So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. (NLT)
We sometimes hear that God has unlimited power. We need to question that. Does God have the power to abolish himself? Can he make two plus two equal five? Can he refuse to forgive a penitent human being? Perhaps it is more truthful to say God has great power but that he will not exercise that power in a way that contradicts his character. Once we start contemplating the possibility that God can cease to be God we are on fragile ground.
God chooses to limit his great power so as to allow us to be free human beings. As our text reminds us, this may involve him letting us taste the bitter fruits of our own folly. He wants us to turn to him and away from such folly, but He won’t override our freedom. He wants us to be good but will not force us to be good.
Of course God could step in and clean up the human race in an instant. But he chooses not to as he wants us to be truly human and so retain the capacity to do evil as well as good. The alternative is some sort of enforced goodness lived out by puppets at the end of a God held string. It is not an alternative open to us.
In an odd sort of way, God shows his great power by refraining from exercising it at times. Love and grace and respect for his human creation mean that the exercise of mere brute power is not top of his agenda. There are some things, after all, that our God cannot and will not do.