INTEGRATING GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY, 11.01.19
Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
Just as God chose Abraham – “I am El Shaddai. Continually walk before Me and you will be blameless. My heart’s desire is to make My covenant between Me and you, and then I will multiply you exceedingly much”(Gen.17:1,2) – He continues to choose certain individuals for specific assignments today. Whether it is for a TV Ministry, or a backbench intercessory assignment, one is not more important than another. In God’s eyes, it is the obedience to His call that counts. It is obedience that wins His Heart.
While Joseph made several errors along the way, he trusted in the God of Abraham, and was obedient and faithful, putting his time in prison to good use. Instead of self-pity, and complaining, Joseph interpreted dreams for Pharaoh, and did whatever he was called to do, all by God’s sovereign Hand, and plan. Having suffered through many injustices, he was able, at the end of it all, to explain to his brothers: “I’m Joseph, your brother—the one you sold to Egypt,” he said. “So now, don’t be grieved and don’t be angry in your own eyes that you sold me here—since it was for preserving life that God sent me here before you. For there has been two years of famine in the land, and there will be five more years yet with no plowing or harvesting. But God sent me ahead of you to ensure a remnant in the land and to keep you alive for a great escape. So now, it wasn’t you, you didn’t send me here, but God! And He made me as a father to Pharaoh, lord over his whole house and ruler over the entire land of Egypt” (Gen.45:4-8). Think of it; after all he had suffered because of what his brothers did to him, he is comforting them, telling them not to blame themselves!
This set of passages indicates that Joseph understood how God had used his situation. It is from this set of passages that many sermons have been given on Joseph’s walk of faith and trust which enabled him to endure the years of injustices without bitterness, hatefulness, and rage. Instead of complaining and feeling sorry for himself, he had obviously surrendered his own thoughts, emotions, and desires to the Lord, and walked in faith and obedience. Perhaps he had asked why; perhaps God had revealed to him; whatever the untold details, he had an understanding of His Lord’s sovereignty, and accepted the road he’d been called to walk. What a marvellous example for us!
“Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph in the land of Egypt” (Gen.46:20). God, in His sovereignty, through Jacob, their grandfather, chose to give the primary blessing to Joseph’s younger son, reversing the traditional order, “Israel stretched out his right hand and placed it upon Ephraim’s head (though he was the younger), and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands (though Manasseh was the firstborn),” (Gen.48:14), without any explanation . . . . . against Joseph’s protests. God had His own plans, His own reasons . . …
By God’s sovereign will, Esther was chosen, and assigned to stand in the gap for her people, when Haman had coerced the King into making a decree to exterminate all the Jewish people in the land. When her uncle Mordecai first instructed her to go into the King to discuss the decree, she cringed. But when Mordecai pointed out to her, “Do not think in your soul that you will escape in the king’s household more than all the Jews . . . . but you and your father’s house will perish,” (Es.4:13), she quickly revised her decision. Mordecai said: “Who knows whether you have attained royal status for such a time as this?” (Es.4:14), after which she “sent this to reply to Mordecai, “Go! Gather together all the Jews who are in Shushan and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast in the same way. Afterwards, I will go in to the king, even though it is not according to the law. So if I perish, I perish!” (Es.4:15,16). By God’s sovereign plan the Jews were spared from annihilation through Esther’s cooperation. Yahweh, the Great-I-Am, worked through a young Jewish woman, to effect a plan of deliverance for her people.
By God’s sovereign will, a young shepherd was recruited to become King. God sent Samuel the Prophet to bring Jesse and his sons in from the field to him, from which he was to anoint a replacement for Saul. “You will anoint for Me whom I tell you,” (1 Sam.16:3), the Lord instructed. Samuel expected one of the seven sons whom Jesse had sent to be chosen; but Adonai rejected each one, saying: “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have already refused him. For He does not see a man as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but Adonai looks into the heart” (1 Sam.16:7). In disbelief that Yahweh had chosen none of these recruits, Samuel asked Jesse, the father of the young men, if there were any other sons, to which Jesse replied, “There’s still the youngest,” . . . right now, he’s tending the sheep” (1 Sam.16:11), assuming it was a closed issue. “Send and bring him,” Samuel said to Jesse . . . he sent word and had him come. Now he was ruddy-cheeked, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. Then Adonai said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. From that day on Ruach Adonai came mightily upon David” (1 Sam.16:11-13). God so often does the opposite of what we expect!
Integrate all that is known about David, and how it was that through Miriam (Mary), Yeshua was born of the lineage of David, Israel’s greatest King, and realize how God’s sovereign plan, from beginning to end, included all the events that took place in the process leading up to the coming of Messiah to the earth. Just as, by His sovereign will, Miriam/Mary was chosen to be the mother of Messiah, so also, nothing is by coincidence, happenstance, error, or by what we might think we have done to make something happen. God already had it planned.
God does have a plan for each of us. Are there situations, times, and events in which there may be an optional path? Can we thwart His perfect plan? Yes, of course; we can slow things down; we can get in the way by making wrong choices, being selfish, uncooperative, rebellious, and choosing to do things our way. Just like the Israelites who kept having to go back around the mountain (don’t forget, over 20,000 of them were struck dead by God Himself, and never reached their destiny), we will undergo, and endure a multiple of testing experiences until we either get it right, or actually fail to arrive at our destiny point. Will we eventually get where we are going? It depends on just what God’s plan included, and whether it was pre-ordained or optional.
There are absolutes which God will make happen no matter what we do; but there are/can be those grey areas where He leaves it up to us. He is sovereign. These are some of the mysteries of God’s ways. It is doubtful that it was God’s will, for instance, that Sarah failed to trust in Yahweh and wait for God’s promised son, and thus she had a surrogate son, Ishmael, by her maid Hagar. It is doubtful that it was within God’s perfect will that David’s son Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar (2 Sam. chap.13); that David himself committed adultery, had his best General murdered; that his son Absalom tried to overthrow his Kingship. Not likely these were ordained by God, but rather consequences of rebellious, carnal choices, behaviours, and by God’s allowance of free will they caused much distress and pain. God allows those things to occur, also, which He can still work around, and cause His ultimate purpose (as in this case, the birth of Messiah) to be fulfilled. There are interim decisions that are allowed to cause all sorts of things that have nothing to do with His sovereign will. Free will is involved in events and occurrences which are outside God’s will all the time. God allows for free will in situations where it will not prevent the final and ultimate pre-ordained outcome.
Of course He has an overall, ultimate plan for our best. So our wisest line of action would be that of alignment with His ways, commandments, statutes, and whatever He shows us, and wherever the Holy Spirit leads us. Walking in intimacy with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – living in a place of automatic (default position) surrender – that is the key to not missing God’s Best.
© 2017, revised 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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