The Bible is not silent on the sovereignty of God as He imparts His will to His servants. God’s servants may be His elect, or those whom He will use to affect His plan for His elect.
One such method God uses is to ‘stir up’ the hearts of His subjects to espouse and subsequently enact His will.
Recall the time when King Saul was jealous of the newly anointed David and sought to kill him. Saul also feared David because he knew that God was with him.
David had several opportunities to slay Saul, but he did not. He recognized that Saul was God’s anointed king and he (David) did not have the right to kill him. David said:
“The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’s anointed.” 1 Samuel 26:11
Instead David and Abishai approached the sleeping Saul and took the jug of water and spear that were by Saul’s head as proof that they had the opportunity to kill Saul but did not.
David then called out to Saul in the dark of the night inquiring why he (Saul) wanted to kill him.
David realized that the reason might be due to his own personal sin or it might be an unjust action. David acknowledged that God might have put the desire in Saul’s heart to kill him.
“…If the LORD has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, may they be cursed before the LORD…” 1 Samuel 26:19b
The Hebrew for ‘stir’ in the present context is cuwth and has several illustrative synonyms including ‘stimulate,’ ‘persuade,’ and ‘moved.’
Several hundred years later when the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh were unfaithful to God, God brought on their captivity under the Assyrians. God put His plan into the spirit of the Assyrian king.
“And they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers, and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land…So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria…” 1 Chronicles 5:25-26a
The day would come when God would ‘stir up’ terrible revenge on the Assyrians whom He had ‘stirred up’ to take a portion of Israel captive.
“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts… ‘For yet a very little while and the indignation will cease, as will My anger in their (Israel’s) destruction.’ And the LORD of hosts will stir up a scourge for him like the slaughter of Midian…” Isaiah 10:24-26a
And thus it was:
“And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand…” 2 Kings 19:35
The LORD ‘stirs up’ and then He does according to His immutable purpose.
Perhaps one of the most profound examples of being ‘stirred’ is when the pre-appointed King of Persia, i.e. Cyrus, freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity to return to their native land to rebuild their temple.
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, … ‘All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me, and He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah…’” 2 Chronicles 36:22-23
The Hebrew word for ‘stirred’ in the present context is uwr with several similar synonyms including ‘open the eyes,’ ‘wake,’ and ‘arise.’
Inasmuch as the one that is stirred actually embraces God’s purpose as his own, he is subsequently held accountable for his actions. He is either blessed or cursed for his actions.
Perhaps some of America’s seemingly unfathomable foreign policy can be explained by this phenomenon.
Those who God stirs to chastise Israel, or befriend their enemies, will suffer great consequences for their actions.
Again, it is seen that God’s purpose is immutable and His sovereignty incomprehensible.
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