Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Accepting God's Sovereignty

A long time ago I did a study on how we accept God's sovereignty, as exemplified through Pharaoh's grudging acceptance in the wake of the Plagues of Egypt. I just found my notes, and so I thought I'd post them here for future reference.

Theme: To acknowledge God's sovereignty means to realize two things: He owns us; we serve Him.

Stages in Accepting God's Sovereignty
  1. Outright denial (Exodus 7:22) - At first Pharaoh rejects the idea that God will call the shots.
  2. Call for help (Exodus 8:8) - The first breakthrough for Pharaoh, and for many others, is a circumstance that is clearly beyond his control; God is the only one who can intervene.
  3. Acceptance within limits (Exodus 8:28) - Even after we begin to recognize that God is in control, we want to bargain with how much control we relinquish to Him.
  4. Conviction without Obedience (Exodus 9:27, 34) - Pharaoh, like so many, may know in his head that God is calling the shots, but he still refuses to obey His commands. Changing behaviors to match convictions can be a real challenge.
  5. Suspicion despite belief (Exodus 10:9-11) - Pharaoh's words to Moses about God reveal that he is still not completely convinced that everything will go as Moses has said; despite everything, there is still a suspicion that God won't really carry through with the plan.
  6. Holding back our "fun" (Exodus 10:24) - Even when Pharaoh is ready to release the Hebrews, he still wants to keep hold of the flocks. He wants to keep the good stuff for himself, and give up to God only what he has to.
Ultimately, of course, Pharaoh does let the people go, though even after that he reneges on his agreement and comes after them, to his own destruction.

Why don't we accept God's sovereignty? There could be many reasons, but most boil down to these two reasons:
  1. We don't know God. (Exodus 5:2) If we knew God, that He exists and that He loves us, we would have no problem turning over control to Him.
  2. We think other things can do what God can do. (Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:7) The creation holds in it certain qualities imbued in it by the Creator, but we err when we look to the creation and miss the Creator Himself.

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