I present to you my studies on free will and what I have gathered so you can further study for yourself.
Free will is the word-Nedabah this word occurs 26 times in the bible in the old testament. Later in the study, I will share the new testament equivalents.
Nedabah is defined as an act of willingness, voluntary, without force or being told, coerced. A choice made out of one’s own unrestricted choice, without the constraint of expectation of reward. It’s deeply tied to the word VOLITION. It describes a heart that has been free, without force, to make a choice and PRESENT that choice through its actions. Free will is motivated by something other than obligation or obedience. It’s motivated by what the heart wants, either good or bad. It’s the FRUIT of what they have come to choose for themselves.
Most often, nedabah is used to describe a freewill offering. A freewill offering was different from all the other offerings. And here is why. Offerings had rules to follow and could not be broken. Everyone had to follow the same rules, so all sacrifices that were presented to the Lord were the same.
You are to present these offerings to the LORD at your appointed times, in addition to your vow and freewill offerings, whether burnt offerings, grain offerings, drink offerings, or peace offerings.” Numbers 29:39
But the freewill offering did not. The freewill offering could set you apart because it was done out of your choice and what was in your heart. It was done voluntarily and out of the desire and eagerness of the heart, not out of following the same exact rules that everyone else had to follow or being under obedience or obligation. The freewill offering was a way for people to present to God to show what was REALLY in their hearts and how they really felt about Him.
A few times in the bible nedabah was used to describe this very thing outside of presenting a freewill offering to the Lord, Again, a chance for the heart to reveal what it was truly feeling, free from duty, obligation, or being forced by the constraint of rules or under the obligation of a vow! Setting it apart from the rest.
The Lord Himself is the first example I will use to show you this choice free from being forced.
I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely (nedabah): for Mine anger is turned away from him. Hosea 14:4
Your people shall be willing (nedabah) on Your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendor, from the womb of the dawn, to You belongs the dew of Your youth. Psalm 110:3
Now this is where it gets GOOD!
Nedabah is birthed out of the word NADAB (5068) it means to impel, incite-to rouse, or goad into action. The heart is MOVED and persuaded!
When you look at this word, it’s saying that something is rousing, stirring, impelling, impacting the heart to make a choice to voluntarily, through its own volition and ability to choose to do just that.
MY observation and thoughts. When you think about when you met your spouse, the fact that they chose you voluntarily because YOU incited that, you stirred them, and their heart chose you willingly without being forced, it helps you understand why it impacted you the way it did. They got to know you and through that knowing you, was stirred, impelled to want you. If they never got to know you, they would never have been able to come to that decision to choose you. IF your spouse was under obligation, forced to marry you when they didn’t want to, it would be a totally different situation, right?
We WANT that heart to be free to choose us, correct? We want that person to SEE us, get to know us, and have that choice to say, “YOU are the one that I pick.”
God is no different. It’s not meaningful if someone has no choice but is under an obligation to love us, volunteer, or be willing. That is why God gave the people a chance to show, out of their hearts, what they wanted to offer to Him with the freewill offering.
People that took the time, of their own accord, and desire to really want to know God, would be the ones that used the freewill offering to show God how much He meant to them by what they presented to Him during this time. What an opportunity to give God a gift out of their love and gratitude and not out of a vow or obligation. To me, that sounds like marriage!!
Now, let’s take a look at how this word NADAB
Again, this word means that the heart has been impelled, persuaded, moved by something, and finds it attractive enough to WANT to choose that thing willingly. Volunteer, commit, pledge, vow.
“Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering. Exodus 25.2
“When the princes take the lead in Israel, when the people volunteer, bless the LORD. Judges 5:2
And everyone whose heart stirred him and whose spirit prompted him came and brought an offering to the LORD Exodus 35:21
1 Chronicles 29:17-18
I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly Your people who are here have given to You. “O LORD, the God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make Your people always want to obey You. See to it that their love for You never changes.
What is the Greek, New Testament equivalent words for Nadab?
It’s 1635 hekon: of owns own free, voluntary will, willingness, unforced.
1595 hekoúsion: of free will, voluntary
2588 kardía – heart; “the affective center of our being” and the capacity of moral preference (volitional desire, choice;
But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that your goodness will not be out of compulsion, but by your own free will (Hekousion). Philmon 1:14
Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give(Kardia), not out of regret or compulsion. For God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
Here is my conclusion: If you take anything from this lesson, please take this.
Instead of putting so much power and emphasis in a person having the ability to freely choose for themselves, put the focus on WHAT is influencing them. WHAT, as in WHO! God is there to help us make the right decision. IF we are given a choice to choose Him and do right, that can be a very scary thing that instills fear in us UNLESS we get our minds on the REAL thing. That God will USE His ability to persuade them, by knowing what their hearts desire, He can convince them! So put your focus on God’s ability to influence, change, draw, and if need be, swallow them up and put them into a belly!
God is more than capable of winning people over simply because of WHO He is. He is good. He is love! While yes, He is also very mysterious and often misunderstood and misrepresented by His children, He has ways of seeing to it that His ways are presented as something that attracts.
For instance, while we are free to make a choice, we are NOT free from the consequences. If we make a wrong choice, we are going to reap a harvest of bad consequences. Many confuse that free will, allows a person to remain free from consequences, and that can’t be farthest from the truth.
Well, if you look at what God says about Jezebel and those who are not willing to turn from what she offers. God says that because of the consequences of their UNWILLINGNESS are SO severe, He gives them TIME TO REPENT.
“Even though I have given her time to repent of her immorality, she is unwilling. Behold, I will cast her onto a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer great tribulation unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with death, and all the churches will know that I am the One searching affections and hearts; and I will give to each of you according to your works.” Rev 2:21-23
God is not worried about man’s ability to freely choose Him because God knows what He is cable of doing. The question is, are YOU confident in His ability, OR are you more confident in your spouse’s ability to be stubborn and unyielding? I assure you, One of them has no equal and you need to make sure you are picking the right One to be confident in. If you are worried about free will being an issue, it’s because you are picking the wrong thing to be confident in.
Standing with you,
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