Thanks for joining us on this journey of building a consistent habit of reading our Bibles every day. The Bible reading plan we are using this year can be found here: One Year Bible or here on the Bible app. As always, if you miss a day, don’t feel compelled to go back and catch up. Just skip it and start back on today’s date. I am reading the NLT this year, but feel free to use whatever version you prefer. Now here are some thoughts from today’s readings:
And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.
– Mark 6:5-6
There is some debate in Christian camps on what is meant by the “sovereignty of God”. Some people think that He is in control of everything to the extent that nothing happens outside of His wanting it to. That means everyone who gets cancer does so because God willed. Every hurricane and the devastation in its wake is God’s will. Literally, they believe, you are reading this post because God is, in a sense, making you do it. But does that make sense in light of Scripture?
Here we see that Jesus was unable to do any significant miracles because of the people’s unbelief. Jesus Himself even marvels at it. It would appear that there was more He WANTED to do, but the personal decisions of unbelief of the people in His hometown restricted what He was ABLE to do. So, does that mean God is not all powerful? Not at all. The Bible is also clear that He is all powerful and can do anything. Then how do we put it all together?
It would appear that, though God CAN do anything, He restricts Himself based on the decisions of man. In His sovereignty, He has decided to not be in control of everything, though, at a moment’s notice, He can take control of anything. I know this can all get a bit confusing, so let me try to explain it this way: every person, including God has both a will and a plan. They are not the same thing, but in Christian circles we often use them interchangeably when it comes to God.
Consider this: it is my will for my kids to become productive, self controlled citizens (among other things). It is not my will to spank them. No one ever says, “I can’t wait to have kids so I can spank the mess out of them all day!” But, because they are little people with little personalities making little decisions, spankings are part of my plan to help get them to my will. In the same way, God’s will is that none will perish, but some will. God’s will is to be close to His children, but some won’t heed to that call. However, Romans 8:28 tells that God is taking all the situations that are happening, good and bad, His doing and our doing, and using them as part of His plan to help all of humanity get to His will.
Now we see that the sovereignty of God does not mean He is in control of everything, but that He can take control of anything. This shouldn’t lesson are trust in God, as some say this view does. It should strengthen it! God is not up in heaven playing a cosmic game of chase with Himself, using our lives as the pawns. He’s a deeply personal Father, leading us, guiding us, and helping us to get ever closer to eternal joy in Him. And, even when we jump off the rails at times under our own power, God is more than able to get us back on track and even use our “off the rails” days to get us closer to Him and His will for our lives.
How can you spend some time today thanking God that He is guiding you and working things out to help you get to Him and His will?