Of Nations and Individuals

Finished up in Jeremiah this morning. Continued reading in John. And I’m in wonder at a couple of “folds” in the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10).

Over the final chapters of Jeremiah, God is clearly portrayed as sovereign over nations. Not only does He deal with the rebellion of His own called-out people, but also, through the prophet, He exercises His authority and power to judge, at will, those nations that have set themselves as enemies of Israel and in opposition to God. Using one nation to humble another, God moves freely over entire people groups. Setting boundaries and limits, He permits tribes to come thus far, and no farther. He ordains great armies to conquer, for a time, without restraint, and then, humbles them as a more powerful nation is allowed to expand their borders.

You read these final chapters of Jeremiah and you can’t help but see a BIG God. The LORD of ALL the earth! Enthroned in heaven, but ordaining the movement of nations as He purposes. Out of sight, perhaps, but not out of control–His fingerprints all over the shifting geopolitical maps of the day. A BIG God. God of the nations.

For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; He is highly exalted!

(Psalm 47:7-9 ESV)

And then I read this and remember that He is not only the God who rules over nations, but a God who is also intricately involved with individuals.

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”    ~ Jesus

(John 6:44 ESV)

No one . . . Not a single individual . . . No man . . . No woman . . . No boy . . . No girl . . . Not even one person . . . No one comes to Jesus unless the Father has specifically, and individually, drawn them.

If God’s got the whole world in His hands, then what are His fine motor skills like, that He can move one human being? How acute is His attention? How precisely can He work His fingers? That He can select out one in billions and move them toward the Savior? A BIG God able to move the heart of the most minute person. Our God is the God over nations, to be sure. But our God is also the God who descends to move among individuals.

Ok, that starts the Awe-O-Meter moving to the right. And then, make it personal, and it’s off the scale.

The God revealed by Jeremiah as sovereign over the Egyptians and the Philistines; the God who rules overs the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Edomites; the God who wields mighty Babylon as His own personal sword and then, when His work is accomplished, sheaths it with humiliating defeat itself; this great and awesome God, is the same God who moved me to behold the cross. Who opened my eyes, and made new my heart, that I might understand the depth and danger of my sin and believe that, in Jesus, there could be redemption and victory. Who begun a work in my life, promising me that He will complete it. Who has reserved an inheritance in heaven with my name on it, to be received when I am called home and gather with other individuals from all of time who have been drawn, one by one, to saving faith, just as I have been.

Unbelievable! Yet true!

How about those folds in the manifold wisdom of God?

A BIG God. But a God who draws small people to His Son.

God of the nations, God of the individual.

Such is the wonder of grace. To Him be all the glory!

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