The Sovereignty of God
There are many ways to look at world events and God’s involvement in them. At one end we find believers who basically consider that people and nations just ‘get on with things’ while God watches on, but that He can still work to bring good out of them. This point of view rather begs the question as to how and at what point the Lord chooses to intervene in order to bring about that good. At the other end of the scale are those who believe that God is directly involved in all that happens and has clear purposes and reasons in this.
This fits well with a theme that is everywhere implicit and occasionally explicit in the Scriptures: the sovereignty of God. There is a very great deal we will find eye-opening as we explore this topic, but it is essential that we avoid becoming naïve and super spiritual. This can easily happen, for instance, if we are convinced that God has appointed some person or cause, and therefore assume that everything they do must be endorsed by Him. You may well have come across unfortunate examples of this.
Scripture shows the Lord as having power over natural events as well as over purely spiritual developments. His purposes extend to embrace every aspect of life. He longs to incorporate us into His purposes, and for us to touch and be in tune with His heart regarding them. He who knows ‘the end from the beginning,’ is fully involved with everything in between, declaring, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all My purpose.’ (Is. 46:10 ESV)
When we take time to reflect, we can probably think of myriad ways in which God has acted sovereignly in our life – not least with regard to the things He has drawn us to be involved in, or the doors that He has equally sovereignly shut in our faces – which often prove to be every bit as important as the ones that He opens! His sovereignty underlies everything – yet we can never allow this to be an excuse for not facing up to our own decisions, or for failing to seek His will.
Jesus everywhere makes the concept of His Father’s sovereignty His starting point – for example when He reminds people that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father knowing about it. It is so amazing to reflect that He knows about every single one of the most intimate details of our lives. (Matthew 10:29-30)
He holds our lives and our futures in His hands (cf Deut. 32:39) and remains determined to bring about all He has in mind. Before we were even born, He gave us our destiny; that we would fulfil the plan of God who always accomplishes every purpose and plan in His heart. (Eph.1:11 TPT. And He is the One who makes everything agree [or accomplishes everything in accord] with what He decides and wants. (EXB)
But how does this play out in the face of a world in which Jesus is not ‘stilling’ the many wild fires, storms, earthquakes and wars around the world by addressing them head on with the words, ‘Peace be still?’ (Mark 4:39)
Some find it hard that the Lord doesn’t usually manifest Himself in His victorious, all-conquering nature. He even appears to limit Himself to the point where it might appear as though He is doing nothing at all, and as though the forces that run the world do so completely unchecked. Many are certainly tempted to judge God because He doesn’t do what they think He should: sort out world hunger, or the climate . . . Mind you, before anyone blames Him for the famine in places like Yemen, we would do much better to consider our own culpability in terms of unbridled arms sales . . . we have deliberately set ethical concerns aside in the interests of business deals.
The issues we are speaking of here require a great deal of thought, study and humility. Many of us discern the hand of God at work in the ways by which America was drawn into both World Wars in order to save the West from being overrun – but that in no ways minimises the catastrophic loss of life that occurred. Is something similar happening on a smaller scale with regard to the West turning a blind eye to events in the Yemen until a certain man was assassinated? We can never hope to know the full picture, but there are many things the Lord may well be most willing to share with those who seek His face.
So far from allowing the sovereignty of God to become something fatalistic in our minds (“what will be will be”) the following article shows how we can make it a spur for seeking Him more so that we can pray and respond in line with his heart and purposes. Click here to explore how David discovered the hidden reason behind a major famine that occurred whilst he was king – and what God had to say about it.