Today’s reading: Judg 9:22–10:18, Phil 2:19–30, Ps 68:1–14
Today’s theme: God is Sovereign
Today we see that despite the schemes of man, God remains sovereign to the full extent of the word. In light of His full control over our lives and situations, we can boldly seek to humbly serve others like Epaphroditus, knowing that God will grant us ultimate victory in the battle.
God is Sovereign
Thus God returned the evil of Abimelech, which he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers. And God also made all the evil of the men of Shechem return on their heads, and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal. Judges 9:56–57 (ESV)
The account of Gideon and his children ends with a clear lesson, God is Sovereign. God was in control brining to pass the prophecy of Jotham. It was not random chance or the scheming wills of man, it was God exercising His kingship over the people by directing events to His purpose.
Here are some useful things to consider as we think about God’s sovereignty:
The English term sovereignty points to a person or political entity exercising supreme power over the whole area of their jurisdiction, enjoying full autonomy with no rivals. When applied to God, we see His complete power over all creation so that He exercises His will absolutely, without any necessary conditioning by men.
The main metaphor used in the bible to speak of God’s sovereignty is that of “ruler (king) and subject.” The doxologies (praises to God) and prophetic exclamations show this best, examples include: 1 Timothy 1:17, Daniel 4:25, Jeremiah 10:10 and Romans 9:19–21*
*Silva, M., & Tenney, M. C. (2009). In The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, Q-Z (Revised, Full-Color Edition., Vol. 5). Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corporation.
The example of Epaphroditus
So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. Philippians 2:29–30 (ESV)
Timothy and Epaphroditus are given as clear examples of the humble, service-centred lives that God is calling us to work out as believers, and this has been Paul’s point for this entire chapter. We do not hear much more about Epaphroditus but we can see elements in his service that we should seek to emulate.
One of these things was the willingness to risk his own life, he laid his life on the line for the sake of the Gospel. Usually risk is thought of as a bad thing, but as Christians we are called to live lives that are fully devoted to God and His kingdom. This means we need to be willing to take risks and risk our own comfort and the approval of society, as we serve God’s purpose in humility, using the energy God has given us to work to His glory.
We must avoid the trap of living safe lives as Christians, we are called to risk it all for the glory of God, knowing that the risk is from our own perspective, as God’s promises are sure. This is a call to exercise our faith as we serve God.
Victorious in battle
God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him! Psalm 68:1 (ESV)
God the sovereign King is victorious in battle, we can use this verse when we pray.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Philippians 2