Striving Where He is Sovereign
Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the LORD have created it. Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, “What are you making?” or “Your work has no handles?" Woe to him who says to a father, “What are you begetting?” or to a woman, “With what are you in labor?” —Isaiah 45:8-10
Here are two daily realities: God saves and God sanctifies. In chapter 45, Isaiah declares, “
The fact that you are not on the broad road leading to destruction is a sovereign act of your heavenly Father. Certainly, you made the choice. . .but somehow in all of the circumstances surrounding your choice, God was completely in control. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). In His grace, God sovereignly chose to set His love upon you—but it doesn’t stop there.
God is also sovereign in sanctification. This is where the rub really comes. Read Isaiah 45:8-10 again. God is pronouncing a judgment: “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him” (v.9).
What exactly is striving with God? In verses 9-10, He offers us two illustrations: a pot questioning its maker and an observer questioning what is being produced by the union of two parents. Imagine if a husband and wife were in a delivery room and just after they had their baby, someone came in asking “What is that!?" Or if all of a sudden, a potter's vessel came alive and said, “I don’t want to have a handle there! What are you making!?”
These outlandish pictures affirm the process of sanctification, by which God takes converted sinners and makes them righteous. If you are in Christ, that’s the program you’re on! God is sanctifying you—He is changing you.
With regard to your faith, this is where the rubber meets the road. Are you going to fight Him and resist? Will you spend your whole life wondering why you can’t live someone else’s? Or will you submit to God as the sovereign Lord of your life?
"Cease striving and know that He is God" (Psalm 46:10). Embrace your situation as something He has sovereignly allowed. Meditate on and obey His Word. Trust that God is for you. Indeed, He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him—and even now, God is conforming you to the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-31)! Rest in the truth that His eternal purposes will prevail, "that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit" (v.8).
- Where are the friction points in your life when it comes to embracing what God has allowed for His glory?
- What is your plan to overcome them?
Lord, I praise You for the obvious reality of Your sovereignty in my life. I thank You for Your love in always doing what’s best for me, even when I can’t see it. Train me to be quick to recognize Your hand at work, even in the hard places of life. Open my eyes to see Your glory—always present, beyond the distractions of immediate circumstances. In Jesus’ great name I pray, Amen.
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