“Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases.”
It goes directly against our secular culture’s concept of God to understand His true nature. This is why immersing oneself in the early Scriptures like Genesis and Exodus is so important. Our experience of freewill is totally overshadowed by His providence whenever He chooses. The Bible therefore asks, “Who can measure the wealth and wisdom and knowledge of God? Who can understand His decisions or explain what He does?” (Romans 11:33)
Abraham was not called or guided by his own personal initiative. His part was simply to trust and obey Jehovah. It was his acts of faith that were accredited to him – as righteousness (see Genesis 15:6). God’s sovereignty provided the circumstances for his journey and he made the life-changing choices. The same is true for us today!
Joseph’s youthful dream which vividly revealed his future was definitely not of his own choosing. His dream, and later his ability to accurately interpret the dreams of others, came directly from God (see Genesis 40 and 41). However, the predicted aspects of his life still had to be chosen and experienced. As Egypt’s second in command, Joseph spoke to his brothers saying, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to keep many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20) This is an example of how God’s sovereignty functions to guide, protect, and bless our lives as well.
To illustrate God’s sovereignty, baby Moses was placed in a floating basket and found by the princess of Egypt, but he had nothing to do with those events. (see Exodus 2:3-10) Nor did he later personally desire to lead God’s often ungrateful people into the promised holy lands. That was God’s plan from the beginning.
The repeated hardening of Pharaoh’s heart took place solely through God’s sovereignty (see Exodus 7:3; 9:12). Jehovah created unforgettable history by delivering 600,000 male Hebrew slaves plus their families. He did this through a series of plagues and miracles that greatly confounded Egypt’s court and general population. Moses could take no personal credit for these events, but he exercised the faith and obedience required for them to happen.
Pharaoh was used by God to help reveal heaven’s redemptive purpose. “Yes” as always, Pharaoh made his own daily decisions but the choices that determined the future of God’s people – were not his to make. God’s sovereignty is the timeless reality which creates the need for faith and perpetual humility!
It is often in retrospect that we best recognize God’s handywork. However, whenever He chooses, He also calls and guides His disciples using dreams and visions about their future. Describing Pentecost and our New Testament era of grace, the Scriptures say,
“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29)
By Billie Hanks Jr.