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Synopsis
God is not passive or remote from his creation but dynamically involved in all that he has made. In the past, this activity was seen in the history of Israel and in the ministry of Jesus Christ. In the present, God’s activity can be seen in the life of believers and of the church.
God is active by nature
He actively works out his purposes
Jn 5:17
John 5:17 (ESV) — 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
See also Nu 23:19; Ps 115:3; Pr 16:4; Is 43:13
Numbers 23:19 (ESV) — 19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
Psalm 115:3 (ESV) — 3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
Proverbs 16:4 (ESV) — 4 The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
Isaiah 43:13 (ESV) — 13 Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?”
His names reflect his activity and involvement in his people’s lives
Ge 22:14 “The Lord Will Provide”; Ex 15:26 “The Lord, who heals you”; Ex 17:15 “The Lord is my Banner”: this title emphasises that God is like a warrior who champions his people’s cause; Ps 95:6 “The Lord our Maker”: the Hebrew word used does not refer to original creation but to the way in which God is fashioning a people for himself.
Genesis 22:14 (ESV) — 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
Exodus 15:26 (ESV) — 26 saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”
Exodus 17:15 (ESV) — 15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner,
Psalm 95:6 (ESV) — 6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
His word is active
Is 55:10–11 The Hebrew for “word” can also be translated “deed” or “action”. God’s word is not merely a communication of abstract truth but a powerful force active in the world.
Isaiah 55:10–11 (ESV) — 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
See also Ge 1:3; Eze 37:4; Eze 37:7
Genesis 1:3 (ESV) — 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Ezekiel 37:4 (ESV) — 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
Ezekiel 37:7 (ESV) — 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.
God is active in the creation
In making the universe
Ne 9:6
Nehemiah 9:6 (ESV) — 6 “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.
See also Ge 1:1; Ge 1:31; Ge 2:2; Ge 5:1–2; Ps 102:25; Am 4:13; Ac 17:24; Re 4:11
Genesis 1:1 (ESV) — 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:31 (ESV) — 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Genesis 2:2 (ESV) — 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.
Genesis 5:1–2 (ESV) — 1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.
Psalm 102:25 (ESV) — 25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
Amos 4:13 (ESV) — 13 For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!
Acts 17:24 (ESV) — 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,
Revelation 4:11 (ESV) — 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
In sustaining the created order
Ps 103:19
Psalm 103:19 (ESV) — 19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
See also Ps 104:10–17; Ps 107:33–35; Mt 6:28–30; Ac 14:17; Eph 1:11; Col 1:16–17
Psalm 104:10–17 (ESV) — 10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; 11 they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. 13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. 14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth 15 and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart. 16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. 17 In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees.
Psalm 107:33–35 (ESV) — 33 He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, 34 a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants. 35 He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.
Matthew 6:28–30 (ESV) — 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Acts 14:17 (ESV) — 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
Ephesians 1:11 (ESV) — 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
Colossians 1:16–17 (ESV) — 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
In bringing about changes in the weather
Job 37:10; Job 38:22–30; Job 38:34–35; Ps 107:25; Ps 147:8; Mt 5:45; Ac 14:17
Job 37:10 (ESV) — 10 By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.
Job 38:22–30 (ESV) — 22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, 23 which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? 24 What is the way to the place where the light is distributed, or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth? 25 “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt, 26 to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man, 27 to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground sprout with grass? 28 “Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew? 29 From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the frost of heaven? 30 The waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.
Job 38:34–35 (ESV) — 34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you? 35 Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
Psalm 107:25 (ESV) — 25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
Psalm 147:8 (ESV) — 8 He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills.
Matthew 5:45 (ESV) — 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Acts 14:17 (ESV) — 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
In the stars and other heavenly bodies
Job 38:31–33; Ps 104:19; Ps 147:4; Is 40:26; Jas 1:17
Job 38:31–33 (ESV) — 31 “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? 32 Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? 33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?
Psalm 104:19 (ESV) — 19 He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.
Psalm 147:4 (ESV) — 4 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
Isaiah 40:26 (ESV) — 26 Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing.
James 1:17 (ESV) — 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
In the animal creation
Job 39:1–30; Job 40:15–24; Job 41:1–11; Ps 104:20–27; Ps 147:9; Mt 10:29
Job 39:1–30 (ESV) — 1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the does? 2 Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth, 3 when they crouch, bring forth their offspring, and are delivered of their young? 4 Their young ones become strong; they grow up in the open; they go out and do not return to them. 5 “Who has let the wild donkey go free? Who has loosed the bonds of the swift donkey, 6 to whom I have given the arid plain for his home and the salt land for his dwelling place? 7 He scorns the tumult of the city; he hears not the shouts of the driver. 8 He ranges the mountains as his pasture, and he searches after every green thing. 9 “Is the wild ox willing to serve you? Will he spend the night at your manger? 10 Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes, or will he harrow the valleys after you? 11 Will you depend on him because his strength is great, and will you leave to him your labor? 12 Do you have faith in him that he will return your grain and gather it to your threshing floor? 13 “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, but are they the pinions and plumage of love? 14 For she leaves her eggs to the earth and lets them be warmed on the ground, 15 forgetting that a foot may crush them and that the wild beast may trample them. 16 She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers; though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear, 17 because God has made her forget wisdom and given her no share in understanding. 18 When she rouses herself to flee, she laughs at the horse and his rider. 19 “Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? 20 Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic snorting is terrifying. 21 He paws in the valley and exults in his strength; he goes out to meet the weapons. 22 He laughs at fear and is not dismayed; he does not turn back from the sword. 23 Upon him rattle the quiver, the flashing spear, and the javelin. 24 With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground; he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet. 25 When the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’ He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. 26 “Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south? 27 Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? 28 On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag and stronghold. 29 From there he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it from far away. 30 His young ones suck up blood, and where the slain are, there is he.”
Job 40:15–24 (ESV) — 15 “Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox. 16 Behold, his strength in his loins, and his power in the muscles of his belly. 17 He makes his tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together. 18 His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron. 19 “He is the first of the works of God; let him who made him bring near his sword! 20 For the mountains yield food for him where all the wild beasts play. 21 Under the lotus plants he lies, in the shelter of the reeds and in the marsh. 22 For his shade the lotus trees cover him; the willows of the brook surround him. 23 Behold, if the river is turbulent he is not frightened; he is confident though Jordan rushes against his mouth. 24 Can one take him by his eyes, or pierce his nose with a snare?
Job 41:1–11 (ESV) — 1 “Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook or press down his tongue with a cord? 2 Can you put a rope in his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook? 3 Will he make many pleas to you? Will he speak to you soft words? 4 Will he make a covenant with you to take him for your servant forever? 5 Will you play with him as with a bird, or will you put him on a leash for your girls? 6 Will traders bargain over him? Will they divide him up among the merchants? 7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons or his head with fishing spears? 8 Lay your hands on him; remember the battle—you will not do it again! 9 Behold, the hope of a man is false; he is laid low even at the sight of him. 10 No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he who can stand before me? 11 Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.
Psalm 104:20–27 (ESV) — 20 You make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about. 21 The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. 22 When the sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens. 23 Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening. 24 O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25 Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. 26 There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it. 27 These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.
Psalm 147:9 (ESV) — 9 He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.
Matthew 10:29 (ESV) — 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
God is active in Israel’s history
In the calling and creation of Israel as a people
Ex 6:6–8
Exodus 6:6–8 (ESV) — 6 Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. 7 I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.’ ”
See also Ge 12:1–3; Ex 19:3–6; Dt 4:32–34; Is 51:2; Eze 16:6–7; Ho 11:1–4; Mal 2:10
Genesis 12:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Exodus 19:3–6 (ESV) — 3 while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
Deuteronomy 4:32–34 (ESV) — 32 “For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. 33 Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? 34 Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
Isaiah 51:2 (ESV) — 2 Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him.
Ezekiel 16:6–7 (ESV) — 6 “And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ 7 I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment. Your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare.
Hosea 11:1–4 (ESV) — 1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. 3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. 4 I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.
Malachi 2:10 (ESV) — 10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?
In saving and delivering his people
Ps 106:2 This verse introduces a psalm which recounts the history of God’s dealings with his people.
Psalm 106:2 (ESV) — 2 Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise?
See also Ex 33:16–17; 2 Sa 7:7–11; 1 Ki 18:36–38; Ps 28:8–9; Ps 107:2–3
Exodus 33:16–17 (ESV) — 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” 17 And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”
2 Samuel 7:7–11 (ESV) — 7 In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” ’ 8 Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.
1 Kings 18:36–38 (ESV) — 36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
Psalm 28:8–9 (ESV) — 8 The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. 9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Psalm 107:2–3 (ESV) — 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble 3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
In judgment
Nu 25:3–4; 1 Sa 2:25; 1 Sa 12:16–18; 2 Sa 21:1
Numbers 25:3–4 (ESV) — 3 So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. 4 And the Lord said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the Lord, that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.”
1 Samuel 2:25 (ESV) — 25 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 12:16–18 (ESV) — 16 Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. 17 Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain. And you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking for yourselves a king.” 18 So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
2 Samuel 21:1 (ESV) — 1 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the Lord. And the Lord said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.”
In bringing victory in battle
Ex 14:27–28; Ex 17:8–16; Nu 21:1–3; Jos 6:2; Jos 10:30; Jdg 7:9; Jdg 7:22; 1 Sa 17:47; 2 Ch 20:22–23
Exodus 14:27–28 (ESV) — 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the Lord threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained.
Exodus 17:8–16 (ESV) — 8 Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword. 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner, 16 saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
Numbers 21:1–3 (ESV) — 1 When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negeb, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. 2 And Israel vowed a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will indeed give this people into my hand, then I will devote their cities to destruction.” 3 And the Lord heeded the voice of Israel and gave over the Canaanites, and they devoted them and their cities to destruction. So the name of the place was called Hormah.
Joshua 6:2 (ESV) — 2 And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.
Joshua 10:30 (ESV) — 30 And the Lord gave it also and its king into the hand of Israel. And he struck it with the edge of the sword, and every person in it; he left none remaining in it. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.
Judges 7:9 (ESV) — 9 That same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand.
Judges 7:22 (ESV) — 22 When they blew the 300 trumpets, the Lord set every man’s sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.
1 Samuel 17:47 (ESV) — 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”
2 Chronicles 20:22–23 (ESV) — 22 And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. 23 For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.
In raising up and sending leaders to the people
2 Sa 7:8–9; 2 Ch 24:19; Es 4:14; Je 7:25; Zec 7:7
2 Samuel 7:8–9 (ESV) — 8 Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.
2 Chronicles 24:19 (ESV) — 19 Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord. These testified against them, but they would not pay attention.
Esther 4:14 (ESV) — 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Jeremiah 7:25 (ESV) — 25 From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day.
Zechariah 7:7 (ESV) — 7 Were not these the words that the Lord proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous, with her cities around her, and the South and the lowland were inhabited?’ ”
God is active in the nations of the world
His rule over the nations
Ps 22:28
Psalm 22:28 (ESV) — 28 For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.
See also Ge 11:8; Dt 32:8; Jdg 2:20–23; Job 12:23; Ps 46:8–10; Ps 66:7; Is 41:2; Ac 17:26
Genesis 11:8 (ESV) — 8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.
Deuteronomy 32:8 (ESV) — 8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.
Judges 2:20–23 (ESV) — 20 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua.
Job 12:23 (ESV) — 23 He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away.
Psalm 46:8–10 (ESV) — 8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 66:7 (ESV) — 7 who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
Isaiah 41:2 (ESV) — 2 Who stirred up one from the east whom victory meets at every step? He gives up nations before him, so that he tramples kings underfoot; he makes them like dust with his sword, like driven stubble with his bow.
Acts 17:26 (ESV) — 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
Examples of nations through which God acts
Assyria:
2 Ki 17:18–23; Is 28:11
2 Kings 17:18–23 (ESV) — 18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight. None was left but the tribe of Judah only. 19 Judah also did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the customs that Israel had introduced. 20 And the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until he had cast them out of his sight. 21 When he had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. And Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord and made them commit great sin. 22 The people of Israel walked in all the sins that Jeroboam did. They did not depart from them, 23 until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had spoken by all his servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.
Isaiah 28:11 (ESV) — 11 For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the Lord will speak to this people,
Babylon:
2 Ki 24:10–14; 2 Ch 36:15–18
2 Kings 24:10–14 (ESV) — 10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. 11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to the city while his servants were besieging it, 12 and Jehoiachin the king of Judah gave himself up to the king of Babylon, himself and his mother and his servants and his officials and his palace officials. The king of Babylon took him prisoner in the eighth year of his reign 13 and carried off all the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold in the temple of the Lord, which Solomon king of Israel had made, as the Lord had foretold. 14 He carried away all Jerusalem and all the officials and all the mighty men of valor, 10,000 captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained, except the poorest people of the land.
2 Chronicles 36:15–18 (ESV) — 15 The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy. 17 Therefore he brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old man or aged. He gave them all into his hand. 18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king and of his princes, all these he brought to Babylon.
2 Ch 36:22–23 Persia
2 Chronicles 36:22–23 (ESV) — 22 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: 23 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up.’ ”
God is active in human life
He determines the course of human lives
Ac 17:28
Acts 17:28 (ESV) — 28 for “ ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
See also 1 Ch 29:12; Ps 8:3–4; Ps 75:6–7; Ps 139:16; Lk 1:52; Jn 1:4
1 Chronicles 29:12 (ESV) — 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
Psalm 8:3–4 (ESV) — 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Psalm 75:6–7 (ESV) — 6 For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, 7 but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.
Psalm 139:16 (ESV) — 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Luke 1:52 (ESV) — 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
John 1:4 (ESV) — 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Examples of God’s intervention in human lives
Nu 22:21–23 Balaam; 1 Sa 1:19–20 Hannah; 2 Ki 5:14–15 Naaman; Jon 1:17 Jonah
Numbers 22:21–23 (ESV) — 21 So Balaam rose in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22 But God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road.
1 Samuel 1:19–20 (ESV) — 19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.”
2 Kings 5:14–15 (ESV) — 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.”
Jonah 1:17 (ESV) — 17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Paul:
Ac 9:3–6; Ac 13:1–3; Ac 16:6; Ac 16:10
Acts 9:3–6 (ESV) — 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
Acts 13:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Acts 16:6 (ESV) — 6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
Acts 16:10 (ESV) — 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
God is active in Jesus Christ’s ministry
Ac 10:38
Acts 10:38 (ESV) — 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
See also Lk 5:17; Lk 11:20; Jn 3:2; Jn 5:17–19; Jn 9:3–4; Jn 14:10; 2 Co 5:19
Luke 5:17 (ESV) — 17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.
Luke 11:20 (ESV) — 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
John 3:2 (ESV) — 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
John 5:17–19 (ESV) — 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” 18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
John 9:3–4 (ESV) — 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.
John 14:10 (ESV) — 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
2 Corinthians 5:19 (ESV) — 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
God is active through the Holy Spirit
Ge 1:2; 2 Ki 2:16; Eze 8:3; Eze 11:1; Eze 43:5
Genesis 1:2 (ESV) — 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
2 Kings 2:16 (ESV) — 16 And they said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men. Please let them go and seek your master. It may be that the Spirit of the Lord has caught him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.”
Ezekiel 8:3 (ESV) — 3 He put out the form of a hand and took me by a lock of my head, and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the gateway of the inner court that faces north, where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy.
Ezekiel 11:1 (ESV) — 1 The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the house of the Lord, which faces east. And behold, at the entrance of the gateway there were twenty-five men. And I saw among them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people.
Ezekiel 43:5 (ESV) — 5 the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
God is active in the church
1 Co 12:6 This verse comes in the context of teaching about the body of Christ and the gifts which the Spirit gives to the church.
1 Corinthians 12:6 (ESV) — 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
See also 1 Co 14:24–25; Ga 2:8; Ga 3:5; Eph 3:10; Eph 3:20–21; Php 1:6; Php 2:13
1 Corinthians 14:24–25 (ESV) — 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
Galatians 2:8 (ESV) — 8 (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles),
Galatians 3:5 (ESV) — 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—
Ephesians 3:10 (ESV) — 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 3:20–21 (ESV) — 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 1:6 (ESV) — 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:13 (ESV) — 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
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