God’s Sovereign Good Pleasure

God’s Sovereign Good Pleasure

by Bob Burridge ©2011

Psalm 135:6, “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.”

This verse uses the word “Jehovah’ where translations have “LORD”. It’s the four-letter Hebrew word “yhvh” (יהוה), the covenant name of God.

This verse doesn’t only begin by assuming the fact that there is a God, it tells us that he is really in charge, and is able to do anything he pleases — and he does. He is infinite in his power and ability.

We are used to not getting our way all the time. We have the power to do some things we want. However, we don’t have the ability to always control things so that we always get what we intend or prefer, and we don’t always want what’s good.

We say a child is spoiled if he is trained to always expect to get what he wants. He becomes self-centered and inconsiderate of the needs of others. It is tragic when a child is so indulged that we create a selfish adult.

In contrast, God’s ability to do all he wants is joined with his perfect and infinite compassion and wisdom. His glory is shown in his love for those he purposed to redeem.

humans were not made to be slaves to carry out God’s plan like mindless robots. He created us to be the custodians of his creation, and bearers of his image with attributes that, though finite, reflect his ability to reason, and to make moral decisions. His pleasure included his coming as Savior to redeem unworthy sinners. He justly redeems us from out guilt by becoming the sin-bearer for those loved before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Our Redeemer never fails to care for his children.

Some don’t like this teaching of Scripture. They make up theories to get around it. Some say that God voluntarily gave up part of his Sovereignty to give us a free will. Some say that free will was the unknown factor in God’s creation. Such theories make no logical sense. They can not be made to agree with direct statements of the Bible. None of these ideas allow for a God who is really infinite in his power, and unchangeable in his perfections and judgments.

The idea of free will is very confusing to the unbeliever. We are free to will whatever we want. The problem is that our desires are blinded and bound by sin so we will never want what’s truly God-honoring. And we are finite, so we can not know enough to be sure that what we want is really best, and even if we did, we don’t have the power to make it happen. What we want is as much a part of God’s decree as is the final outcome of our decisions and actions.

God, on the other hand, does all his holy will (as the children’s catechism puts it), and he does it everywhere all the time.

This is not just taught in Psalm 135. It is a lesson which is the fiber of all the rest of what God makes know to us in his written word.

Psalm 115:3 says, “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”

In Job 42:2 Job learned to cry out to God saying, “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.” or as the NASB translates that last part. ” …no purpose of Thine can be thwarted.”

In Isaiah 14:24 God says, “… Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, And as I have purposed, so it shall stand.”

In verse 27 the prophet said, “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, And who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, And who will turn it back?”

We are very encouraged and comforted to know that God’s perfect plan will be carried out, and that the plan is perfectly good.

(Note: The Bible quotations in this article are from the King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.)

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About Bob Burridge

I've taught Science, Bible, Math, Computer Programming and served 25 years as Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Pinellas Park, Florida. I'm now Executive Director of the ministry of the Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies

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