This excerpt states plainly the mystery and apparent contradiction that one encounters when considering the condescending God.
So, God does "authentically respond" to us, he is "affected by us," he does test in order to discover something, and he does change his mind. But none of this requires, nor does it in any way entail, as we have seen, that God does not control all things by the counsel of his own will, or that he did not decree "whatsoever comes to pass." (274)
How does that sit with you? Can you hold those two biblical truths at the same time? Oliphint continues,
The problem, again, centers on the relationship of necessity to contingency. For free-will theists, only that which is in no way necessarily caused or controlled can be free. But this construal fails to do justice to the dual mode of God's character. As one who is altogether necessary, he is, nevertheless, free. As we have seen, that freedom relates to that which God determines ad extra. It is not a freedom which overrides or undermines his necessity. Thus, for example, God necessarily wills himself; to will himself freely would be to import contingency into his essential character. (274)
This is mysterious granted, but it is a heart-enriching, Biblically-supported, affection-enlarging mystery. Spend some time today contemplating our infinitely distant and strikingly close God.