God uses kings for His purposes. Cyrus was one of these, Jehu was another.
Isaiah 45:1-3 speaks of God’s sovereign plan. Here, God uses Cyrus to rescue the Jewish captives following their 70 year exile in Babylon.
“Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. “
At a time preceding the same 70-year captivity spoken of above, God ordained Jehu:
“But it was ordained by God that the downfall of Ahaziah should come about through his going to visit Joram. For when he came there, he went out with Jehoram to meet Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had anointed to destroy the house of Ahab.” 2 Chronicles 22:7
Proverbs 21:1 repeats the point: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turns it whithersoever he will.”
Matthew Henry comments on God’s control:
“…as the husbandman, by canals and gutters, turns the water through his grounds as he pleases, which does not alter the nature of the water, nor put any force upon it, any more than God’s providence does upon the native freedom of man’s will, but directs the course of it to serve his own purpose. … God can change men’s minds, can, by a powerful insensible operation under their spirits, turn them from that which they seemed most intent upon, and incline them to that which they seemed most averse to.”
Proverbs 20:24 strengthens the argument for it’s need, “Man’s goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?” And, Jeremiah 10:23: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. “
A.W. Tozer helps us understand the roots of the truth of God’s sovereignty, the balances, the many questions which arise in our finite deductions:
“God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. … “
“Man’s will is free because God is sovereign.”
“A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.”
Friends, instead of going down the road of the age old debate; sovereignty versus free-will, I will offer my layman’s thoughts.
- The Jews could not conceive how deliverance could come to them in the case of Cyrus and also Jehu.
- But God in Jeremiah 29:11 Has “thoughts of peace toward them, not of evil, to give them an expected end.”
- God loved His people with an everlasting love. He draws them with lovingkindness. In Jeremiah 31:1-3
- He desires to build them again.
- He calls them “virgin.”
In closing, the story of “Job” contains many truths. One of these truths demonstrates the sovereign limiting tools of God:
- He places hedges of protection around man (Job 1)
- He teaches Men of their own limitations in controlling their details of life. (see Chapters on Leviathan and Behemoth.)
- He teaches Job that all things,(even good and evil ) of his own perception are really working for his good.
- He teaches Job about the limitations of ministry, through the lack of it by the 4 friends.
- He teaches Job that loving his wife is an act of grace.
Finally, Love is the trump card that allows me to say OK to God’s sovereignty. I’m very limited, even “weak.” Thank you, God, for saving my soul. Love ya
- Sovereign God, Sovereign Love - May 15, 2023
- Brand New - March 24, 2023
- Love Makes for No More Stumbling - February 28, 2023