Sovereign Grace in the Wilderness
Unhindered by man and unrestricted by Satan, the sovereign grace of God irresistibly overcomes every obstacle to the salvation of His chosen ones. The conditions in the lives of the elect do not have to be just right in order for God to bring them to Himself. Whether it is during the high times of a great reformation and revival or the low times of a spiritual famine in the land, whether in a king’s palace or a pauper’s prison, in a cosmopolitan culture or in a remote outpost, the sovereign grace of God is perfectly capable of irresistibly drawing those whom He has chosen to eternal life. No matter what seemingly impossible obstacle looms on the horizon, be it satanic forces or human hardness of heart, God’s grace is greater still.
Perhaps nowhere was this irrepressible triumph of sovereign grace more clearly seen than in the dark days of the wilderness experience of Israel under the leadership of Moses. In the desert, Israel was confronted with many difficulties and challenges. In most of these tests, she failed miserably. The Israelites whined and complained against God, even in the face of His gracious guidance. They saw God’s abundant provision, yet fell repeatedly into spiritual apostasy and sexual orgies. When they stood on the precipice of entering the Promised Land, they tragically fell back in rank unbelief and rebellion. For forty years, they wandered aimlessly in the barren wilderness until an entire generation died there. Never did God face greater obstacles to the fulfillment of His plan of salvation.
Yet even in these difficult straits, God’s sovereign grace was promised and provided to those for whom it was intended. Despite the foul stench of unbelief and the swirling apostasy of Israel in the wilderness, the saving grace of God blew as a life-giving breath of fresh air. There, on the back side of the desert, the truth of God’s sovereignty was clearly heard from heaven and unmistakably seen upon earth. Like a radiant star on the darkest night, God’s sovereign grace shone brightly in the wilderness. This is the triumphant truth that Moses penned in the books of Exodus through Deuteronomy.
This excerpt is taken from Foundations of Grace by Steven Lawson.