These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family. Exodus 1:1

Dr Thomas Constable in the introduction to his commentary on Exodus writes, “Scripture teaches both the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. No one has been able to explain this mystery to the satisfaction of all God’s people.”

God’s Sovereignty tells us that God is the ultimate ruler of the universe yet God also gives humans freedom. God doesn’t micromanage. God is so powerful he can bring about his purposes and allow people choice at the same time. To some extent, we do this with our children. In the home, the parents are the ultimate authority yet often they will give their children choices, within reason, about their friends, their level of involvement in sports or hobbies and how they spend their free time. A child’s poor choices may damage his relationship with his parents but it won’t affect the parent’s authority.

One of the ways God expresses his sovereignty is through creating a model. God chose Israel as his people so that through them he could show the other nations what it’s like to live under his blessing and rule, rather than trying to appease pagan gods. Though Israel often failed to be a good role model, it didn’t stop God from fulfilling his purposes. His Sovereignty wasn’t thwarted. And even in Israel’s failure, there were some who still saw the value of committing to following God’s ways, like Ruth (Ruth 1:16).

Through the book of Exodus, we see God displaying his Sovereignty over the pagan gods of Egypt. We also see Moses and the people’s choices. Will they trust God’s ways? Will we?