God’s Sovereignty over People
God’s Sovereignty over People
We must ask the question: is God’s sovereign over people? This is really a question about whether God causes evil. If we are not careful we can misinterpret this as God causing evil. Scripture tells us that God allows evil. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Your adversary is Satan whose name means adversary. We know from the book of Job chapter 1 that God allowed Satan to bring adversity into Job’s life. We also know that God limited Satan as to how far he could go with this adversity. We also know from Job 42:5 that Job had a different perspective of God after the adversity than he did before. Job 42:5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.
We must remember when going through any adversity in our lives that God is looking out for our best interest and for our eternal good.
One Sunday a minister played hooky from church. The reason he wanted to play hooky was he was an avid golfer. St. Peter looking down from heaven saw the minister and asked God “are you going to let him get away with this?” God shook his head. The minister took his first shot. The ball soared 420 yards and dropped into the cup for a hole in one. St. Peter was outraged: “I thought you were going to punish him!” The Lord shrugged: “who’s he going to tell?”
God intervened in the children of Israel’s lives during the time that they spend in Egypt. Exodus 2:24–25 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. The children of Israel were being oppressed. They were being forced to make bricks without straw. God intervened in their lives and finally Pharaoh said “get out”. The children of Israel had no resources or money to make the journey. No resources for starting over in a new land. They were poverty-stricken. They had been slaves for some 400 years.
God had foreseen this problem. God provided a way to overcome this problem. Exodus 3:21–22 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, 22 but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”
The promise that God made to Moses came to pass in Exodus 12:35-36. We cannot be absolutely sure about how God works these things out. But he has made a promise that he will care for us. Hebrews 13:5 ….. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The Egyptians voluntarily and freely gave the slaves the children of Israel what they asked for. The children of Israel plundered the Egyptians. God through his Providence made the children of Israel favorable to the Egyptians and the Egyptians provided the necessary resources for them.
How does God do this? We don’t know. The Egyptians acted freely and voluntarily of their own wills. In a mysterious way, God moved the hearts of the Egyptian people.
The Egyptians did this of their own free will and their own choice. They did exactly what God planned for them to do. God’s sovereignty intervened in their hearts to accomplish His purpose for the children of Israel. They didn’t know they were accomplishing God’s purpose for the Israelites. The Egyptians wanted to provide these things for them.
At various times in our lives we find ourselves and our futures in the hands of other people. Their decisions or their actions determine whether we get a promotion or we get fired. Sometimes when we have done our best we are still dependent upon the favor of other people. We are often at the mercy of other people in their decisions or their actions. Sometimes these decisions or actions are good, sometimes they are wicked or careless.
How are we to respond when we desperately need a favorable decision or action on the part of another individual? Do we trust God that He will work out the heart of that individual to bring about His plan for us? What if the other individual is intent on running our reputation? Can we trust God to intervene in the heart of that other person?
Scripture tells us the answer is “Yes”. God does intervene in the hearts of people so that they make decisions and carry out actions that accomplish His purpose for our lives. Their decisions and actions are their own free and voluntary choices. God accomplished His purpose through the Egyptian people. This statement can make some people question my sanity, and this is a sand trap to put it in golfing terms. Many people will grant God’s sovereignty over nature and impersonal circumstances.
When you grant God’s sovereignty over the decisions and actions of people, this concept destroys the free will of man and makes him only a puppet on God’s stage. This has been debated for many years. In the past this has been my contention. If God is not sovereign in the decisions and actions of people as they affect us then there is no major area of your live where we can trust God. We are left to fend for ourselves. Are we guilty of not trusting God in some areas of our lives?
Does God cause people to make decisions that favor us and does God restrain people from making decisions that would harm us?
We have asked a large number of questions that are very difficult to answer. So let’s look at some scriptures and see what God has to say about these questions. Since there is a large number of Scriptures I will only list 2 in this blog and will continue next time.
The wise men Solomon made this statement: Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. Does God influence the decision of people? In this case it is a King. God controls the heart of the King. In Solomon’s day a king was an absolute monarch. No legislative body to make laws. The King word was law. No Supreme Court to restrain him, his authority was unconditional and unrestrained. God controlled the King’s heart. God directed the heart of this powerful monarch. If God controls the heart of the King then surely God can control the hearts of everyone else. This is sovereignty over all mankind we have already seen this in the action of the Egyptians toward the children of Israel.
Next we will see God’s sovereignty in: Ezra 1:1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: King Cyrus issued the proclamation because God moved his heart. This clearly states the destiny of God’s children was in the hands of a sovereign God. It appears that the destiny of God’s children was in the hands of a powerful King, but the destiny of God’s children was in the hands of a sovereign God. The sovereignty of God controlled the decisions of the powerful King we have seen this in Proverbs 21:1
We will stop at this point but we will continue this discussion next time.