God’s Character of Surprise

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Today I am blogging from the woods. I have been hunting for the past few days and living among the trees. No success yet on the elk harvest, but the weather is nice and the stillness with God is refreshing to my soul. I hope you had a great weekend and were able to connect to God and others. Thanks to the cell phone, I was even able to tune into our home service via the internet.

The greatest testimony of God’s power is the testimony of His love for us all. He remembers us according to His mercy, not according to our transgressions. Even in our error, when we turn to Him, He takes action on our part according to His love. Does God know all things? He knows all things according to His love and He also gives us the ability to be creative as sons and daughters of God to know what God would know if He were to choose to know it. God listens to the voice of man when man chooses what He would choose but didn’t. This was the case in the day when Joshua had been fighting all day in battle but ran out of time to defeat his enemy. Joshua was likely tired and bearing the marks of battle in his body by the end of the day. He may have had a finger missing. He may have had a few gashes in his flesh and wounds in his body from the combat of battle. He had been in the battle with a sword. A heavy sword! He had been likely fighting for 12 to 16 hours and he cried out to God for more time! We can do this! We can overcome! Give me another day to risk my life. Give me another opportunity to lose another finger. Give me the opportunity to suffer longer. We can do this! Give me another day. That day God heeded the voice of a man. He turned the sun back and gave Joshua another day.

Joshua 10:14 And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the LORD heeded the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.

I believe that God knew the heart of Joshua, but I also believe He chose not to know every decision he would make. He set His ability to know aside for the opportunity of sharing the nature of character and surprise. Joshua came up with the request for more time and God listened to Joshua’s request.

Genesis 4:1-5 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

The offerings of Cain were not the honor due to God. Cain’s offerings lacked the spirit of honor that was found in the offerings of Abel. Cain didn’t have an offering problem; he had an honor problem. His obvious discouragement when God did not respect His offering reveals that he was giving to get something from Him. He was slow to give because he loved his offering more than he did God. It is the spirit of an offering that makes it what it is. Abel gave offerings of the first; when he had his first lamb in his flock, he gave it to God. His offering was also the best; when he had many sheep, he picked the best one and gave it to God. God does not need the first or the best. Abel’s offering to God was not something given to God for God’s sake. It was something given to God for man’s sake. Abel, a human being, needed to recognize whom God was. He recognized that God was the first and God was the best. There was no commandment. There was only a revelation of honor. He recognized that God was the first and God was the best. It was therefore easy to give God the first and the best because he understood in His heart who God was. Because He saw who God really was, it was easy for Him to give offerings that were expressions of who God was. God honored Abel because Abel’s offerings were ones of honor to God. God was in awe of what Able did. He respected His offering. The Hebrew word for “respect” in this Scripture is h8159. שָׁעָה šâ‘â; a primitive root; to gaze at or about (properly, for help); by implication, to inspect, consider, compassionate, be nonplussed (as looking around in amazement) or bewildered. God was speechless with Abel’s offering! He was surprised! He recognized who Abel was. He saw Abel as a child of God. The heart of the Father was for the son, because the heart of the son was clearly for the Father. There was no control. There was simply a recognizing of who God was by Abel. The son realized: ‘The Father makes me free!” “The Father sets me at liberty!” “He is first and He is the best!” The actions of Abel’s life were simply confessions of who God was to him. The things that Abel did were confessions of who God was in his life. It was easy for God to look at Abel and make confessions of whom he was. God’s respect was that of a father for a son who had come to a revelation of honor in his heart towards his father.

Abel surprised God with his offering. The tabernacle of David was David’s idea because Israel had lost the presence of God in the tent of Moses. God liked it and made David’s tent the tent of His presence. I believe that the element of surprise is an attribute of God. God is a Father and He delights when His children think as He would think without Him thinking it. The Scripture says that Jesus did what He saw His Father doing. This is more than merely doing what God says to do. It is living in the character, nature, way, power, and authority of being a son.

God knows all things according to His love. When it comes to love, there are things He chooses not to know for the sake of love. God wants us to desire to be people of love more than being people of knowledge.


Ted J. Hanson


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About ted4you

Ted J. Hanson is the author of several Christian books intended to equip and raise up strong believers in Christ. He leads a training school known as Christ Life Training (www.christlifetraining.com) and ministers globally through House of Bread Ministry (www.houseofbreadministry.org). Ted travels to various places throughout the U.S. as well as other countries. He is a dynamic preacher/teacher who has a heart to share, uncompromisingly, the Word of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He holds a bachelor of theology and masters of biblical studies through Christian International Ministries Network and is ordained through Abundant Life Ministries and House of Bread Ministry. He has served to plant and establish many ministries.
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