God’s Accommodation for Man

There are numerous examples in scripture of God accommodating the needs, conditions and even the wishes of His people. In some cases, He even gave them things that were clearly not good for them. Why did He do that?

  • God honors free will and He allows us to make our own decisions. Sometimes, only through the painful lessons learned, can we (stubborn as we are) come to realize that God’s ways are the best.
  • God recognizes that we, like children, take time to learn and we have to grow in our understanding of His ways and our commitment to Him.
  • God takes into account our circumstances and our level of understanding.

This principle of accommodation on God’s part is especially well illustrated in the history of the children of Israel in their escape from Egypt and beyond. Many times God gave them things that, while not ideal, met them where they were in their development as a people. Understanding this principle helps to better explain many of God’s actions such as His involvement in the wars of Israel. See more discussion on this principle.

God accommodated the needs of or granted the wishes of His people even though it was not God’s preferred action in the following instances (and likely others):

* Items covered below. Links go to examples discussed in separate posts. Others will be added in future blog posts.

Moses Appointed as Intermediary

As Israel gathered at Mount Sinai it was God’s purpose to speak to the people:

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.” (Exo 19:9)

“And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.” (Exo 19:17)

God spoke the Ten Commandments and we then read of the people’s reaction:

“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.  And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.” (Exo 20:18-22)

The people withdrew from the mount and asked for Moses to speak with them instead of God. God had spoken with them (Exo 20:22, Deut 4:10,12,15,33,36) giving the Ten Commandments but He granted their request (made an accommodation that was not the original plan) and the remainder of the instructions were given to Moses for him to relay to the people.

See a video of a group study on the principle of accommodation.

Return to the Character of God and the Gospel Glossary.

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