Yes, we know that the Lord decrees whatsoever comes to pass. And yes, we know that the Lord controls all things. The Lord is sovereign; he perfectly plans and perfectly performs all his holy will. He is never found gambling. He is never found surprised. He is never frustrated. He is never found sitting back and contemplating his next move; he is God. Our Creator sees the end from the beginning because he is the Alpha and Omega of all things. In him all things have been created. In him all things continue to exist, move, and are held together. He is the mover of devils, nations, kings, insects, dinosaurs, and storms. And he is the mover of the hearts and intentions of men. God starts the good work of salvation within an individual, and he is the one who brings it to completion. He is the God of foreknowing love, gracious selection, full atonement, and regeneration. He is the bestower of repentance and faith; he justifies, adopts, sanctifies, and glorifies. Yes, God is sovereign over all, including the relationship between himself and his creatures.
And yet, the God who sovereignly saves, presents himself as one waiting for men to respond:
Isaiah 30:18-19 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.
God waited for Israel to repent. He longed to show grace and mercy to his rebellious and disciplined people. He promised to remove their tears and bless them if they would wait on him. All they needed to do was to cry, and he promised to graciously hear and respond.
Therefore friends, I know it becomes difficult to understand the divine attributes of God. And I know it becomes difficult to reconcile the sovereignty of God with the willing responsibility of men. But here is my admonition to you today:
Do not use your understanding of God’s sovereignty, or your questions of how God’s sovereignty fits with man’s responsibility, to be an excuse for your continued rebellion and misery.
The same is true for you. If you turn today, God will hear and respond. He waits to shower us with mercy and grace. What will we do? What decision will we make? Will we continue to grieve the Spirit now, or will we turn and be spiritually blessed?