The Buck Stops Here, Part 4

The story of Joseph reveals God’s sovereign power was behind everything at the end of the story. In Isaiah 45:1-7, God shows His sovereign power is behind everything before it happens.

This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.

In this passage, God demonstrates His sovereignty by declaring the future. Cyrus was the King of Persia who brought His judgment on the empire of Babylon and sent His people back to Israel from exile to rebuild His Temple. He is speaking about events that will not take place for more than 175 years! The exile was still over a century away! How many decisions and events did God need to know about, and know for certain, in order to announce with confidence the name, station and decrees of a man who would not even be born for another century and a half?

When God’s sovereignty is revealed in such stark clarity—that even our choices are under His sovereignty, our first reaction is to cry out against it. Isaiah 45:9-13 (NLTse) God continues saying,

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’ How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father, ‘Why was I born?’ or if it said to its mother, ‘Why did you make me this way?'” This is what the LORD says–the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: “Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands? I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command. I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people–without seeking a reward! I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”

If God decides to use Joseph’s brothers’ malice and greed to sell Joseph into slavery, we have no right to object. If God decides that the most effective way to build and mold the humility, wisdom, and dependence on Him that Joseph needed to be the right person at the right time to save the known world from famine, was to make him a slave, have him accused of rape, and spend years in prison, we have no right to object. If God decides to free His people from exile by using a pagan king from a foreign nation and not one of His own people, we have no right to object. It is with Him that the buck stops, and God never passes the buck to anyone else.

God is sovereign. He is The
Sovereign. He created the universe by Himself, for Himself, and governs it for His own glory. His authority and power are absolute. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without His permission, and even the very hairs of your head are numbered. Nothing happens without His permission and nothing happens that does not end up serving His purposes. Our God is in the heavens; and He does whatever He pleases. The Bible is very clear—the buck stops with Him.

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