Do you hope in statistics or sovereignty?

by Bethany

Today’s Readings: Lamentations 2, Psalm 33

All of us want something – the unemployed want a job, the barren want a baby, the sick want a cure, the single want a spouse.  Why doesn’t God provide these things?

God is not limited by our plans.

Some of us think that He can’t provide because we’ve messed things up.  Perhaps I’d be married if I had moved to Dallas instead of New York? We question every past decision and wonder how we got on Plan B.

But God is not limited by our plans or purposes.  As David wrote, “The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” [1]

No decision you have made or will make can thwart what God has planned.  He redeems all of our mistaken and bad decisions.  Even our evil purposes are subject to His power and sovereignty [2].

God is not limited by our resources or statistics.

We’re also tempted to think that our resources and statistics limit God.  Can God bring me a man to marry? Statistically, the likelihood is extremely small [3].  Add my other criteria – heterosexual, godly, smart, tall and compatible – and it seems more likely that I’d find a rent-controlled five-bedroom brownstone on Park Avenue.

Yet, our resources or statistics do not limit God.  The same God who raised the dead lives today.  In fact, we must take care to avoid trusting in favorable resources and statistics because they are false and deceptive hopes: “No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all his strength it cannot save.” [4]

God gets more glory when He works with depleted resources or abysmal statistics because it highlights His power and majesty. [5]

God is limited only by His own character.

The only thing that limits God is His own character and the voluntary promises that He has made to His people: “But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.” [6]

For what are you longing?  How have your plans, resources or statistics limited your ability to experience God’s power and character in your life?

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[1]  Psalm 33:10-11 TNIV   |  [2]  When Joseph’s brothers threw him in a cistern and then sold him into slavery, they intended to hurt him.  Yet, Joseph rose to become a high-ranking official in the Egyptian government and was in the position to save his family from famine.  When his brothers sheepishly approached him for help, Joseph responded, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20 TNIV).  This, of course, is a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ whom the authorities killed for evil purposes but whose death accomplished the salvation for all who would trust in Him.   |  [3] A singles map of the United States of America, Boston.com (30 March 2008), reporting on the National Geographic story that noted, among other things, there are 210,820 more single women than men in New York City metro area.  |  [4] Psalm 33:16-17 TNIV   |  [5]  When Elijah asked Israel, “How long will you waver between two opinions?  If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him,” he challenged the 450 prophets of Baal to a contest.  Both camps took wood and asked for fire from heaven.  The Baal prophets shouted and cut themselves, but their wood was never ignited.  Elijah, on the other hand, soaked his wood three times and then prayed.  The fire consumed everything that surrounded the wood.  In response, the people exclaimed, “The LORD – he is God!  The LORD – he is God!” (1 Kings 18 TNIV).  |  [6] Psalm 33:18-19 NIV

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2 Comments to “Do you hope in statistics or sovereignty?”

  1. So profound yet so simple. And of course, so encouraging.

  2. love it. thank you for this very important reminder.

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