Perhaps nothing more has eroded the foundations of the faith and distorted the truths of the Kingdom than misconceptions about the sovereignty of God. Those who propagate confusion on the matter not only corrupt the authority of God but lay the groundwork for unbelief regarding His plans.
Such doubts are not new, they emerged in the early church as Paul addresses them in his letter to the Romans as he deals with the objection: “why does God still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” (Rom. 9:19). He responds with an emphatic assertion of God’s absolute prerogative over His creation. With God is supreme and ultimate power over light and darkness, life and death, good and evil. He has made all these for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of evil (Prov. 16:4).
In theory, no saint challenges the sovereignty of God or the authority of His will. But I believe the truth of God’s sovereignty has gradually been weakened by the false teachings, creeds, and dogmas of religion. These are those little foxes that spoil the vineyard. And though they start off small and seemingly harmless, Jeremiah laments over Zion which was desolate, with foxes walking about on it (Lam 5:18).
Today we witness these foxes in our vineyards, slowly destroying the principles of the faith, causing us to doubt the omnipotence of our God. They testify of contradictions; of the evils and calamities we witness in our world. They confront us with a multitude of questions: “If your God is in control why is the world out of control? Where is God in the midst of all your troubles? If God is love why does He allow suffering, pain and tragedy? And if He is both the remedy and creator of evil, then is this not a twisted game that God is playing with man? How can it be that both ‘the deceived and the deceiver are His’ (Job 12:16)?”
Through seeds of doubt, these foxes cunningly absolve God of any responsibility for the ills of the world and in a misguided attempt to preserve His goodness, they subtly usurp His supremacy from our hearts. They place pain, suffering, difficulties, problems and every unfavorable event at the control of man and Satan.
They introduce us to man who has “free will” – a will over which God has little to no authority because He has relinquished it in some act of divine providence. They reassure us that God is neither a puppet master nor are we robots stripped off absolute autonomy. Man, they tell us, is the master of his destiny.
They paint for us a picture of God whose hands are tied because He has yielded His control to man through some arbitrary arrangement, which strangely enough affords man “freedom”. A freedom without which love would not be love. A freedom that is apart from union with God’s Christ. A freedom where man is bound under the dictates of the sinful nature. A freedom where the serial killer is as free as the redeemed.
On the other hand, they magnify the devil as a formidable adversary against whom God must contend. An adversary that has foiled the purpose of God throughout history, even from its inception. An adversary over which God has little power because He has renounced His dominion on the earth to his rule.
Ultimately, what we are left with is rather troubling – an inferior and inept God who has lost control of His creation and whose power over it is so limited that He is nothing more than an innocent bystander, an observer who can only act when He is summoned through fasting and prayer.
Contrary to such religious fabrications of God, the scripture bear witness to an entirely different reality. They testify of the God who exercises absolute sovereignty over His creation, who controls and sustains all things and who is above all, and through all, and in all (Heb. 1:3, Eph. 4:6). A God who works out all things according to the counsel and design of His will (Eph. 1:11). A God who is before all things and in whom all things consist and hold together (Col. 1:17).
A God who declares the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, declaring: “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose” (Isa. 46:10). A God who does whatever He pleases among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and none can restrain his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Dan. 4:35). A God who controls the course of world events; making nations great and destroying them, removing kings and setting up kings (Job 12:23, Dan. 2:21).
A God who does not vindicate Himself from the calamities of the world but places Himself at the center of them declaring: “There is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things” (Isa. 45:6-7). And yet again: “see now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand” (Isa. 45:6-7, Deut. 32:39). A God who draws one and sends another great delusion that he should believe a lie (Joh. 6:44, 2 Thes. 2:11). A God who, according to His divine wisdom, has subjected the world to futility and to whom all principalities, powers and devils are subject (Rom. 8:20, Mar. 1:27).
Time and space limits us to go on about all that is written in the volume of the book about the sovereignty of God. And despite the abundance of this testimony, it is our hearts that need to be illuminated with the light of this truth. Whether we face the complex circumstances of life for which we find little answers or whether we are confronted with disasters, He would have us know that we are all on His clock. We are nestled between the Alpha and the Omega and our now is not the cumulative product of man’s free will but His precisely coordinated plan.
Of the various tragedies we witness and personally encounter, those that involve the loss of life are especially difficult to reconcile with what I have now shared. And while the question of ‘why’ may challenge us, the Lord assures us that no man can add or take away from the days God has ordained. For while each of us were in the Father before the foundation of the world, He saw our unformed substance and in His book were written all the days fashioned for us, when as yet there were none of them (Psal. 139:16). Job testifies that: “the number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass” (Job. 14:5).
In light of this, who is it that can question Him for the life He has brought forth and the days He has numbered? “Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?” (Job. 12:9-10).
May it be forever established in our hearts that God is sovereign over all things. And may we discover the rest and peace that is found in knowing that God is in control over every circumstance and situation; at every time and in every place.