“And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.”
It’s only when we remember this and respond to Him in love and childlike faith that we discover the heart of Jesus.
The sovereignty of God.
Has there ever been any Bible doctrine, other than the Trinity, more difficult for us to understand (and accept)? Assuredly, other “mysteries” in His Word—the virgin birth, the Incarnation (“the Word made flesh”), Jesus’ sinless Atonement, the Resurrection, etc.—are truly “beyond” us.
But, none of them perplex and distress us more than this one.
Some conclude His sovereignty is ironclad and He predetermines “before the foundations of the earth” who will be saved and who will be lost. Others stress man’s free will and how it’s basically up to us to “get it right” by choosing the right road to follow, the right foundation upon which to build, etc. And, then there are those who refuse to grapple with it at all, adopting a fatalistic attitude of “Que, sere, sere—whatever will be, will be.”
Thus, the question is “Which one is right?”
Next question. J
If all we had to draw upon is today’s Manna, we would immediately respond “God’s sovereignty is His doing what He wants when He wants to do it. See—it says very plainly ‘He opened her (Leah) womb, but Rachel was barren.’ And, when you throw in passages like ‘But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart’ (Ex. 7:3, 13; 10:20, 27; 11:10; 14:4; cf. Rom. 9:6-29; Eph. 1:3-21), it’s clear that He causes everything that happens.”
But, what about “two trees, two roads and two foundations” (Gen. 2:9, 16-17; Mt. 7:13-14, 24-27) and the call to choose (Dt. 30:15-20; Josh. 24:15; Heb. 3:7)?
No wonder Augustine said our trying to understand God’s sovereignty is as futile (and frustrating) as trying to pour the ocean in a hole on the seashore with a seashell.
Yet, in Christ “the Mystery is revealed” (Eph. 1:9-12, 17-23).
Although His “thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways, for they are much higher” (Is. 55:8-9), He still has revealed to us that His desires for us have never changed since before creation. It wasn’t His will for Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit; yet, because He gave them the ability to choose, He “determined beforehand” (“predestined, foreordained”) that there’d have to be “the shedding of blood for the remission of sin” (Heb. 9:22b) for us to be forgiven.
Thus, His covering Adam and Eve’s nakedness with “coats of skin” (Gen. 3:21) was a picture of His coming “Lamb Who’d take away the sins of the world” (Jn. 1:29). And, even though everything that happens is not CAUSED by Him (e.g., Job’s suffering), we must still remember that nothing happens apart from His permission or direction. The Lord knew Rachel’s condescending attitude toward her plain-looking sister. He knew she’d “envy Leah when she started baring children and would blame Jacob for it” (Gen. 30:1). But, in her barrenness she realized He is God and later gave her the desires of her heart (Gen. 30:22-23). Trust Him.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated April 12, 2010