PSALMS 135:5-6: “For I know that the Lord is great, And our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Is God in control of all things? Is God moving all the affairs of this world toward a determined end and purpose? Or, did God simply set everything in motion and everything that happens is subject to chance and the will of man?
There is an age-old debate regarding predestination and free will. The view of predestination is that God is in control of everything and the ultimate end of all things is already determined by God. We are just cooperating with fate. The view of free will is that man has a choice and his destiny is not preordained. Man’s destiny is determined by the choices he makes and God interacts with these choices.
The above is simply a working definition of these two positions and by no means a definitive explanation. However, the extreme of both positions either puts God in absolute control or makes every choice we make the determining factor. The good news is that one position does not have to be true to the exclusion of the other. Could it be possible that God is in complete control and that man has a free choice in his destiny? Is it possible that God’s sovereignty is not threatened by man’s free choice?
I love these verses from Psalms 135. The Psalmist declares,
- “For I know that the Lord is great, And our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places.”
The Psalmist notes that the Lord is great and is above all gods. This is not an acknowledgment that other gods truly exist. A few verses after this we read,
- “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them.” Psalms 135:15-18 NKJV
An idol does not exist. There is only one true God. And, the Lord, the Creator of all things, does as He pleases. No force in heaven or earth can thwart the will of God. Yet, this same all-powerful God allows each one of us to make our own choices. These choices determine our destiny. Yet – they do not alter the destiny and purposes of God. God’s purposes still will be accomplished no matter what man chooses.
I find this truth a great paradox. God is in control and man always has a choice. At the same time, God is moving everything by His mighty power to accomplish His purposes. This brings me a great sense of awe and wonder. Imagine over 8 billion people exercising their free will yet never altering the sovereign plan of God for mankind. How can this be true?
- “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11 NKJV
We cannot fully grasp or understand the ways of God. Just the other day I watched a beautiful hawk soar as it rode the air currents for over an hour. He soared effortlessly. I have never experienced this. I really cannot fully understand it. Yet, I can look upon it with awe and wonder and acknowledge its truth. Such it is with the ways of God. God does what he wants. He also gives man the ability to do what he chooses. Yet, His purposes are never thwarted. His word is established in the heavens. What God has spoken will be accomplished.
This brings me great comfort and hope. As I look at a world that seems to be out of control, I am reminded that God’s Word will be fulfilled. He will judge the nations. He will redeem His children. He will establish a New Heaven and a New Earth where He will reign forever and ever! The nations may raise their fists against the God of Creation. Yet, He will do what He wills and wants to do. God is sovereign and will accomplish all that He has spoken.
Today, we are all facing challenges that seem to be out of our control. We wonder how God will lead us through these challenges. How will He redeem the bad choices that we have made? This is where the truth of predestination and free will meet in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Paul writes in Romans 8,
- “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30 NKJV
In Jesus Christ, God redeems us and all of our choices. He works all things in our lives toward His good purpose. His purpose is to mold us into the image of Jesus Christ. This is what we are predestined for as children of God. He has called us, justified us through the blood of Jesus Christ, and is glorifying us day by day, step by step, choice by choice, as we walk in the power of His grace through the Holy Spirit.
The subject of predestination and free will can take many additional twists and turns. Endless books have been written on the subject. However, this morning I am blessed to simply give thanks that God is in control and is redeeming all the choices that I have made toward His good purpose. What a wonder to serve a loving God who gives us free will and redeems us with His powerful sovereign hand. Today I rejoice that…
GOD IS IN CONTROL!
In Jesus’ Name!