March 23, 2003
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
God made it clear in His sovereign decision that He will impute righteousness for faith. He declared "that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness." But "it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead" (Romans 4:9, 29). This is God's sovereign plan of salvation.
When we come to position and service, we find Him sovereignly free to show mercy to Israel . God's timing was perfect because Israel had "made them a molten calf and worshipped it." God's anger was kindled such that He threatened to "consume them, and...make of thee (Moses) a great nation." Through the intercession of Moses "God repented of the evil which He thought to do..." (Exodus 32:8,10,14). God's sovereignty allowed Him to change His mind!
Moses and fellow Levites then went throughout the camp to "slay every man his brother...companion...neighbor" such that "there fell of the people that day about three thousand men" (32:28). Moses pled with God about Israel's sin and asked, "Show me now Thy way, that I may know Thee, that I may find grace in Thy sight...that this nation is Thy people" (33:13). So God passed all His goodness before Moses and proclaimed, "I...will be gracious unto whom I will be gracious and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy" (33:19).
God endured Pharaoh with much longsuffering and had raised him up to prominence in Egypt , even sparing him throughout the plagues of Egypt . God's purpose in Pharaoh was to show His power and that God's name might be proclaimed through the earth (9:16). Reflecting upon God's purpose, it could have just as easily been fulfilled had Pharaoh acknowledged God by faith and had given Israel a royal send-off. Instead he hardened his heart against God and His purpose with Israel . "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain" (Psa. 76:10). Sovereignly God shows mercy to whom He shows mercy, and whom He will, He hardens" (Rom. 9:18). Thus vessels of wrath fitted themselves to destruction, yet God would "make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which He afore prepared unto glory, even us" (Rom. 9:22-24)!
Ivan L. Burgener