Like a Stream of Water (part 1) …

Personally, I find one of the most comforting attributes of God to be His sovereignty. By that, I mean His absolute dominion and control over all things. Undisputed and unchallenged, God reigns as supreme Potentate over the entire universe, from the cosmic powers in the heavens to the single leaf falling in the forest. Therefore, when I see this attribute bleed through the pages of His holy Word, I find much cause for rejoicing!

Nowhere is this more poignantly observed than in the recounting of God’s hand, directing the hearts of men in order to bring about certain historical events in accordance with His will. Proverbs 21.1 tells us:

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He will.”

We see this actually played out in the lives of several rulers/kings. However, for the sake of time, we will just look at 2 specific examples here.

One of the most clear examples is found early in Israel’s history. At the end of the 400 years of harsh slavery in the land of Egypt, God begins to set into motion a series of events that would eventually lead to Israel’s release from bondage. One of the first events was the commissioning of Moses:

“‘Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.’ … ‘When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go'” (Exodus 3.10, 4.21).

Then, God repeats His plan to Moses again, but this time He reveals the intent behind his plan:

“You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them'” (Exodus 7.2-5).

As the story of Israel’s release unfolds, an interesting pattern emerges:

Exodus 7.22:  “So Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened …

Exodus 8.15:  “ … [Pharaoh] hardened his heart …

Exodus 8.19:  “But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, …

Exodus 8.32:  “But Pharaoh hardened his heart … “

Exodus 9.7:  “But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, …

Exodus 9.12:  “But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, …

Exodus 9.34:  “ … [Pharaoh] hardened his heart, … So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, …

Exodus 10.20:  “ … But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart …

Exodus 11.10:  “ … the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, …

As many times as God’s Word says that “Pharaoh’s heart was hardened,” it also says “the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” (This comparison also reveals the interplay between God’s sovereign control over events and man’s responsibility for his own sin, but it is not the intent of the author to discuss this apparent dichotomy at this time.) God reveals Himself to be the source behind the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart.

Why might God do such a thing? The purpose for all of this is revealed in the following passage:

Exodus 10.1:  “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.‘”


About Elizabeth

I am a sinner, saved by grace striving to increase in the knowledge of my Savior and His precious Word each day. The reader should know that there are a few presuppositions with which I approach this blog: 1) I believe in the biblical gospel, which basically purports that all mankind is born under the curse of sin (due to the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden). Therefore, man is separated from God and can have no relationship with God because He is perfectly holy, not even able to look upon sin. Unfortunately, God is also perfectly just and must not only separate Himself from sin, but must also punish it. In order to reconcile man to Himself, God, the Father, sent God, the Son, down to earth to live as a man and take our sins upon Himself on the cross. While on the cross, God, the Son, bore the full weight of the wrath of God, the Father, against our sins in order that we who believe in Him might be set free from the curse of our sin. God, the Son, Jesus Christ, died as a propitiation for our sin in order to appease God, the Father's, holy and just character, redeem us from sin, and reconcile those who believe in this gospel to God, the Father. 2) I am primarily writing to those who already believe in this biblical gospel. In other words, this blog is not focused on evangelizing the lost, but edifying believers. 3) I believe that the Christian Bible is the very word of God. Therefore, it is completely inerrant, infallible, sufficient, and authoritative in the life of a believer.
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2 Responses to Like a Stream of Water (part 1) …

  1. Geoff says:

    Fabulous post. I agree with you that the doctrine of God’s utter and unchallenged sovereignty is a key (if not, the central) theological doctrine of God’s personhood in the Bible.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks, babe! I really have you to thank for hanging with our “little man” this morning so that I could complete this post … although, I guess God was sovereign over that too ;-).

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