As Jesus Followers we believe that God is sovereign. But what does that mean? Christianity.com says sovereignty means being the ultimate source of all power, authority, and everything that exists. Only God can make those claims. We agree. But how does that effect our everyday life? Does God cause things to happen or does God allow things to happen? Both. Ok, so are we just puppets on a string whose every decision and action is overwhelmingly determined by God that we can in no way resist? Or do we have freedom of choice to make our own decisions and thus bear the consequences of our own choices and actions?
In Exodus chapter 7 God starts the process of delivering the people of Israel out from the land of Egypt. When we get to the end of the 2nd plague, in Exodus 8:15 it says, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.” During the 4th plague, when the Lord removed the swarms of insects, we see in Exodus 8:32 that Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.
We get to the 7th plague and in Exodus 9:27 it says, “Then Pharoah sent for Moses and Aaron, and he said to them, ‘I have sinned this time; the Lord is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones.’” It seems that if Pharoah and his servants sinned, the responsibility of their actions is on them. Again in verse 34, “But when Pharoah saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.”
At that point, in Exodus 10:1-3 it says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharoah, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians, and how I performed My signs among them; that you may know that I am the Lord.’ And Moses and Aaron went to Pharoah and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go that they may serve Me.’”
We need to be careful not to do as Pharaoh did by refusing to humble ourselves before the God of heaven. Do we know that the Lord is God? Are we willing to humble ourselves before Him? Is Jesus your Savior and is He Lord of your life?
Are there times we want to make a choice to do something we really want and so embrace our freedom of choice, because we want to do what we want to do? When something happens to us that we don’t want to take responsibility for, do we claim God’s sovereignty in order to take away blame from ourselves? Let’s give an example. How often do we hear when people pass away that it was God’s time for the person to go and be with Jesus? We hear it a lot. That statement effectively removes any blame for their passing away on their personal choices which may have been extremely unwise, unhealthy or addictive. But it makes us feel better to say it was God’s time for them.
God is merciful. He can do anything He wants to. He can save us from the negative consequences of our actions even when we don’t make good choices because He is God and has a purpose and plan for our lives that goes beyond us.