God Is In Control!

 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)

No human being, no body of experts on this planet in control of world affairs. Some megalomaniacs like to think they are. Like a heavy machine operator down at the docks, they like to think they have their hands on the levers of power; but these puppet masters usually get that fantasy trammeled out of them long before they are crushed  under the stampeding feet of reality. Like chess masters they are able to move the pawns and kings and knights and bishops to their advantage only for awhile; but eventually they discover that they have an 800 pound Siberian tiger by the tail which has a mind of its own.  Like a tiger that has suddenly escaped from the Zoo and ran into town everything unexpectedly, dramatically, spins out of control. Events in history are not like a radio controlled train going down the track. The unknown, the unforeseen can hit you with all the power of a 9/11. In a flash, death, disease, war, famine, any endemic, a terrorist attack, an assassination, can change everything.

Only God Is Sovereign.

Let us turn to one of the greatest inventions of man the Dictionary and see how Webster defines the word ‘Sovereignty. Webster defines Sovereignty’ like this: “above or superior to all others; chief, greatest, supreme…independent of all others.” In other words, when we say God is Sovereign, we’re saying He’s the boss. He calls the shots and has the authority. What he says goes. No one tells him what to do. He is over and above ALL things—good and bad. I mean, there is no such thing as partial sovereignty. To be sovereign is to be absolutely superior to everyone and everything.

Like the inscription in the Dome of the Capitol in Washington which says,                                                                                             

“One far-off divine event toward which the whole creation moves.”

The phrase I like best when it comes to this attribute is this: “God Is In Control.” His hands are on the wheel of history; his hands are on the steering wheel of your life. I am well aware that scares some people to death; but to Bible believers the thought brings a great deal of comfort and joy.

I was talking to a middle aged man several days ago who told me how he had just returned from the hospital to visit his forty-two year old friend who has a life threatening disease. What do you do at a time like that when you are so out of control; when parents who have wayward children; when a  business man is  facing a mountain of debt so high that he can’t see over the top of it for the next ten years?   Whenever life gets that tough there is only one thing I can rest in; and that is that God is Sovereign, that God is Still in Control. I remind myself of that over and over again; my completely faithful, all-wise, all-powerful, loving heavenly Father is Sovereign, is in complete control . I know He is—not only from personal experience but also because the Bible repeatedly teaches us that divine sovereignty is an attribute of God.

Sample Texts of God’s Sovereignty: (New Century Version)

Proverbs 19:21, “People can make all kinds of plans, but only the Lord’s plan will happen.”

Proverbs 16:9, “People may make plans in their minds, but the Lord decides what they will do.”

Proverbs 21:30, There is no wisdom, understanding, or advice that can succeed against the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:37, “Nobody can speak and have it happen unless the Lord commands it.”

Revelation 3:7, Write this to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: “This is what the One who is holy and true, who holds the key of David, says. When he opens a door, no one can close it. And when he closes it, no one can open it.”  

And one more Job 42:2, I know that you can do all things and that no plan of yours can be ruined.”  

All these texts proclaim the consoling fact that nothing will enter our lives that our loving Heavenly Father does not either decree or allow. His will is always done.

God is not a deistic grandfather who wound up the clock of the universe but has no personal control or interest in it. Thank God that deistic worldview that only a few of the Founding Fathers had has been kicked to the curb like an empty bean can. God has a virtual and vital interest both in this universe and in the affairs of men.  From the micro level to the macro level God is in control

His Titles.

We see God’s Sovereignty revealed in his titles.  Here is a few of them.                                                                                                                               

Genesis 15 Abraham refers to God as, The Sovereign Lord.                               

Psalm 47:2 says God is, “…the Lord most high, the great king over all the earth!”    

Revelation 1:8 Jesus says, I am the Alpha and the Omega…. the Almighty.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

In  1st Timothy 6:15 Paul refers to God as, “…the King of kings and Lord of lords.”                                                                                                                                             

In Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I Am Who I Am,” meaning. I Am totally self-existent.

These and many titles more set Him above anyone or anything else.

History.

 History is really His-story, the working out of his sovereign will.

For example Lenin the leader of the arrogant atheist Soviet Union, bragged, “We will pull that bearded God out of the sky.” But today his pickled body lies on display in the Kremlin. China is no exception; today the 80 million strong Church is growing at faster rate than ever before.  

Back in the 1960’s many opponents of Civil Rights thought the movement was buried with Rev. Martin Luther King himself. But not so!  After the assassination of King James Bevel with the voice of a gathering storm roared into the contrary winds of racism; “There’s a false rumor going around that our Leader is dead. Our Leader is not dead. Martin Luther King, Jr. is not our leader.” At this he paused and let those present absorb the implication of his words. Then he continued by saying, “Our [real] leader…is the Man Who led Moses out of Israel. Our [real] Leader is the Man Who went with Daniel into the lion’s den. Our [real] Leader is the Man Who walked out of the grave on Easter morning! Our Leader neither sleeps nor slumbers. He cannot be put in jail. He has never lost a war yet. Our Leader is still on the case. Our Leader is not dead. One of His prophets died but the movement will not stop because of that.”

How true! Our God is Sovereign. The historical record is clear God is sovereign. Husseins and  Ben Ladens cause him no worry.  He has a firm grip on the steering wheel of history.

He wants you to know that, to believe that, to rest in that. Surely, none of us understand God’s all-wise providence, but we can rest safely in it. 

 Prophecies:

Without a doubt God’s ability to foretell the future and get it right 100% of the time is one of the brightest and most comforting lights shining upon our pilgrim pathway. It tells us that nothing catches him by surprise.  That he has everything under control.  He’s always ahead of the curve.

He prophesied the rise and fall of powerful city-states and empires like Tyre and Sidon and Babylon and Persia and Greece and Rome. Christ prophesied his own birth and death and resurrection and coming again.

The Nation of Israel

 And here’s one more powerful example. Think about this: can you name any people group in all of history that, after being pushed out of its land, and left to wander the earth for over 1800 years and yet to keep its language, religion and national identity? God foretold this nation of bleeding feet that he would one day bring them back to their land to never leave it again. He did this in 1948 when modern day Israel was born. 

Freedeom And Sovereignty

Life is much like an ocean liner sailing from earth to eternity. People are free on the ocean liner to do pretty much as they like. They are not slaves, they are not in chains. They are free to eat and sleep and work and do whatever activities they wish. Freedom and sovereignty both have there place here. One does not contradict the other. But God is still in control. He determines the winds and the waves and the current. He determines the ships port of landing. His eternal purposes are always fulfilled.  Man proposes nut God disposes.

Unbeknown to Emperor Augustus he was only an errand boy for the fulfillment of God’s 500 year old prophecy that a baby would be born in Bethlehem that would change the tide of history. No Alexander the Great, Herod the Great, or Augustus could hope to change that.

He Came Aboard To Show Us That He Loves Us:

A not so very famous philosopher by the name of Soren Kierkegaard’s tells the story of a king who had no queen. And this king loved a humble maiden in his kingdom. Now you must understand, this king was not just any king. In fact there was no king in the entire world that could match his power, wisdom, and grandeur. Every statesman trembled before him. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king had a problem. He was melted by love for a humble maiden. He wondered, how he could declare his love for her? You see, in an odd sort of way, his very kingliness tied his hands. If for example, he brought her to his palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist—no one dared resist him. But would she love him? Really love him? She would say she loved him of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind. Would she be happy at his side? He wanted her to be genuinely happy because he genuinely loved her…but how could he know? And….if he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject as his wife. He wanted someone who would love him…He wanted a partner…a helpmate. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she an humble maiden and let shared love cross over the gulf between them. The king, convinced that he could not elevate the maiden without crushing her freedom, resolved to descend. He clothed himself as a beggar and approached her cottage incognito, with a worn cloak fluttering loosely about him.

Well, in essence that is what God did when He became flesh. In the form of His Son, God descended to our level of existence. In the Man, Jesus, He laid aside His power and privilege and became like one of us. He lived a perfect life and died on the cross as a payment for our sins and He did this to give us a choice. We can accept Him. We can love Him back and serve Him or we can choose to reject Him.

 Believe

The New Year is a voyage, an unchartered sea. There will be calm seas and sunny skies. There will be shoals and reefs and storms. But believe and do not doubt that God Is Sovereign, that he is in control and that he cares for you.

His Sovereignty is meant to lead you to a deeper trust in him.

Remember our opening text in Jeremiah 32:27

“I Am The Lord, The God Of All Mankind. Is Anything Too Hard For Me?”

 NO!  

While we may not be sure what the future holds, we can be sure of the God who holds the future.

 Resting In His Great Love:

 Pastor Bob