What God has Bent

“Look at the work of God: for who is able to straighten that which he has perpetually bent? On a good day be in good spirits; on an evil day contemplative — the one and the other are made by God; with regards to this, a man can find out nothing of what comes after it.”

(Ecclesiastes 7:13-14)

God is sovereign even over the evil day. Too often I hear apologists arguing that darkness is but the absence of light, so evil is just the absence of God’s presence. That argument, of course, begs the question as to where is God when the evil things come? 

The Bible presents a much clearer explanation. God brought it about. Indeed, God has good purposes and not malevolent purposes in the evil day, but nonetheless, God brings about the evil day — as Solomon says, “God made it.” In fact, God himself declares the same (Isaiah 45:7). And, as Solomon continues, man stands befuddled as to what is coming next more often than not.

There is an additional spiritual application of these words if we are willing to apply the text to the soul of man. For indeed, while there are some whom God has elected to life, there are others whom God has predestined for eternal condemnation. And what man is able to “unbend” that which God has bent? What man can deliver another man from his rightful eternal judgment? We live in a world dominated with a decision-based theology — “the work is done for you, all you need to do is to choose life!” Yet, is this Biblical? The Bible says that those who were appointed to eternal life believed (Acts 13:48), it does not say that those who believed were appointed to eternal life.

No man can unbend that which God has eternally ordained to be bent. At the same time, those whom God has elected to straighten — who can stop God’s hand? Oh how he is sovereign both in our salvation and in our sanctification. No man can undo, frustrate, or even speed up the hand of God and no man can add himself to the number of the elect by a force of their own will. God raises up and tears down and what man can know the designs of our almighty God (which is why we evangelize all — we do not know who are and who are not God’s elect).

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