Repentance Became Impossible

1 Samuel: Looking at the Heart (Focus on the Bible) I very much appreciate Dale Davis’ comments on 1 Samuel 2:25b which has to do with God’s sovereignty in judgment on Hophni and Phinehas.  Too often people speculate when it comes to this topic, leading down the road of hyper-Calvinism.  Davis, however, stays balanced:

“…[The text says] Eli’s sons did not listen to him because (‘for’) Yahweh had decided to put them to death.  Hophni’s and Phinehas’ resistance was not the rationale for Yahweh’s judgment but the result of his judgment.  A perfectly just judgment.  We cannot divorce verse 25 from the previous account of Hophni and Phinehas’ impudence and immorality.  In that light verse 25b says that for their persisting rebellion Yahweh decided to put them to death and that, therefore, they had not listened to Eli’s plea.  So the text teaches that someone can remain so firm in his rebellion that God will confirm him in it, so much that he will remain utterly deaf to and unmoved by any warning of judgment or pleas of repentance.”

“…Be careful of your response to such teaching.  Some of you may become Yahweh’s prosecutors, alleging he is deficient in mercy.  Others may be intellectually curious about the mechanics of hardening – at what point in sin’s progress does it become impossible to repent?  Both the critic and the curious are wrong.  Our place is not to question or to comprehend but to tremble before a God who can justly make sinners deaf to the very call to repentance” (p. 34-5).

Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Samuel (Ross-Shire, Christian Focus Publications, 1988).

shane lems