“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)
I would ask you to contemplate something with me here that I myself have not completely been led to understand yet, and I am not sure anyone ever has yet. The Pharisee was standing at the same wall as the publican, praying to the same God, both with the full knowledge that the Almighty is Sovereign in the lives of not only mankind, but all His creation. “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” (Isaiah 46:10)
Consider this though, one was thanking the Lord, pridefully I believe I can add here, for not making him like the one who was next to him, who was asking him to be merciful to him. Both understood one thing, that they were as they were because that is how the Almighty wanted them to be, at least positionally.
This then is what I would ask you to ponder, did the Lord God make one a publican and the other a Pharisee, and I will add one of our brothers into this equation for your consideration, did the Most High place Lazarus at the rich man’s gate in the condition he was in?
“Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:3) Born blind and left in that condition for over thirty years.
Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jer. 1:5)
Judas Iscariot, “The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.” (Mark 14:21)
To the twelve, and one of them a betrayer, He said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)
How close to the truth was the Pharisee when he said, “Thank you for not making me like this man?”
“For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” (Romans 9:17) The same was said about Nebuchadnezzar.
I am not attempting to negate or compromise the free will of man nor overexert the Sovereignty of the living God as to man’s free will, only to bring up this question, who is in charge of your life?
“Submit yourselves therefore to God.” (James 4:7)
“For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Romans 9:15)
Does the foreknowledge of the Most High infer His intermeddling, if you will, with the path of a man’s life, modified to suit His will for His glory?
If we take into account just these few examples here, the answer can be no less than a resounding yes, He does. But then where does that leave free will?
All who have been crucified with Christ rejoice in the knowledge that He is directing our path, yet would they rejoice in that knowledge if they knew they had no choice in the matter?
The man who was born blind and left in that state for many years, did he feel a twinge of, shall we use the word anger, that God had made him so for so long before the Lord Jesus Christ healed him? Did Judas have a choice, did Lazarus, John the Baptist? Was the Pharisee right?
“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Our Savior, if only for a moment, and if only once, wanted His desire to be fulfilled instead of what the Father had set for Him to do. Contemplate that moment, and then ask this question of yourself, would you have your life today to be different than what it is?