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The Rev. William Klock: “If God is sovereign, how should we live?”

August 26, 2006

In a most excellent sermon in his series on the Book of Genesis, the Rev. William Klock of Christ Church REC in Oregon asks the question If God is sovereign, how should we live? This sermon is based on Genesis 27:41-28:9 and looks at the outcome of Jacob’s stealing of the blessing due Esau:

Isaac and his family could have lived in God’s Providence, as willing and ready instruments, and found themselves satisfied to do God’s will, but instead they chose to be his agents, using sinful means to accomplish their own plans. The ironic thing is that they never did cease to be instruments, they just thought more highly of themselves than they had a right to. In the end God still accomplished his will in spite of them, but the outcome was much worse for them than had they done what they should have. This week’s lesson shows us the fallout and teaches us some lessons about God’s planning.

Fr. Klock goes on to look at the referenced Scripture passage and the events chronicled therein–and his summary of the lesson to be drawn from this passage is most apt:

This week’s lesson builds on last week’s lesson of God’s sovereignty. If God reigns over all things, then we also know that the life of every man and woman is a plan of God. God had a profound plan for Jacob’s life, and that plan couldn’t be stopped or thwarted by either Isaac’s plan to take his blessing away or by Esau’s murderous rage. But God’s plan was also being worked out providentially and was not in need of Rebekah’s dishonest scheming to bring it about. Knowing that each of our lives, no matter how mundane they may seem, is a plan of God should give our lives a sense of dignity and peace and should encourage us to seek out God’s plan for our lives. In fact, I think it’s both our duty and our privilege to do just that.

But in seeking God’s plans we need to set our sights high. We tend to think in light of our limitations. I don’t think we give God as much credit as he deserves, because with God behind us we’re capable of doing much more than we think we can. We also need to realise that the Body of Christ is more than each one of us. A hammer might not think it’s job is very important as his owner uses him to pound nails all day long, while never realising that those nails are holding together lumber that forms the structure of a grand and glorious mansion. Rebekah’s motives in sending Jacob away weren’t very high – she just wanted him to escape his brother’s anger – but God has a life changing journey in plan for him. God’s ways are higher than our ways, and the best thing we can do is to let God lift our eyes up and show us his ways and enable us to fulfil his purpose for us.

But as we seek God’s will, there are two things we need to do. We have to trust him and we have to obey him. Trusting God is always what leads us to spiritual insight. God shows himself to trusting and loving hearts. But spiritual insight is also connected to faithful obedience. God teaches us as we follow him faithfully and obediently. With each step we come to know him more and with each step he builds confidence – greater faith – in us, to follow him another step further. As the Psalmist said, “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant” (Psalm 25:14).

Let us truly seek to trust God and to obey Him–it is surely no simple coincidence that much of what we have read this week from these faithful ministers has been on the subject of trusting God!

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