Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Driving the nation into repentance

From today’s scripture reading:

The LORD Almighty has sworn this oath: “It will all happen as I have planned. It will come about according to my purposes. I will break the Assyrians when they are in Israel; I will trample them on my mountains. My people will no longer be their slaves. I have a plan for the whole earth, for my mighty power reaches throughout the world. The LORD Almighty has spoken— who can change his plans? When his hand moves, who can stop him?”

Isaiah 14:24-27

From today’s devotional:

God is sovereign. This means that He is the supreme authority over everything, including sin and its consequences. Yet He doesn’t cause anyone to sin—to do so would violate His righteous and holy nature. The Lord does, however, allow temptation to enter our lives. And since we have free will and the Holy Spirit, we can decide how to respond and are fully equipped to resist. Thankfully, He retains ultimate control and weaves the consequences of our actions in accordance with His purposes.

Sometimes God permits our sin to run its full course. For instance, when the Israelites refused to turn away from their disobedience, He “gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, to walk in their own devices” (Psalms 81:12). Without divine protection, the nation succumbed to corrupt influences and ultimately was overrun. The Lord could have sheltered them, but the consequences drove the Israelites into repentance, which was His original plan.

Conversely, God will sometimes put an immediate halt to sin. Such was the case when King Abimelech took Abraham’s wife to himself. The king had been misled by the couple and was not aware that he was about to commit a sin. But the Lord knew of the deception, and He intervened (Genesis 20:1-6).

Of course, the wisest plan is to obey fully so God never has to use either of these tactics. Temptation is inevitable, but sin is not. The Lord’s sovereignty over our life means that any temptation must first pass through His permissive will. In this way, He makes sure His children are never tempted beyond what they can resist (1 Corinthians 10:13).

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