The Sovereign Power of God: Volume 2 number 8

Israel's enemies raised used by God to accomplish His sovereign purposes:

And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of
Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:
And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and
Elisha the son of Shaphat of abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet
in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of
Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall
Elisha slay. I Kings 19:15-19

"When Hazael comes to be king of Syria, he shall make bloody work among the people (2 Ki. 8:12) and so correct them for their idolatry." 2. "When Jehu comes to be king of Israel he shall make bloody work with the royal family, and shall utterly destroy the house of Ahab, that set up and maintained idolatry." 3. "Elisha, while thou art on earth, shall strengthen thy hands; and, when thou art gone, shall carry on thy work, and be a remaining witness against the apostasy of Israel, and even he shall slay the children of Bethel, that idolatrous city." Note, The wicked are reserved to judgment. Evil pursues sinners, and there is no escaping it; to attempt an escape is but to run from one sword's point upon another. See Jer. 48:44, He that flees from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that gets up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare. Elisha, with the sword of the Spirit, shall terrify and wound the consciences of those who escape Hazael's sword of war and Jehu's sword of justice. With the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked, Isa. 11:4; 2 Th. 2:8; Hos. 6:5. It is a great comfort to good men and good ministers to think that God will never want instruments to do his work in his time, but, when they are gone, others shall be raised up to carry it on.
VI. The comfortable information God gives him of the number of Israelites who retained their integrity, though he thought he was left alone (v. 18): I have left 7000 in Israel (besides Judea) who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Note, 1. In times of the greatest degeneracy and apostasy God has always had, and will have, a remnant faithful to him, some that keep their integrity and do not go down the stream. The apostle mentions this answer of God to Elijah (Rom. 11:4) and applies it to his own day, when the Jews generally rejected the gospel. Yet, says he, at this time also there is a remnant, v. 5. 2. It is God's work to preserve that remnant, and distinguish them from the rest, for without his grace they could not have distinguished themselves: I have left me; it is therefore said to be a remnant according to the election of grace. 3. It is but a little remnant, in comparison with the degenerate race; what are 7000 to the thousands of Israel? Yet, when those of every age come together, they will be found many more, 12,000 sealed out of each tribe, Rev. 7:4. 4. God's faithful ones are often his hidden ones (Ps. 83:3), and the visible church is scarcely visible, the wheat lost in the chaff and the gold in the dross, till the sifting, refining, separating day comes. 5. The Lord knows those that are his, though we do not; he sees in secret. 6. There are more good people in the world than some wise and holy men think there are. Their jealousy of themselves, and for God, makes them think the corruption is universal; but God sees not as they do. When we come to heaven, as we shall miss a great many whom we thought to meet there, so we shall meet a great many whom we little thought to find there. God's love often proves larger than man's charity and more extensive. (102)

In those days the LORD began to send against Judah Rezin the king of
Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah. II Kings 15:37

37. the Lord began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, &c.-This is the first intimation of the hostile feelings of the kings of Israel and Syria, to Judah, which led them to form an alliance and make joint preparations for war. [See on [344]2Ch 27:5.] However, war was not actually waged till the reign of Ahaz. (103)

Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and
join his enemies together; The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and
they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned
away, but his hand is stretched out still. Isa. 9:11,12

God would arm the neighbouring powers against them, v. 11, 12. At this time the kingdom of Israel was in league with that of Syria against Judah; but the Assyrians, who were adversaries to the Syrians, when they had conquered them should invade Israel, and God would stir them up to do it, and join the enemies of Israel together in alliance against them, who yet had particular ends of their own to serve and were not aware of God's hand in their alliance. Note, When enemies are set up, and joined in confederacy against a people, God's hand must be acknowledged in it. Note further, Those that partake with each other in sin, as Syria and Israel in invading Judah, must expect to share in the punishment of sin. Nay, the Syrians themselves, whom they were now in league with, should be a scourge to them (for it is no unusual thing for those to fall out that have been united in sin), one attacking them in the front and the other flanking them or falling upon their rear; so that they should be surrounded with enemies on all sides, who should devour them with open mouth, v. 12. The Philistines were not now looked upon as formidable enemies, and the Syrians were looked upon as firm friends; and yet these shall devour Israel. When men's ways displease the Lord he makes even their friends to be at war with them. (104)

O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. Isa. 10:5

The destruction of the kingdom of Israel by Shalmaneser king of Assyria was foretold in the foregoing chapter, and it had its accomplishment in the sixth year of Hezekiah, 2 Ki. 18:10. It was total and final, head and tail were all cut off. Now the correction of the kingdom of Judah by Sennacherib king of Assyria is foretold in this chapter; and this prediction was fulfilled in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, when that potent prince, encouraged by the successes of his predecessor against the ten tribes, came up against all the fenced cities of Judah and took them, and laid siege to Jerusalem (2 Ki. 18:13, 17), in consequence of which we may well suppose Hezekiah and his kingdom were greatly alarmed, though there was a good work of reformation lately begun among them: but it ended well, in the confusion of the Assyrians and the great encouragement of Hezekiah and his people in their return to God. (105)

And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king
of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve
him. Jer. 27:6

6. beasts of the field-not merely the horses to carry his Chaldean soldiers, and oxen to draw his provisions [Grotius]; not merely the deserts, mountains, and woods, the haunts of wild beasts, implying his unlimited extent of empire [Estius]; but the beasts themselves by a mysterious instinct of nature. A reproof to men that they did not recognize God's will, which the very beasts acknowledged (compare Isa 1:3). As the beasts are to submit to Christ, the Restorer of the dominion over nature, lost by the first Adam (compare Ge 1:28; 2:19, 20; Ps 8:6-8), so they were appointed to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, the representative of the world power and prefigurer of Antichrist; this universal power was suffered to be held by him to show the unfitness of any to wield it "until He come whose right it is" (Eze 21:27). (106)

Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars,
and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots
from beneath. Amos 2:9

And if this daring contempt of the commandments of God was highly reprehensible even in itself, it became perfectly inexcusable if we bear in mind that Israel was indebted to the Lord its God for its elevation into an independent nation, and also for its sacred calling. For this reason, the prophet reminds the people of the manifestations of grace which it had received from its God (Amos 2:9-11). Amos 2:9. "And yet I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and who was strong as the oaks; and I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath. (107)

I have cited over one hundred scripture passages that deal with God's sovereign control over man, and the created realm along with comments from the greatest classical commentators. God controls even seemingly chance events. God's sovereign control even extends to man's heart. God not only knows the future, He controls the future. There is a vast difference between the teaching of scripture and the beliefs of the Arminian system. The Christian will be able to rejoice with the Psalmist by saying: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path". The Arminian needs to forsake his rationalism. It is exceedingly sinful to bring God's word before, and hold it accountable to, the judgment seat of human reason. This is idolatry. We will now begin to look at some particulars of soteriology or the system of salvation.

Notes:

102. Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, Fourth printing 1985) p. 513.
103. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 281.
104. Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, Fourth printing 1985) p. 1097.
105. Matthew Henry, p. 1098.
106. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, p. 629.
107. Keil-Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament Minor Prophets, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprinted 1985), p.254, 255.

Read the previous parts of this series to date @

Mr. Kettler is an ordained Presbyterian Elder and the owner of the http://www.Undergroundnotes.com web site where his theological, philosophical and political articles can be read. He has worked in corporate America for over 30 years. Mr. Kettler can be contacted by e-mail at: jack@kettlerwellness.com

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Jack Kettler
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