Sovereignty of God
Sovereignty of God is a topic often debated and discussed in such a way that many become confused and puzzled at it. As a result, they deprive themselves of the wonderful implications of this truth. However, it’s a subject that we find throughout the Bible, and its clear understanding actually radically transforms and strengthens a believer.
God’s sovereignty refers to His rule and authority over the whole universe. The Word of God repeatedly asserts that our God is the King of kings and He alone is on the throne. This Kingship of God is, though invisible, eternal, and universal. Cf. Psa. 22: 28; Isaiah 66: 1; 1 Timothy 1: 17; 6: 15. Let us consider five things in this regard:
1. Acknowledge and yield.
God wants His people to recognize and abide by His authority over them. The entire story of the Israelites proves this truth. Whenever they recognized and yielded to God’s command over them, they were blessed, and rebellion resulted in divine displeasure. Numbers 9: 18. The Lord’s response to their demand for a king is noteworthy. He told Samuel, “they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” 1 Samuel 8: 6, 7, 20. Throughout the OT we see the Lord reminding His people that He alone is God and He will accomplish His purposes. Cf. Isaiah 46: 8 – 10.
The model prayer the Lord Jesus taught His disciples concludes like this, “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” Matthew 6: 13b. In fact one aspect of the salvation experience is to come under the Lordship of Christ. Romans 10: 9. This means admitting Jesus Christ as the one who has supreme authority over us.
Sad, often we repeat terms like, ‘Lord,’ ‘Master,’ etc., but seldom we realize the significance behind them. Somehow we forget that we ought to be under His authority in every practical sense, for He alone is God, and no one else. Acts 10: 36.
2. Reaches every area. Psalm 47: 2; 136: 6.
There is virtually no area where God’s authority does not reach. The psalmist says that it’s not only in the earth, but also in the heavens, sea, and deep places. Whether in relation to time, people, or events, God controls everything. He remains sovereign yesterday, today and forever. It is He who controls the affairs of man to the minutest realm. Nothing is beyond His control. It is the Lord who appoints one to rule and removes another from the office. Daniel 2: 21; Romans 13: 1.
Riches, honor, power and might come from Him. 1 Chronicles 29: 12. He is the source of all wisdom. Daniel 2:20. It is He who controls the heart of man, friend or foe. Proverbs 21: 1; 16: 7; In spite of all the shrewd plans of man, God will see ultimately His plan fulfilled. Proverb 16: 9; 19: 21; Isaiah 44: 25.
In our salvation too, the Word of God categorically declares that it’s the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan and purposes. Ephesians 1: 11; John 6: 37, 44; Rom 11: 36; 1 Cor. 8: 6, etc.
Thus, there is no aspect of life that is outside God’s authority and control.
3. Needs no human assistance. Isaiah 40: 12 – 14.
We know that earthly rulers need counselors and various other assistants to help them in their office. Our Lord God Almighty, the King of the universe needs no helper or counselor. His might is immeasurable, wisdom unsearchable and His person is incomparable. Isa 40: 12 – 14, 18, 25.
Apostle Paul bursts out in worship at the thought of this solemn fact, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! "FOR WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD? OR WHO HAS BECOME HIS COUNSELOR?" "OR WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM AND IT SHALL BE REPAID TO HIM?" For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." Romans 11: 33 – 36
4. He does what He pleases. Psalm 115: 3; 135: 6.
This is the most important aspect of divine sovereignty. God does whatever He planned, and whatever He planned will come to pass. He is never taken by surprise. His knowledge of the past, present and future is perfect. Isaiah 41: 22, 23; 42: 9; 45: 21.
Even the natural calamities and other unexpected events do not disturb His sovereignty. Psalm 29: 10. He continues to remain the King over all. When the wicked men and satanic forces rebel against the rule of God, He will over-rule and make sure that no one ever frustrates His eternal plan.
Job who practically and painfully learned these truths says, “who can hinder Him? Who can say to Him, 'What are You doing?'” Job 9: 12 cf. Romans 9: 18, 19.
5. Divine sovereignty does not deny human responsibility.
This is the area where many stumble. They think ‘if God is sovereign and controls everything, we are not responsible for even our own actions’! That’s not right. Just as the Word of God talks about the sovereignty of God, the Scripture also emphatically speaks about human responsibilities. Each one of us is responsible for our activities and response to God.
God in His sovereign plan created man and kept him in the Garden of Eden. Nevertheless, man was responsible for whatever he did. Genesis 2: 16, 17. Similarly, in His sovereign grace, God saved Noah from the midst of a wicked generation, but Noah was responsible to keep the commandments of God. Gen. 6: 8, 22.
In most passages where God declares His rule over man, God also refers to the responsibility of man to what He reveals. Cf. John 6: 37; Philippians 2: 11, 12 etc.
What should be our response to this wonderful reality? Notice few passages where God spoke of His sovereignty. Cf.
a. Fear, serve, and separate. Josh. 24: 14.
"Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD!”
After reminding the great things God did for Israel in His sovereign will (vs 1 – 13), Joshua challenges them to respond to this work of God. Always, God’s sovereign works should make us godly and sincere servants of God.
b. Be humble. Judges 8:23
Acknowledging the kingship of God, Gideon rejects the position to be a ruler. Of course, in his case, it was only shallow words! Nevertheless, humility in words and deeds should be another response to divine sovereignty.
c. Trust. Isaiah 40:31
The Lord Himself beautifully narrated His sovereignty from verse 12 of Isaiah 40. Now Isaiah calls upon the people of God to wait upon this mighty God to renew their strength.
d. Awake and declare. Isaiah 52: 1, 7
The Jews in the Babylonian captivity were naturally tired and depressed, thinking that there was no more hope of return to their homeland. Now the LORD challenges them to realize it is not the Babylonian Emperor who controls their affairs, but He who is on the heavenly throne. He will redeem and restore them at the right time. Isaiah anticipates that this message will be echoed back and forth from the mountains of Zion, because it is glad tidings for the disheartened Jews, “your God reigns.” Isa. 52: 7, 9, 12.
Yes, it is always so soothing and refreshing that our God is still on the throne. Governments may come and go, policies may be changed, circumstances may not be so favorable to us, yet we can rejoice in the Lord, for He is on the throne, the unchanging King of kings.
The truth of divine sovereignty should inspire us to follow all the above responses and much more as we find in the scripture. It takes away all our pride, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13. This truth instills in us reassurance, hope, and courage for He “works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Eph. 1: 11b, 12.
Be conscious of His rule over us and live in His will - satisfied and confident, and declare “Our God Reigns!”
GOD’S INFINITE THINGS
Riches that is unsearchable. Eph 3:8; Rom 11: 33
Grace that is exceeding and abounding. Eph 1:7; 2:7
Love that passes knowledge. Eph 3:19
Wisdom that is unfathomable Rom 11:33
Ways past finding out. Rom 11:33
Glory that is never-ending. Phil 4:19; Col 1:27
Peace that passes understanding. Phil 4:7
Joy that is unspeakable. 1Pet 1:8
Surface winds and ocean currents
In the freezing waters around Greenland are numerous icebergs, some small and some massive. If you’d observe them carefully, you’d notice that sometimes the small sheets of floating ice move in one direction while the huge one flow in another.
The explanation is simple. The Surface winds drive the little ones, whereas the huge masses of ice are carried along by deep ocean currents.
When we face trials and tragedies, it’s helpful to see our lives as being subject to two forces—surface winds and ocean currents. The winds represent everything changeable, unpredictable, and distressing.
But operating simultaneously with these blowing storms is another force that’s even more powerful. It is the sure movement of God’s wise and sovereign purposes, the deep flow of His unchanging love.
— Source unknown
“Divine sovereignty is not the sovereignty of a tyrannical Despot, but the exercised pleasure of One who is infinitely wise and good!”
_____________________ A.W. Pink
“How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none”
_________ A. W. Tozer
“Jesus Christ will be the Lord of all or He will not be the Lord at all.”
_________ Augustine of Hippo