The Sovereignty of God
God is God and has the right to do whatever He pleases with His creation. This includes man and all his affairs. It may not be immediately apparent to some, but this teaching brings much comfort and consolation to its adherents.
Very briefly, lets look at a few verses of the Bible and see what it has to say about the sovereignty of God. Though the words “sovereign or sovereignty” do not appear in the word of God, just like the word “trinity,” does not appear, however the principle is very easily seen by just a little study. We can define the word sovereignty like this: independent of all others; supreme in power, rank, or authority.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Rev 4:11
Here we see that God is the creator of all things. Further we see that God created because it pleased Him to do so. God did not create because He was lonely or needed anything man had to offer him. He is the self sufficient God who is not worshipped with men’s hands as though he needed anything. He alone is the giver of life and breath and all that exist. See Acts 17:25
Consider this creation of God. We are told he placed the planets and the stars in their place. The sun, the moon, the stars and even the earth itself. Why did God give the sun a preeminent position in the sky and the moon a lesser one? Why does one star differ from another star in glory? See 1 Corinthians 15:41. The answer is that God has a sovereign right to do so because He is God. Simple answer, yet profound.
God created the angels. We know from study that some fell and those who did not fall are referred to as elect angels. God could have kept all of them from falling had He desired to do so. Yet He did not. Angels are greater in power and might than men are. They are higher beings. Does it upset you that God did not spare the angels that fell? Is does not upset me because I know He has a right to do whatever He pleases with His creation. I do not hear people raising objections to God about the fallen angels. However they sure do want to raise a stink when you teach from Gods word that men, who are lesser beings than the angels, are either chosen or not chosen by God.
Now God created man on the last day of creation. Ever wonder why He created man last? I think it is so man could not claim credit for anything that God created. Even so man still tries to claim credit. God created man from the dust of the earth and breathed in his nostrils the breath of life. God is the giver and sustainer of this life. In essence He is the potter, we are the clay. He gives and he takes away. King David said in Psalms 100:3 “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” This verse was probably penned because somewhere some man thought it was in his own power to create his own life. This verse will set him straight. So we see they are Gods sheep. It is Gods pasture. Then is creation accomplished according to mans purpose or Gods?
Perhaps the greatest objections related to the sovereignty of God are manifest when it comes to the doctrine of election. Most will agree with you that God can do whatever He wants with the planets, the angels and even nature itself, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and the like. But when it is mentioned that God chooses one man and not another, the sparks begin to fly.
Paul in the book of Romans chapter nine lays out for us very plainly that God as potter, has absolute power over the clay. He can and does from the same lump of clay, make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor. All the while there is no unrighteousness found with God. This principle is very plainly manifest in God choosing Jacob and rejecting Esau. He even said, Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated. Be certain that God did not love Esau less than Jacob. That is like saying that God loves sins less than righteousness. He hated Esau with a perfect hatred. Oh yes dear reader there is a doctrine termed “the hatred of God.” We read in Proverbs 6:16-19 these words. “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” There are many references to the hatred of God found within the Bible. However I will be quick to point out that this being an attribute of God, it is holy and pure. It should not be likened unto hatred of men which springs from sin. God can not sin, neither does he author sin, for it is contrary to His very nature. This doctrine is not pleasing to the flesh. We are told to preach all the counsel of God. Not just the things we like or the things that make us feel good. God exercise His sovereignty by loving one and hating another. Regardless of what our emotions tell us we must rest our case on what Gods word has to say about the matter.
Not only as it concerns the doctrine of election, but also in the everyday affairs of this life, God providentially exercises His sovereign rights. Jesus says in Luke 4:25-27: But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
Jesus begins by saying He is telling us a truth. During a time of famine the prophet was sent only to one woman, when there were many in the same condition as she. Why? Because God is sovereign. Why was Naaman the only leper cleansed of leprosy? Again the same answer. Why does God heal some and not others? Why are some given one talent and other given five? Why are some born in America and some born in Ethiopia? Why, why, why, we may ask. The answer will not change. He doeth according to His will among the armies of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth…”
In Matthew 13:11 Jesus tells his disciples; “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” He has the right to give or reveal His truths to some and not to others. This is a foundational principle found in Gods word. The truth is revealed from God, our Father in heaven. See Matthew 16:17. The truth of Gods word is hidden from the wise and prudent and revealed unto babes. To do this seemed good in the sight of God. See Matthew 11:25-26
The bible is clear to tell us that God works all things after the counsel of His own will. See Ephesians 1:11. We have been predestined according to this purpose and will of God. When you understand that God is the all powerful of creation and that all things are possible with Him, and that He has purposed to give us to His Son, it brings much comfort to the weak trembling sinner, whose hope is in their God.
Even the old king Nebuchadnezzar was brought to understand this principle. At one time he began to boast. Daniel 4:30. “The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” Anyone who boasts like this had better be prepared to have their eyes opened to learn who the true sovereign of the universe is. This happened to the king. He was brought low and made to eat grass like an Ox. Afterwards he made this statement in Daniel 4:35. “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”
It is completely fruitless to attempt to resist Gods will, seeing that He possesses all power both in heaven and in earth. He sets kingdoms up and brings them down. He appoints whosoever He wants over these kingdoms. He kills and makes alive. He blesses and withholds blessings. He does whatsoever pleases him. If you have not seen God as the sovereign of the universe then I feel for you. What a wonderful blessing it is to glory and meditate about the things concerning the ALMIGHTY. Some call Him Almighty, but the doctrine they believe denies it. Let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God praying that He will be merciful towards our unbelief and that He will reveal His sovereignty unto us.
This is a subject which could not be exhausted in many year of preaching. The more we study it, the greater it becomes.
To God be all the glory.