The Sovereignty of God
To say that God is sovereign is just another way of saying that God is God. God has the right to do what He pleases. He is omnipotent so nothing can keep Him from executing His will. He is a God of purpose, so He does what He does for a reason and that reason is for His glory. God is on the throne, He is in charge.
Psalm 115:3 gives us a concise definition of His sovereignty, “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” This truth about our God is here set in contrast to the idols of the pagans. The gods that men have made have hands but they cannot handle and feet but they cannot walk. It matters not whether it a god carved out of wood, a god conceived in man’s mind or an idol in man’s heart, all false gods are really no gods at all.
The fact that our God does what He pleases is where many people raise objections. Some are like Pharaoh who said to Moses, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” They reject the whole concept that there is a sovereign creator who rules over heaven and earth and to whom all men are accountable. Then there are those who say they believe in God but they have difficulty accepting the fact that He is sovereign. They judge God by their own standards and refuse to accept anything they cannot understand. But God’s ways are higher than man’s ways and the secret things belong to God, so we must embrace by the faith what God reveals about Himself in His Word.
Some suggest that God is trying to do things that He cannot do. In his book, “Why Bad Things Happen To Good People” Rabbi Kushner wrote: “God would like to give you a better break but he just can’t do it.” Some say that God is trying to save sinners but that He is unable to do so without their cooperation. And then even among Christians we hear people talk about being lucky rather than recognizing the sovereignty of God in bestowing the blessings they have enjoyed. Some read their horoscope or even carry a rabbit’s foot—which does indeed appear rather foolish considering that things had not gone well for the rabbit.
Failure to recognize God’s sovereignty not only dishonors Him but robs one of the comfort derived from embracing this wonderful truth. How reassuring to know that God is on the throne and nothing is out of His control. The conflict among the nations of earth, the current economic decline or the day to day pressures in your own life may seem to indicate everything is in a state of chaos. But when you see revealed in the Scriptures that God “doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth:”, you can then say with Habakkuk, “The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.”
This truth of God’s sovereign rule brings calmness and comfort to the troubled soul. You are made to recognize that although it may appear that God is doing nothing, ignoring some of the situations that trouble you; the fact is that God is always at work. Habakkuk made the mistake of assuming God was ignoring the evil of his day, only then to be even more disturbed when he discovered that God was raising up the Babylonians to punish the nation because of its sin. We often may not be able to see what God is doing or understand what He is doing but when can find joy in knowing that what he is doing is for the good of His people for the gory of His name.
The Scriptures abound with confirmation of this truth. “Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places. He causeth the vapours to ascend from the end of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries” (Psalm 135:6-7). So whatever has pleased God, He has done it. He has never been defeated. His sovereignty is seen in creation as He spoke and brought the world into existence. He not only created it but continues to rule over it. He causes the rain to fall and the winds to blow. In the ongoing effort remove God from the scene, many speak of “Mother Nature” controlling the weather. But Psalm 147 provides even greater details of God’s involvement with the weather stating that He controls the clouds, the rain, the snow, the frost and the ice. It may seem like a minor point to some but the denial of God’s sovereignty over the weather is often the first step toward a complete departure from the fundamental truth of who God is and what He is doing.
God is also sovereign in His rule over the inhabitants of the earth. Nebuchadnezzar was driven from his throne to learn “that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (Daniel 4: 32b). There can be no conspiracy among the evil men of earth that is kept secret from God. There can be no scheme or wicked design but what God can disrupt it. That truth gives us hope and relieves our fears. Just as God brought down Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar and Herod, He can still bring down the mighty from their seats today.