Acts 7:2 And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. 5 Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child. 6 And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. 7 ‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ 8 And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
Acts 7:30 “Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and did not dare to look. 33 Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’
This is just so good. God tells Abraham that Israel will be held captive for 400 years and that after that He will release them from their captors and punish Egypt for their oppressive behaviour. Then God commissions Moses to go rescue the Israelites because He has seen their affliction and heard their groaning. Did God rescue them because the 400 years were up and He had told Abraham that this is what His plan was, or did He rescue them because the affliction broke His heart and they called out for help? Answer? – Yes.
Would He have rescued them if they had not groaned and called out for help? There is no such thing as “what if” and it is better if we do not speculate. Suffice it to say that this is yet another example of God’s sovereign plan and purpose being realized, just as He said it would, and at the same time it is God responding to the prayers of His people and acting to help them according to their requests. It doesn’t get any better than this. The confluence of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility is one of the most soul stirring and mind warping and heart thrilling truths in the Scriptures. God’s purposes shall be realized and shall not fail and He brings them about through the requests of His people because God answers prayer. What a great place to rest. All that the Father gives to Jesus shall come to Jesus (John 6:37-41) and they shall not call upon God to save them if they have not believed and they shall not believe if they have not heard and they shall they not hear if no one tells them (Romans 10:14-17).
Are people saved because God has determined to save them and gives them to Jesus or are they saved because they heard the Gospel preached? Yes. God was handed over to the people for crucifixion by the predetermined council of God and Pilate and the religious leaders and the crowds handed Him over with wicked hands (Acts 2:23).
Did the death of Jesus come to pass because it was the plan of the triune God to save mankind through the death of the Son of God or because wicked people banded together to plot His demise? Yes.
What a God.