I was awesomed out by the sovereign grace and faithfulness of God today whilst reading Chapter 4 of God’s Big Picture (Vaughan Roberts). I’ve heard the words “Sovereign,” “grace” and “faithfulness” thrown around a lot, but the overview of the history of Israel that I read today has really helped me to appreciate what they actually look like.
God chose Abraham to be the father of his chosen people. By God’s Sovereign choice, and not by birthright or individual merit, Jacob became the father of the people Israel, as heir of Abraham. Jacob was the younger of two sons, and by the inheritance custom his brother should have been the heir. However, it was prophesised from before his birth that “The older will serve the younger”, and as God is Sovereign, that was what happened, even though Jacob got to be Abraham’s heir by trickery and deception. A generation down the line, when the sons of Jacob sold their brother Joseph into slavery in Egypt and told their father that he was dead, God still upheld his promise to protect them as his people. He made Joseph Prime Minister there so that Jacob and his sons could flee to Egypt from famine and live.
When the descendants of Jacob’s sons were enslaved by the Egyptians (which has a certain ring of justice about it, in my opinion), God went to great lengths to redeem them, until they were saved by the blood of the Passover lamb from the destroying angel that killed the Egyptians’ firstborn. God, who is Sovereign, ordained that to happen.
Israel did not deserve God’s favour and nor do we. But this is his grace to us, and God, being Sovereign, arranged things so that it would be within our grasp. Jesus is our Passover lamb, and through his blood God protects us from destruction just as he protected his people Israel, whilst the Egyptians perished by God’s wrath for their sins. Nor do we understand why God chose to unfold his purposes in the way that he did. But what we do know is that God made a promise to Abraham to uphold his descendants as his own chosen people, and whatever lengths God went to in order to bring this about, and however treacherous and undeserving the people were, he deliberately and Sovereignly ordained things to come to pass so as they did so that this could remain the case. As he has proven himself a faithful and merciful God to his Old Covenant people, we have reason to believe that he will uphold his promise to us too.