It is God Himself who expresses frustration in this cases and
denies that the outcome was what He had wanted. What can it mean for
God to say, "Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had
walked in my ways!" unless this was His heart's desire? Certainly it
is better, as William of Ockham pointed out, to posit no unnecessary
entities, and instead of replicating 'wills' and 'decrees' of God,
it is preferable to try to understand what He Himself says about the
content of His will.
God Himself testifies of His vineyard, that He did everything He
could: "What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes?"
(Isaiah 5:4). This is God's testimony, not man's.
According to God, He spreads out His hands, but the people are
"I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.
I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
a people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;
which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day."
Paul cites this passage, “But to Israel he says: 'All day long I have
stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people.'” (Romans
10:21). How can it be understood by a Calvinist? 'I stretched out my hands, but only far
enough to tantalize, not to reach'?
Psalm 78 goes so far as to accuse the disobedient children of
'limiting' the Holy One:
"How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,
and grieved Him in the desert! Yes, again and again they tempted God,
and limited the Holy One of Israel." (Psalm 78:40-41).
How can a finite human being 'limit,' impede, or set boundaries to an
almighty God? Obviously not by main force, a divine/human power struggle
ends only one way. But if the Holy One holds out for willing, consensual
obedience, not enforced compliance, then they can do what the Psalm says
According to God's word, it was the Pharisees who rejected Him, not He they:
"But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him."
(Luke 7:30). If His will for them was reprobation, then what is the force of
their having "rejected the will of God"?