Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 12, 2016

“The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.”

Today’s devotion comes from Proverbs 16:1-17.

“The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
But the Lord weighs the motives.
3 Commit your works to the Lord
And your plans will be established.
The Lord has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked for the day of evil.
5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.
6 By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for,
And by the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil.
7 When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
8 Better is a little with righteousness
Than great income with injustice.
9 The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
10 A divine decision is in the lips of the king;
His mouth should not err in judgment.
11 A just balance and scales belong to the Lord;
All the weights of the bag are His concern.
12 It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts,
For a throne is established on righteousness.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings,
And he who speaks right is loved.
14 The fury of a king is like messengers of death,
But a wise man will appease it.
15 In the light of a king’s face is life,
And his favor is like a cloud with the spring rain.
16 How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil;
He who watches his way preserves his life.”  Proverbs 16:1-17.

——————————–

Other doctrine tries to limit God’s sovereignty claiming that God is certainly not sovereign over man’s alleged free-will.
 
But, Reformed Doctrine recognizes that Scripture shows that the LORD is sovereign over all.

“The Lord has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked for the day of evil.”  Verse 4.

Scripture compares the LORD to a potter. 

“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—
An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth!
Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’
Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?”  Isaiah 45:9.

“Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?”  Romans 9:22.

The LORD made vessels of wrath (the wicked) and vessels of mercy (the righteous).

“What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?  And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.  As He says also in Hosea,

“I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’
And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’”
“And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”  Romans 9:22-26.

The LORD is totally sovereign, choosing those on whom he will have mercy as vessels of mercy and also choosing those whom he will harden as vessels of wrath.

“For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.  Romans 9:15-16.

“So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”  Romans 9:18.

The LORD has purpose for the vessels of wrath that he created.  Not only do such vessels of wrath have the purpose of showing the sharpest contrast between them and vessels of mercy as quoted before in Romans 9:22-26, the LORD may create and even raise up vessels of wrath to demonstrate His power and to preserve His people.  

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.”  Romans 9:17.

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”  Genesis 50:20.

The LORD exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth for He delights in these things.

“Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;  but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth;  for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.”  Jeremiah 9:23-24.

And, for those who do not like God’s sovereignty, be warned.

“2 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”  Psalm 2:2-9.

“But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”  Luke 19:27.


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