The Book of Exodus has always been an exciting book to me. God reveals Himself and His mighty power in such miraculous ways defying the laws of nature over and over. God shows Himself very real to His people in order to leave no doubt that He is their God.
When God calls Moses to go and deliver His people from bondage in Egypt, God tells Moses His name…I AM.
I love all that this name signifies about God and Who He is. Self-existent. Eternal. All-powerful. He is Sovereign Lord over all!
The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.Psalms 103:19
In the Book of Exodus, the Lord powerfully and miraculously illustrates for us His Sovereign reign over all His creation. God is sovereign ruler over—
All of nature—
Animals (Exodus 8:20-24 16:8,13)
Weather (Exodus 9:18,26,29)
Light, sun, moon, and stars (Exodus 10:20-21,23)
All of life—
Sickness and healing (Exodus 9:10)
Food and water supplies (Exodus 16:8,12-13,20 20:24 17:6)
Life and death (Exodus 12:23)
The hearts of men—
Rulers of the world (Exodus 9:16 10:1-2)
Our enemies (Exodus 15:6-9 14:25,17,4,8 18:4 12:51)
Anyone (Exodus 11:3 12:35-36)
In talking with others about God over the years, I’ve heard three particular questions concerning God’s sovereignty. I’d like to share those here along with the hope-inspiring truths that I believe answer these questions.
#1 Since God is sovereign and controls all things, then why pray?
Prayer and God’s Sovereignty—we are to believe in both. God answers our prayers within His sovereign will.
Think about it, if God answered every one of our prayers, just because we prayed it, then we would be sovereign. God would be ruled by what we said or asked of Him.
But then, if He didn’t ever answer our prayers then there would be no use in praying. “Que Sera Sera…whatever will be, will be.”
God always know what He will do. But He listens to our prayers. And when it is within His will to do so, He will do whatever is necessary…even change His predetermined course of action…in order to answer our prayer! Amazing!
For example, God knew, of course, that Moses would beseech Him to not destroy the Israelites for their rebellion and idol worship of the golden calf. (Exodus 32:7-14) But had Moses not intervened in intercessory prayer, God would have continued on His course of action. God does not lie. Ever! (Titus 1:2) He would have destroyed them…as He had said.
But He listened to Moses and changed His course of action!
And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people,…Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest…And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.Exodus 32:11-14
Prayer changes things…because God is sovereign and has the power to do absolutely anything necessary to answer His children’s prayers! Even change His mind!
So, pray with all faith in your Sovereign Lord!
For with God nothing shall be impossible.Luke 1:37
#2 Since man can only do right with the help of the Holy Spirit influencing his/her heart, then if man doesn’t make the right choice, isn’t it God’s fault?
Free will and God’s sovereignty—we believe in both. God doesn’t control our choices. He does give us free will…
But in the context of His sovereign plan for His world and all that are in it.
Sometimes God in His mercy, and because of His will in a matter, will restrain man from doing evil, making a bad choice. (For example, Abimelech in Genesis 20:6)
You might ask, “But if a man who isn’t restrained by God, makes the wrong choice, isn’t it God’s fault? Since God could have restrained him?”
The answer is No.
Man’s sin is still his own fault…for not yielding to the Spirit. The Spirit shows us right and wrong. If a man doesn’t follow that leading, that help and discernment to do right, it is not God’s fault.
However, when it is God’s will to do so, He will in His mercy, cause His Spirit to be very persuasive to us that we make His choice He wants made. Or, to accomplish His will, He will use others He can trust and knows will make the correct choice.
God’s plan for man, for each man, has been established in heaven in eternity past. (Ephesians 2:10) God knows the end from the beginning. Our choices don’t cause God’s plans to change, according to those choices.
God knew man and each of our choices, and what He would do, from before the world began.
So, God does not cause anyone to choose wrong. He does not tempt anyone with sin. (James 1:13) But God may sometimes just withhold any help to choose right. Pharaoh is such an example—when God told him through Moses to let the people go.
Pharaoh was accountable to God for his choice to harden his own heart repeatedly before God ever effectually said, “Enough” and hardened Pharaoh’s heart beyond repair, beyond repentance.
And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.Exodus 5:2 (See also Exodus 8:32, 9:12)
Pharaoh’s rejection of God is certainly not God’s fault. God had shown Pharaoh many miracles that none of us have ever seen! Yet Pharaoh refused to humble himself and believe. NOT God’s fault!
God has the sovereign ability to work in our hearts to help us do right.
He also many times protects us and guides our lives by influencing the hearts of others in their choices that will affect our lives! We can rest knowing that God is ultimately in control of our life…NOT the choices of others!
#3 Since God is sovereign and could stop bad things from happening, then how is He still good?
God is good and made the world good.
Man’s, and woman’s, great contribution to God’s perfect creation was sin. And thereby the entrance into it of evil and pain and death and destruction. All of that is man’s fault because of our disobedience to God’s command in the garden of Eden.
Evil in the world. Again, NOT God’s fault.
However, God in His goodness uses His sovereign power to hold back the forces of evil, to keep them from harming and ultimately destroying us and His world.
for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.Hebrews 13:5b
It is such a wonder to me that God doesn’t give up on us His children and on this world that He made.
I have enjoyed reading the Book of Exodus and imagining the power of God displayed for all to see.
The ten plagues! The parting of the Red Sea! Water coming from a rock! God’s voice from the heavens!
Oh, the wonder of God’s deliverance of His people from slavery…the display of His goodness to a people that, as a whole, had disregarded Him!
Yes, God is good. And He is good ALL the time!
What a wonder our God is!
God in His goodness uses His sovereign power to deliver, to help, and to give us hope in the midst of this sin-cursed world! Just as He did for Israel throughout the Exodus!
For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.Psalms 47:7
And keep drawing nigh to Him,
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT
What other question do you have about God’s sovereignty? What was your favorite part of the Book of Exodus?