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“Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the LORD spreading abroad. If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the LORD to put them to death.” – 1 Samuel 2:22-25

Oh the deep and wonderful mystery of God’s sovereignty and man’s free choices. We see it so clearly in this passage. Eli’s sons were making free, sinful choices. They weren’t being forced, not having their arm twisted in any way. Their was no divine coercion at work here. They were doing exactly what they wanted, giving into their wicked desires.

Yet we also see that God sovereignly ordained these choices. God willed that Eli’s sons rebel against Him, and He willed to put them to death. It wasn’t as if God was acting as a master chess player, reacting to the wickedness of Eli’s sons and then using their actions for His plans. No, God sovereignly ordained their sinful choices to fulfill His sovereign plans.

What a beautiful, mind-blowing mystery. Each one of my actions is free and of my own decision. And each one of my actions is ordained by God. I choose, yet God wills. How can such a thing be? Only an infinitely wise God could being these two together. My mind simply cannot grasp such deep and glorious truths.

When we see God’s wisdom and sovereignty so clearly displayed, the only proper response is worship. How wise and good our God must be! As our reason falters in the face of divine sovereignty and man’s free will, let’s praise our infinitely wise God.
-Stephen Altrogge