Freedom is something that you will desire when you don’t have it, and something you can’t give up once you taste it. There are a lot of reasons for us to love and fear God, one of them is God gives people the freedom to pick and choose.
There is nothing new under the sun. We can always see someone trying to push his own preference to other people in the name of “for your goodness “. These things happen all the time, no matter in which country or culture. The one being pushy could be a friend, a stranger, a type of authority; or even worse, an ignorant person or an evil man.
“I know what is good for you, so let me decide for you.” — To make this statement true, first of all, it requires the speaker to be righteous and have no self-interest or evil thoughts; secondly, it requires the speaker to know everything about another person, like family background, preference, skills, health, weakness; third, the speaker must know future.
Who can be so righteous and know everything？ Only God. Even though only God is qualified to say “I know what is good for you”, he doesn’t control people’s choices. He allows people to choose good or bad. If people choose good, they gain from it. If they choose bad, they take the consequence.
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”— Deuteronomy 30:19
God appealed to Israel that they should choose good things like life and blessings; which means Israel can also choose self-destructive things like death and curses. God didn’t control their choices.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”—Joshua 24:15
Joshua told his brothers that they should serve the only true God instead of the idols of gentiles. Even though he is God’s chosen leader for Israel, Joshua didn’t use his leadership to force his will on his brothers. Joshua himself chose to fear God.
A bad choice can lead to bad consequences. As Paul said:
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”—Galatians 6:7
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. “— 1 Corinthians 10:23
In some situations, we can know people are making self-destructive choices. If we take away their freedom of choice and force the good end to happen. Guess what? The good end doesn’t justify the bad means. That’s why God patiently appeals to men in the Bible to choose the good; instead of making every choice for men.
It is a heart issue when people can’t make a good choice. Making choices for them doesn’t allow people to learn good from bad. It takes more effort to appeal to someone’s heart than regulate their behavior, but it is a better situation if people have the freedom to choose and they are willing to choose the good. This results in a good end and mean.