“Your God Reigns!” Isaiah 52:7
One of the truths that inspire the people of God everywhere at any age is the Sovereignty of our God. In the midst of increasing uncertainty and turmoil all over, let us ponder upon this reality and stay strong.
Prophet Isaiah, in the second part of his book (chapters 40 – 66) comforts the people of Judah (40:1). He finds them in the Babylonian captivity. Being away from their land and home, naturally they are depressed and discouraged. They even doubted the power of their Lord Jehovah and compared Him with the gods of the Assyrians and Babylonians. Since they could easily plunder the land of Israel and Judah, the people of Judah concluded that the gods of the invaders are powerful and the Lord Jehovah is helpless.
To encourage this disheartened captives, Isaiah calls upon them to ‘behold their God’, 40:9. Then, through a series of messages the Lord Himself reveals His uniqueness, with a rebuke, “To whom then will you liken Me...” (40: 18, 25, 28).
a. The Creator and Upholder, 40: 12-14, 26.
The oceans and heaven fit into His hands. He is the omniscient One who needs no one’s counsel. 40:13, 14 cf. Rom. 11:34 1 Cor. 2.16.
b. The sovereign One. 40: 15 – 17, 21 – 24;
The nations of the world are like drops from a bucket and dust on a scale before the LORD. He finds man like insects. These metaphors indicate the nothingness of the world powers however strong they may appear today.
c. The matchless One. 40: 18-20, 25.
It’s foolishness to compare the LORD with man-made gods. His unsearchable wisdom and unfailing power is available to all who wait upon Him (40: 28 – 31). No believer needs to be weak and helpless.
In continuation of such uplifting messages, in chapter 52 Isaiah exhorts the tired Judah to get up from their slumber. Their time of humiliation and bondage is over. It is time to put on strength and stay holy and beautiful again because their LORD is on the throne and their restoration is near (cf. Isa 52: 1 – 7).
Isaiah also expects the messengers in Israel to proclaim from the top of the mountains in the hearing of all,
“Your God reigns!" (V.7). He describes this message of God’s sovereignty as glad tidings and message of peace and salvation to all in Judah.
‘Your God reigns’ - What a soothing saying for the dejected people in bondage! It is not the pagan kings on the throne but their own Lord God Almighty. It is He who controls the affairs of man. Nothing is beyond His authority. He allows the earthly kings to sit on their throne; similarly it is He who removes them in time (Dan. 2: 20-22).
Sad to notice that many find the sovereignty of God only as a hot topic for debate and deliberation. As a result, there is a kind of apathy towards this vital truth, and many choose to avoid it altogether.
Actually, the truth about the sovereignty of God is found throughout the scripture, and the Lord repeatedly reminded His people to ……..
IN THE LORD’S HANDS
“They shall perish……..Though remains” Hebrews 1:12
The Place of Blessings, Deut 33:3
The Place of Chastisement, 2Sam 24:14
The Place of Creation, Job 10:8
The Place of Life, Job 12:10
The Place of Keeping, Psa 31:15
The Place of Supply, Psa 104:28
The Place of Disposal, Prov 21:1
The Place of Hiding and Usefulness, Isa 49:2
The Place of Security, John 10: 28, 29
- Source: Unknown
Surface Winds and Ocean Currents
In the cold waters around Greenland are innumerable icebergs, some little and some gigantic. If you'd observe them carefully, you'd notice that sometimes the small ice icecaps move in one direction while their massive counterparts flow in another.
The explanation is simple. 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 gusts and gales 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
The Sovereign Plan of God for our Lives
By Tom Johns, Austin, Texas.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28. This verse could be the most comforting verse a child of God can have. No one is immune to the challenges of life, although we are children of God. But God’s promises are absolute, assuring us that He would make ‘all things work together for good’ as we read here.
Consequences of sin
The whole of humanity suffers the effects of sin, and those are indeed very unpleasant. There is death, illness, hunger, thirst, relational and emotional challenges, and a host of other issues. Job went through trials without knowing that it was orchestrated by God to achieve His supreme purposes. Joseph suffered greatly before he realized the wonderful truth about God as we see in Gen 50:20. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Joseph was able to effectively console his brothers with his knowledge and trust in the sovereignty of God through the subsequent verses.
All things work together for good – to what extent?
It says, ‘all things.’ There is nothing excluded; good or bad or sinful. Bad or sinful things are not to be desired, but they inevitably happen since we live in this fallen world. Romans 8 is considered the ‘mountain range’ experience of a believer and verse 28 is the most majestic peak from where a believer can scout the surroundings with great confidence. God can and is willing to transform ‘all things work together’ for good. This doesn’t mean that all things are good, but it communicates to us God’s sovereign power and His wonderful promises to us.
All things work together for good – to whom?
The verse continues to say that ‘to those who love God and to those who are called according to God’s purposes.’ Do we love God? How do we love an invisible God? The Bible defines love as something very tangible and not merely an emotion. We love God when we –
Meditate upon God’s word – Ps 18
Trust in God’s power – Ps 31:23
Seek communion with God – Ps 63 & Ps 84:2
Find peace and rest in God – Ps 119:165; Phi 4:6
Be sensitive to God’s feelings – Ps 69:9
Love what God loves and hate what God hates – 1 John 5: 1 John 2:15
Long for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ – 1 Tim 4:18
Obey God’s commands by which we know the nature of God – John 14:21
All believers do love God to some level. But none does it perfectly and there is always room for improvement. Those who love God have already been called by God. Otherwise, how can we, by nature haters of God, become lovers of God? God did the miraculous work of regeneration in us as we see in John 3:1-8. We, who love God because of this regeneration, are asked to abound in gracious work [2 Cor.8:7] and in love [1 Thess. 3:12]. Since God promised us who love God, to ‘work all things together for good’, let’s be in His service with greater confidence and renewed vigor.
( Click to read this meditation as a separate article in a new window )
No One can Work against the Will of God
By Paulson Joshua, Kochi
Let us consider two prominent Old Testament stories that forcefully display the truth that no one can thwart the purposes of God.
a. The story of Jonah teaches us how God chastens us when we act against the will of God in our personal life.
God commanded Prophet Jonah to go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it. But he fled to Tarshish by a ship in the opposite direction. God created a storm in the ocean. The captain of the ship cast lots to know for whose sake the calamity had come upon them; the lot fell to Jonah. Then they took Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea's anger subsided.
The Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah the Prophet. He was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). After that, the fish vomited him up onto the dry land; from there he had to go to Nineveh to accomplish the purpose of God.
His preaching of the word of God in Nineveh brought revival; one lakh and twenty thousand people were saved from God's judgment.
The lesson here is that if God decides to do something with us, He will make it happen, even if it requires punishing us for ignoring God’s command.
b. The Exodus story teaches us another lesson; God chastens us if we act against God's will for our brethren.
It was God’s sovereign purpose to redeem the people of Israel from the bondage of the Egypt and bring them out. He wanted them to serve and worship Him in the wilderness.
So we see God commissioning Moses to tell Pharaoh: ‘The Lord God of the Hebrews has sent me to you, saying, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness”’. (Exodus 7:16a).
But Pharaoh never obeyed the word of God, and we know how God punished him with ten plagues. Yes, often he agreed with various conditions, but God refused to compromise on His purposes. And at last, the King of Egypt reluctantly allowed the people of Israel to leave. Yet he followed them when they crossed the Red Sea. However, the Red Sea swallowed up Pharaoh and his great army.
So, there we have another lesson: allow our brethren to worship God. If not, God will provide some other way for them. However, God will punish those who hinder them.
“The greatness of the man's power is the measure of his surrender.”
__________ William Booth
“There is no such thing as a great man of God, only weak, pitiful, faithless men of a great and merciful God.”
__________ Paul Washer
“If there is one single reason why good people turn evil, it is because they fail to recognize God’s ownership over their kingdom….above all their lives.”
__________ Erwin W. Lutzer
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