistakes, and that He learns what will happen as people make choices. Therefore, what kinds of things might we hear the God of Open Theism say? 1. Ooops 2. Uh, oh. 3. Oh, no. 4. Shucks! 5. Let me get back to you on that. 6. Wow, that was a surprise. 7. I hope it works out. 8. Oh no, now what are they going to do this time? 9. Please, oh please, please, please believe in me. 10. I'll not do that again. 11. That didn't turn out to well, did it? 12. I'll try and get it right next time. 13. I'd answer your prayer but I don't know what is going to happen. 14. Hey, I just learned something. 15. Well, I can always go to plan B or plan C or plan D, etc.
This is lighthearted, and I mean no mockery nor insult; but this is a way of illustrating the point that the view of God in open theism means God does not know all of the future and can even make mistakes -- otherwise, according to openness, God wouldn't have any regrets.
If we assumed that the god of open theism was true, would it bring us comfort to know that God learns, that God doesn't know future completely, and that He has to wait to find out what people will do? How would that affect our prayers to Him? Would it give us confidence in God? After all, what if something happens that surprises God and He is unable to answer our prayer? If God is hoping for the best, reacting to people, and working around them to make things happen, then can we really count on God to be the in-charge Lord of the universe? I think not.
Isaiah prophesied in Judah from 740 to 681 BC. Isaiah gives a lot of insight into the nature of God often calling Him the Holy One of Israel.
Chapters 40-48 Isaiah prophesies about the coming destruction by the Babylonians and after this the return of the exiles. 150 to 200 years until the return of the exiles from captivity. In the beginning of chapter 41 we see in vs. 2 talking about one who will come from the east and the north (vs. 25). This is talking about King Cyrus, King of the Medes and Persians. The conqueror who destroyed the Babylonian empire. He is called by his name in Isaiah 44:28 and Isaiah 45:1. Must remember that this is at least 150 years before he came to great power.
Another theme is comparing the gods of the nations to the God of Israel. Since this great nation and King is coming what will the nations do. They will try to encourage each other. They will turn to their gods. Comparing the gods of the nations to the God of Israel.
Beginning in vs. 21 God is putting the gods of the nations on trial before Him. Bring your best arguments and your strongest reasons to prove that these idols are gods.
Vs. 22- A god must have understanding and power in perfection; and do these idols appear to have these? No. Several reasons given:
They do not help us to understand history (Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome) God is working his plan to bring about the end of the age. “to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” Ephesians 1:10.
tell us what is going to happen, declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so that we may know you are gods (Vs. 22-23). “Declare the things that are going to come afterward” Isaiah 41:23, NAS95. Let them foretell the entire series of events, showing, in their order, the things which will first occur, as well as those which shall finally happen; the false prophets tried to predict isolated events, not a long series of events mutually and orderly connected, and stretching far into the future. They did not even try to do this.
Vs. 23- Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear. Let us see them either inflict great plagues such as God brought on Egypt or give such blessings as God bestowed on Israel.