Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 23, 2016

“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

Today’s devotion comes from Proverbs 21:1-15.

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord;
He turns it wherever He wishes.
2 Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts.
3 To do righteousness and justice
Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.
4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
The lamp of the wicked, is sin.
5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage,
But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.
6 The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue
Is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death.
7 The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
Because they refuse to act with justice.
8 The way of a guilty man is crooked,
But as for the pure, his conduct is upright.
9 It is better to live in a corner of a roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
10 The soul of the wicked desires evil;
His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.
11 When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise;
But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.
12 The righteous one considers the house of the wicked,
Turning the wicked to ruin.
13 He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be answered.
14 A gift in secret subdues anger,
And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
15 The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous,
But is terror to the workers of iniquity.”  Proverbs 21:1-15.

———————————-

“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord;
He turns it wherever He wishes.”  Verse 1.

If the LORD can turn a king’s heart wherever He wishes, how much more can He turn everyone else’s heart!
 
Verse 1 thrusts a sword in the heart of alleged free-will. 
 
Yet, other doctrine continues to be based on the false notion that man has free-will.

But, Reformed Doctrine summarizes that God is sovereign over all like a potter controls all the clay.

“You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault?  For who resists His will?”  On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?  The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?  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 9:19-21.

“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.  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.”  So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”  Romans 9:15-18.

For those whom God hardens, they are captive to “… the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”  2 Timothy 2:26.

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”  Ephesians 2:1-2.

“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  …  You are doing the deeds of your father.”  They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication;  we have one Father:  God.”  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.  Why do you not understand what I am saying?  It is because you cannot hear My word.  You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.  …”  John 8:34 and 41-44.

But, there is hope for God’s elect on whom God desires to show mercy!
 
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:4-10.

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;  and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”  Ezekiel 36:26-27.

“But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”  John 6:17-18.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God;  you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  1 Peter 2:9-10.

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36.

Here is what the Canons of Dordt state in part in THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof.
 
Article 1.  Man was originally formed after the image of God. His understanding was adorned with a true and saving knowledge of his Creator, and of spiritual things;  his heart and will were upright;  all his affections pure;  and the whole man was holy;  but revolting from God by the instigation of the devil, and abusing the freedom of his own will, he forfeited these excellent gifts;  and on the contrary entailed on himself blindness of mind, horrible darkness, vanity and perverseness of judgment, became wicked, rebellious, and obdurate in heart and will, and impure in his affections.
 
Article 2.  Man after the fall begat children in his own likeness.  A corrupt stock produced a corrupt offspring.  Hence all the posterity of Adam, Christ only excepted, have derived corruption from their original parent, not by imitation, as the Pelagians of old asserted, but by the propagation of a vicious nature.

Article 3.  Therefore all men are conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, incapable of saving good, prone to evil, dead in sin, and in bondage thereto, and without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, they are neither able nor willing to return to God, to reform the depravity of their nature, nor to dispose themselves to reformation.

Article 10.  But that others who are called by the gospel, obey the call, and are converted, is not to be ascribed to the proper exercise of free will, whereby one distinguishes himself above others, equally furnished with grace sufficient for faith and conversions, as the proud heresy of Pelagius maintains;  but it must be wholly ascribed to God, who as he has chosen his own from eternity in Christ, so he confers upon them faith and repentance, rescues them from the power of darkness, and translates them into the kingdom of his own Son, that they may show forth the praises of him, who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light;  and may glory not in themselves, but in the Lord according to the testimony of the apostles in various places.

Article 11.  But when God accomplishes his good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion, he not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illumines their minds by his Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God;  but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pervades the inmost recesses of the man;  he opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, he quickens;   from being evil, disobedient and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable;  actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.

Article 12.  And this is the regeneration so highly celebrated in Scripture, and denominated a new creation:  a resurrection from the dead, a making alive, which God works in us without our aid.  But this is in no wise effected merely by the external preaching of the gospel, by moral suasion, or such a mode of operation, that after God has performed his part, it still remains in the power of man to be regenerated or not, to be converted, or to continue unconverted; but it is evidently a supernatural work, most powerful, and at the same time most delightful, astonishing, mysterious, and ineffable;  not inferior in efficacy to creation, or the resurrection from the dead, as the Scripture inspired by the author of this work declares;  so that all in whose heart God works in this marvelous manner, are certainly, infallibly, and effectually regenerated, and do actually believe.  – Whereupon the will thus renewed, is not only actuated and influenced by God, but in consequence of this influence, becomes itself active.  Wherefore also, man is himself rightly said to believe and repent, by virtue of that grace received.

Article 13.  The manner of this operation cannot be fully comprehended by believers in this life.  Notwithstanding which, they rest satisfied with knowing and experiencing, that by this grace of God they are enabled to believe with the heart, and love their Savior.

Article 14.  Faith is therefore to be considered as the gift of God, not on account of its being offered by God to man, to be accepted or rejected at his pleasure;  but because it is in reality conferred, breathed, and infused into him;  or even because God bestows the power or ability to believe, and then expects that man should by the exercise of his own free will, consent to the terms of that salvation, and actually believe in Christ;  but because he who works in man both to will and to do, and indeed all things in all, produces both the will to believe, and the act of believing also.

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