Monday, February 19, 2007
Sunday School yesterday began a discussion about the sovereignty of God. We are studying Ecclesiates, and this is the theme of chapter 6. This is also a subject I have been heavily seeking God about understanding. I am currently reading "When God Weeps" by Joni Erickson Tada and Steven Estes. The most recent chapters that I am reading have really helped me in beginning to understand God and His sovereignty. God's sovereignty, as defined in our SS class, is God being all _________ (fill in the blank knowing, powerful, etc) and God being in "absolute control of the universe at all times." This started the beginning of a discussion on what this means for us. How does this change how we see God and how we respond to Him. Ultimately, does this mean that we can sin, be out of His will, yet still be part of His plan, all the while retaining our our free will to choose right from wrong? While this is one of God's great mysteries, I believe the answer is yes. Tada and Estes clearly agree. They cite various places in scripture where God was clearly in charge. In the book of Job we see that Satan had to have God's permission in order to attack Job. God didn't do it, but He did allow it. And furthur, God is grieved over our sin. He is saddened by how we hurt each other. People that sin do not escape responsibility and discipline even though God allowed it in the first place. Psalm 33:10 tells us that "the Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever. " This comforts me. I can claim this verse and be sure that there is absolulety nothing that can happen to me, or my children, that God isn't allowing, and for our greater good. God knew what would happen in each of our lives before the foundation of the world. Ezekial 20 tells us in verse 26 that God allowed the sin of the Jewish people so that they would be "filled with horror so they would know that I am God." I can only pray that my sin will be used by God to help me hate sin and love God more. Even though we all make our own choices to do right and wrong, those choices are ordained by God. This is a tough concept, but if we allow it to be, it can be a comforting one. "every sorrow we taste will one day prove to be the best possible thing that could have happened. We will thank God endlessly in heaven for the trials he sent us here. This is not DisneyLand-it is truth." This truth about God not only takes the need for worry away, but it frees us up to be forgiving and not forsake bitterness to those who cause us pain. Just as Joseph forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery. Despite to difficult path and the pain he endured, what his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good. (Gen 50:20).