Russell and Duenes

By God’s Hand and Plan

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In Acts 4, Peter and John are hauled before the Jewish leaders and ordered to stop speaking in Jesus’ name. They famously reply that they must listen to God and not to men. The leaders threaten them some more and send them away, to which the apostles and other believers respond:

And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

   “‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’

for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”

The very first thing the believers speak is an affirmation of God’s sovereignty, seen in the fact that He made heaven and earth and everything in them. God speaks a sovereign word about what is to come, and how the peoples will rebel. Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel set themselves against Jesus, to kill Him, because that is what God’s “hand and plan had predestined to take place.” God’s control is made explicit here.

The wicked events against Jesus were all set up and controlled by God. Indeed, the prophecies in Psalm 2 above were ordained to come to pass by God’s rulership over history. Thus, even the negative things in this world and in our lives come about from the sovereign hand of God. God’s hand and plan predestines the events of our lives. We certainly make choices, as did Pilate, Herod and the others. But our choices are constrained by God’s sovereign choices and plans. And those choices and plans are good, we can be sure.

God’s sovereignty was a bedrock belief by the apostles, one which gave them great encouragement and boldness. It should do the same for us, which is why I am emphasizing it recently. When God’s church begins to go wobbly on God’s utter sovereignty, she goes wobbly in her witness and influence in her communities.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

May 4, 2015 at 4:45 am

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