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“The Manifold Wisdom of God”
“The Wrath of Man Shall Praise Thee” — (Psalm 76:10)
Is there any explanation for the existence of evil? Why did the holy Lord God allow sin to enter into and mar his creation? Why would a holy God permit sin to exist? Did he merely allow it? Did he merely permit it? Or, did he decree it, predestine it, order it, and ordain it? Either he could not prevent it, which is absurd, or he was determined to overrule it for good.
What does God say about this matter? James tells us plainly that “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Yet, the Scriptures clearly assert God’s absolute control of all evil and display his wisdom and grace in using evil in the accomplishment of redemption (Isaiah 45:5-7; Proverbs 16:4; Psalm 76:10).
The evil that is in man is in all things absolutely controlled by God. The evil deeds of men are sovereignly overruled by God and made to work for his praise. And the evil designs, desires, and intentions in men, which God will not use for his own praise, he sovereignly restrains.
Do you see how great our God is? — With great sovereignty and infinite wisdom, he ordained that sin and evil and wrath enter into and mar his creation that he might overrule it to show forth the great glory and magnificence of his own Being in the accomplishment of our redemption by Christ Jesus! — And the evil which he will not use for his own praise, he will not allow. To put it in the words of the puritan, Thomas Manton, “God many times gets up in the world on Satan’s shoulders.”
“Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” — The Scriptures give us many clear and instructive illustrations of that fact.
· God sent Satan to afflict Job so that Job might praise him (Job 1-2). But he would not allow Satan to destroy Job.
· God ordained Joseph’s brothers to sell him into Egyptian slavery (Genesis 50:19-20). But he would not allow them to kill their brother. —— That Israel might be brought down to Egypt. —— That they might be bondmen for 400 years. —— That he might glorify himself in the deliverance of his people. Had Joseph’s brothers not sold him into slavery, Israel would never have gone into Egypt, Moses would never have become a deliverer, the Passover would never have been kept, and Israel would have never crossed the Red Sea.
· God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and Pharaoh afflicted, persecuted, and tormented his church, that he might show forth his greatness, his power, and his glory in the overthrow of the mighty Egyptian monarch (Exodus 9:16; 18:11).
· And God foreordained that the Jews and Romans crucify his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that he might by the death of his Son accomplish our redemption (Acts 2:23).
“Of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever! Amen.”