God is Far from Inactive

I have had countless debates with people online regarding the existence of God’s sovereignty, along with our free will, and how they somehow exist together. My goal here, though, is not to make the case for the position I hold, but to encourage the brethren to rest in the fact that God is in control, regardless of the seemingly random reality we all share.

There is an interesting account in 2 Samuel which reveals just how much God is in control, despite the free will choices man makes:

One of David’s sons, Absalom, is the center of much turmoil and resistance during the early establishment of David’s kingdom. Chapter 13 tells of Absolam’s murder of his brother Ammon, due to Ammon’s rape of Absolam’s sister Tamar. Absalom then flees the family. In chapter 14, Absalom is then reconciled to David. But soon after, in chapter 15, Absalom rebels against David. His rebellion is so powerful, David actually then flees from Absalom. Towards the end of chapter 15, as David’s flees, David encounters Hushai the Arkite at the Mount of Olives, who is in mourning due to David’s throne being threatened by Absalom. David then develops a crafty plan involving Hushai. He sends Hushai as a spy to pretend to be a defector from himself to Absalom, and instructs Hushai to tell Absalom that he desires to be an advisor for him, just as he was for Absalom’s father in the past. David’s goal? To frustrate and counter the advice of Absalom’s advisor, Ahithophel. Hushai then arrives in Jerusalem, just as Absalom arrives with his men and Ahithophel. In Chapter 16, Absalom queries Hushai as to why he has a sudden change of desired loyalty. Hushai lies to Absalom by announcing that he “works for the man who is chosen in the Lord and by Israel.” Hushai also says to Absalom that since he had already advised his father, why not advise him as well. Absalom then asks Ahithophel for his opinion. Ahithophel ignores the question and just advises Absalom to sleep with David’s concubines. In the beginning of chapter 17, Ahithophel advises Absalom to let him choose 12,000 men to pursue David and then kill him, in order to then bring the people back to Absalom “as a bride returns to her husband.” Absalom likes the plan, but also at the beginning of chapter 17 he decides to get Hushai’s input as well. Hushai counters Ahithophel’s advice. Hushai explains to Absalom that David is not that easily defeated. He suggests mobilizing all of Israel instead, from “Dan to Beersheba”. The last line of this section of scripture reveals a lot about the reality we all share:

2 Samuel 17:14
And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring harm upon Absalom.”

I must repeat that last sentence:

“For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring harm upon Absalom.”

Who ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel?

Who might bring harm upon Absalom?

The point is, God is in control, regardless of our perception that we think that we are in control. There is an encouraging observation from RC Sproul’s, Reformation Study Bible regarding 2 Samuel 17:14:

“Though the Lord does not openly intervene, He is far from inactive to defeat the good counsel.”

God is far from inactive in our lives. Such oversight by God, upon all of reality, should give the Christian peace.

Matthew 6:25-34
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow:they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat? ’ or ‘What shall we drink? ’ or ‘What shall we wear? ’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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  1. I think sometimes that the issue of God’s sovereignty becomes an emotional one as well as an intellectual one. Once we experience deep devastation, such as divorce, rape, the death of one of our children, it feels like God doesn’t care and/or is not sovereign.

    In these cases, the Lament Psalms of David provide a guide. In them, you will not find a “fast food faith,” but instead the cathartic cry of one who does not have any answers and is struggling to trust God. In fact, when Jesus was on the cross, he quoted Psalm 22:1 as he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

    If you are deeply struggling with God’s goodness or sovereignty due to a crisis, review David’s Lament Psalms. Sometimes David cries out, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?” (Ps 6 & 13). Sometimes he accuses God of forsaking him (Ps 22). Sometimes David feels like he’s drowning (Ps 18 & 69), being pierced by an arrow (Ps 38), or being eaten by ravenous beasts (Ps 57). Sometimes he is suffering the betrayal of a close friend (Ps 41 & 55) and sometimes he argues with his soul to continue trusting God (Ps 42-43). Finally, sometimes faith comes a little bit easier for him (Ps 62), but once in a great while, David writes the entire Psalm without finding faith at all (Ps 88, “The Dark Night of the Soul”).

    Why not read these Lament Psalms? Maybe even try writing one of your own. They can be like a “Breakfast for the Brokenhearted.”


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