Calling an Audible

Phil Cullum – December 1, 2021

Recently. I have noticed the phrase “call an audible” coming up more and more.

“Call an audible” is a term from American Football. It refers to the Quarterback changing the play at the last minute based on how he sees the defense lining up. He will call out the play change vocally to his team-mates while they are already lined up for the play. The term has come to be used broadly in many situations. I have heard a news anchor use it to describe changing the story to be aired based on breaking news. I have heard it used in dramas on TV to describe a last-minute decision. And it is increasingly common in daily life.

Why do we call audibles? Because our knowledge is imperfect. We don’t have complete information and even the information we do have may include some inaccuracies. Last-minute changes to plans are a fact of life in our modern world. We are always subject to learning something at the last minute that may make our previous plans null and void and cause us to take a different action.

This raises the question: Does God call audibles? Well, consider the cause of audibles: incomplete or inaccurate knowledge, later superseded by better knowledge. Does God have inaccurate or incomplete knowledge? Does he discover things that surprise him and lead him to realize that his plan was not a good one and it needs to be changed?

Isaiah has something to share with us that helps us grasp the answer:

8 “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, 9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’Isaiah 46:8-10 (ESV)

From the beginning, God can tell us what the end will be. In football terms, before the game starts, God knows the outcome and every step in his game plan that will lead to that end result.

Photo by @norberthentges on Unsplash Peter tells us: 1 Peter 1:1-2 (ESV) 1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. What’s that, Peter? God had foreknowledge of the churches and who their members would be? That’s right; there are no surprises for God.

There’s one plan of God that it is especially important for us to recognize was not an audible, not a change of plans. The death of Jesus for our sins was not an afterthought; it wasn’t “plan B.”

It’s not that God originally planned that by giving the Law to Israel, their example would be enough to turn people to Him for salvation, but Israel was faithless, turning away from God over and over and never fulfilling their mission. Then God despaired, wrung His hands, saying, “What can I do? My plan has failed! Oh, I know, I’ll send Jesus to the earth to die for their sins.” No, it wasn’t that way at all. God, who knows the end from the beginning, knew in advance the history of Israel’s ups and downs, their cycles of rebellion and repentance. He fully expected that result. He had planned for that very sequence of events. In eternity past, God had planned His salvation with that in mind.

Consider what John says,

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”Revelation 13:8 (KJV)

John says the Lamb (that is, Jesus) was “slain from the foundation of the world.”

When God planned the foundation of the world, Jesus “was as good as slain”; God planned it that way. The plan took thousands of years to come to fruition, but it started unfolding when the earth was created and populated with humans who would rebel against God. The all-knowing (the dictionary word is “omniscient”) God knows everything, from the death of a sparrow (Matt 10:29) to the number of hairs on our head (Matt 10:30) to the plans he has for you (Jer 10:29) to the time Jesus will return to redeem his people and end the corrupt world order (Mark 13:32).

We can rejoice and take comfort in knowing that nothing can happen to us without God’s awareness and even foreknowledge. He will always be there, whatever may come, ready to strengthen us.

Phil Cullum – DEC2021