A lot of time, when people talk about the sovereignty of God they pass across the notion that God, for whatever reason, chooses from time to time to cause misfortune and hardship in the lives of people. Like a bully who tortures animals and fellow human beings alike just because he has the power to do so. This is evident in everyday expressions of people like “it was an act of God”. Pick up an insurance policy slip and you’ll find the phrase “acts of God” somewhere. And what might this phrase refer to? Earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters, all attributed to acts perpetuated by God. On the other hand, people see a beautiful sunset or a mind blowing landscape and they say “wow! The wonders of nature”. They attribute the bad stuff to God and the good to nature.
It’s no marvel then that so many people, when they enjoy good time, they just enjoy it and deem themselves lucky and when tough times come they say “God knows why”. Attributing their hardship to God.
Romans 9:10-12; 15-16 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Contrary to popular belief that God is on the look out for whom he will punish or inflict with pain and poverty, the sovereignty of God is demonstrated in him taking initiative to bless people not for works sake but because of his choice to love them.
Romans 9:10-12 above talks about Esau and Jacob the twins of Isaac, Abraham’s son. God decided that he was going to bless and elevate the younger of the twins over his brother before the children were born. The older twin was blessed also, he became a great nation also but the younger was a lot more blessed in that through him was the blessing of Abraham propagated and he became the patriarch of the nation of Isreal and a forefather of the coming Messiah. You can read more about Jacob in Genesis 27 – 35. None of them had done anything to deserve a single blessing but God in his wisdom wanted to teach us about his character and nature and the covenant he was going to establish. If you ever ask what God was thinking to have blessed him(Jacob) that way, here’s the answer. God answered it in advance.
Rom 9:23-24 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
God could have chosen any one of the twins to receive the blessing and he could have also waited for them to live a while so as to see who will be more deserving. If God had to choose before their birth, Esau would have been an easier choice since he was the first born and by right he deserved to carry on the family heritage. He also had the right to a double portion of inheritance when their father died. But God chose the unlikely, the one we could even say was less deserving, judging by some of the things he did. Remember, before they ever did anything was when God made the choice. Now, that choice was not solely for Jacob’s sake, as a matter of fact, it was more of a prophetic act and a revelation in a shadow of the intents and purposes of God. The real reason was that God was making a practical example to us(you and I) that obtaining his blessing and favour is not by what you do or what you don’t do. It means no body qualifies for the blessing of God by their actions no matter how good or bad. It then follows that whosoever receives the blessing of God has received the mercy of God. For it is not of him that wills or of him that runs but of God that shows mercy.
The most exciting part of this truth is that under the new covenant some people are made vessels of mercy – people designed by God to show forth the riches of his glory. Under the old covenant it was just anybody God chose that he blessed but under the new covenant God has blessed already one man. He has endowed him with all the power, riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. Revelations 5:12. The man Christ Jesus.
Before the covenant was executed, before he came to the earth, he already had all things because he was God. He didn’t need to come to the earth to obtain those things mentioned above, he had them already. But this was the essence of the covenant – that he might join himself to a people weak and helpless so that they might be blessed with his blessing, and their weakness and helplessness be replaced by his strength and glory. Apostle Paul puts it this way:
Eph 2:15-16 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
In Christ, God created one new man, the recipient of God’s blessings, love and mercy. This new man is made up of Christ Jesus as the head and every other person as members of the body. That is why we are members of the body of Christ and anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. This is the mystery of the new covenant that was hid from ages past but was revealed at the the birth of the body of Christ.
Being in Christ therefore is what qualifies one as a vessel of mercy. And like we read in Romans 9:23-24, all vessels of mercy were designed to manifest the riches of the Glory of God before they were ever born just like Jacob. The plan was that God would establish a covenant through Christ and everyone that will opt in will become a vessel of mercy. That was how God made the choice and through Jacob he showed us that to be blessed all you need is to receive mercy.
Now, having been made a vessel of mercy, we can draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.(Hebrews 4:16) knowing that God will not deny us because this was what he designed us for.
God has had mercy on mankind by sending Jesus to establish a new covenant, thereby making available for all the grace of salvation.
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
You can opt in if you are not already in Christ. Tell him you want to be a part of that body and you accept his headship over you, and you will be saved and be a vessel of mercy.
If you are in Christ already, boldly approach the throne of grace to receive mercy for whatever you are going through. Obtaining the mercy of God will supply you with fresh grace and insight and enablement and open doors to put them to use. Go on.
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This post is a sequel to an earlier post: “WHAT WAS GOD THINKING, click here to read”
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WHAT WAS GOD THINKING?
Isn’t it strange? A man once handed over one of his life’s most precious investments (one that took him his whole lifetime to build) to a trusted friend of his to manage, because he trusted him and believed he was going to make the best decisions and he wanted him to be more involved in his life. In order to run the business well without hitches, he also gave him the legal right to take any action he so pleased. A few days later he finds out that his friend had signed over the entire thing to an arch rival of his for no good reason. And he was not deceived or corned, he was fully aware of the implications his decision. If you were in the good man’s shoes what would you do? You are probably saying “what was he thinking?”. The good man, hurt as he was, was ready to remedy the situation and grant a second chance.
Another man had always loved a girl from his tender age and he decided early that he was going marry her and only she was his choice. He worked hard at his academics, became responsible and disciplined so that he could have the quality of life that was worth sharing with her. Not because she was from a wealthy background, or because he wanted something from her, as a matter of fact, he even had to work hard just to see her through school and supply her basic needs. He was ready to do ANYTHING just to make her as comfortable as possible. He didn’t mind that he had to work sixteen hours a day as long as her needs were met. Finally, it was a day to their wedding and as it was in his custom, thoughtfully, joyfully and hoping to give her a pleasant surprise he buys her a set of jewelry she had always loved. She would be the happiest bride there ever was wearing those jewelries on her wedding day and he the most fulfilled groom having such a happy bride. He could hardly wait to see the look in her eyes, he was enthusiastic. The evening, however, was going to be more eventful than he thought. He planned to surprise her but he was about to receive a great surprise himself. It was not her plan to surprise him though, as a matter of fact, she never even thought he would know about it. The man arrives at his brides premises excited, he could hardly wait to see how happy she would be when he started hearing noises coming from the car parked in front of his bride’s house. Infuriated, he was going to tell the car owner and his partner to drive off and find a more private place where they could indulge themselves. He knocks on the window but they were too engrossed to respond. He angrily opens the door to talk some sense into them, but to his utter flabbergast, there was his bride without clothes with another man doing the unthinkable, just a night to their wedding. After all the love and sacrifice. As he walked away, totally stunned and speechless, he thought to himself, “she is unworthy and undeserving”, but he loved her still, he was going to do anything to make her see it. If only she knew how much he loved her and could reciprocate a fraction… God’s love for us doesn’t end the moment we mess up or choose something or someone else over him.
What was God thinking when he handed over the dominion of the whole earth to man when he knew he could loose it? Genesis 1:26. And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and OVER ALL THE EARTH, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Hebrews 2:6-8. But one in a certain place testified, saying, what is man that thou(God) art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou(God) visitest him? Thou (God) madest him a little lower than angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou(God) hast put ALL THINGS in subjection under his feet…. And as if that was not enough, when Adam gave it all to the devil, God sacrificed heavens’ best, not to get back the dominion and creation for himself but so that he could give it back to man who gave it out in the first place. What was God possibly thinking?
What was God thinking when he told Hosea, a prophet, to marry a prostitute? Hosea 1:2. … And the LORD said to Hosea, go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. Here God likened the people of Israel to a wife that had left her husband(God) to commit adultery with other men. He wanted to make the analogy clear so Hosea his prophet had to marry a prostitute. Hosea’s wife kept going back to her former lovers to commit adultery with them and God kept telling Hosea to go get her back and care for her and love her. He wanted his people to know that though they had departed from him he loved them with an everlasting love. But how better a story would it be if a love story was told, one like that of Hosea, about the relentless, self sacrificing love of the man and how the woman eventually saw the love of the man and responded back in love and gave up her adulterous ways and they lived happily ever after. How beautiful and touching would that be? It could almost make one cry. On the other hand, if the man kept loving and caring and the woman never appreciated or reciprocated his love, how terrible a story would that be? That would be a tragedy.
Now, back to “what was God thinking?”. What made him sacrifice his only son whom he loved for sinners? God wanted to have a beautiful love story. He wanted a happy ending despite the beginning and everything that had happened. He wanted to make known his great love with which he loves us – undying, unending love. Think about the story of Hosea again, if he had used a spell or force on his wife to keep her to himself would that be a very happy ending? It would even be worse than if the story ends with the woman walking out on him, at least he would be the one who loved her to the end. If, however, he compelled her somehow, then he would be the man who loved but became evil because of rejection. God could make us obey him and do what he wants, but that would not be love. He made us so he has the right if he wanted to, but God is love. Rather than compel you, he would let you walk out on him and choose to go to hell even because what makes love love is the free will. If that is taken away, love is taken away. So, important as obeying God is, that is not his priority. If not why would he sacrifice the sinless, righteous and blameless son of God for a sinful, disobedient and unworthy set of people? God has chosen to love and accept you regardless of who you are or what you’ve done, do you choose to love him too. Would you grant Jesus the beautiful story he died to get? He doesn’t promise to love you, he has demonstrated his love by dying just to woo you to him, his arms are stretched out, he wants you the way you are, will you take his hand and let him shower his love on you? Do you believe in a love that powerful or will you despise his love like Hosea’s wife? If you have never accepted his love, sacrifice and proposal before you can do that right now, he has been waiting to hear you say yes Lord. Tell him you will submit to him as Lord and let him love you as his beloved. If you are already in this relationship, why not take a moment to tell him how much you appreciate his love and sacrifice. He loves us, yes he does.
Coming up next: “WHAT WAS GOD THINKING BLESSING YOU LIKE THAT?” If you have never asked what God was thinking to have blessed you so much, then you probably don’t know how blessed you are.
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