- Phil Berquist
A: a shepherd boy and horseshoes.
Q: name two things that can prove the sovereignty of God.
just wanted to share a few thoughts on God's sovereignty. some cool reminders have popped up recently, so i thought i'd write them down.
the first reminder that caught my attention was an aside of sorts spoken by matt chandler at a conference in maine last month. it caught my attention because it was a fresh take on a passage i have heard quoted NUMEROUS times in my life. i know that a healthy caution should be employed when anyone has a "fresh take" on scripture, but i see much truth and insight in what matt said. he referred to the story of esther, specifically mordecai's famous "such a time as this" line in esther 4:14. instead of taking the oft-used angle of "if you don't do this, it won't happen" or "if not you, who? if not now, when?" as a means of motivating people to action, matt talked about how God's sovereign plans will be executed because they are up to Him, not us. mordecai even emphasized this thinking in the same verse ("relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place").
it was an invitation for esther to, as matt says, "come and play." how humbling and encouraging that we get to take part in what God has planned! yes, we should be motivated to action by this thinking, but the emphasis is on God controlling the results, not us.
a much less significant reminder of God's sovereignty, that i "have" to mention because i put it in the title, occurred at our annual cys fall retreat. we were playing horseshoes and when i would toss a shoe that seemed like it was going to hug the stinking pole, it would crazily bounce off of the ground at some ridiculous angle and land several feet away. i needed my uncle phil's magic touch, apparently. anyway, it was laughable and made me comment, "if you don't believe in the sovereignty of God, play horseshoes."
fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. we are going through 1 samuel on sunday mornings and the account of david's anointing came up. i was reading in the preaching the word commentary series (which i have found a great teaching resource, btw) and came across another "fresh perspective" on a familiar passage.
this perspective is a bolder statement and, remember, i am not a hebrew scholar (or any kind of scholar, for that matter). the commentary on 1 samuel 16:7 mentioned that the phrase "the Lord looks at the heart" could better be translated "the Lord sees according to the heart," meaning God sees with His heart, not His eyes.
this translation would then also affect the meaning of "a man after His own heart" in 1 samuel 13:14. rather than taking this to mean that david has a heart like God's, it means that God has set His heart on david. to support this perspective, in 2 samuel 7:21, david prays that God has "according to [His] own heart" accomplished great things. apparently, the phrase "according to your own heart" is the same expression that is used in 1 samuel 13:14.
mind you, this was all presented in a commentary, i didn't come up with it!
it struck me as greatly encouraging, though! david being chosen for God's purposes was based on david's place in God's heart more so than God's place in david's heart! how much more secure and unwavering and faithful is God's heart than man's!
the Lord invited esther and david to "come and play," and He invites us, as well! and, praise God, the results of His purposes rest confidently on His will and ability, not ours!
we waver. we retreat. we balk. God doesn't.
i'm not a betting man, but considering God's will and mine, i'd go "all in" on the Almighty.
take heart, believers. God's purposes and plans for you are set in His heart!