PART ONE: The Sovereignty of God Over the Nations:
True or False…God’s Sovereign Rule over Nations is Dependent Upon the Leaders of those Nations Submitting to His Authority. If you answered True…I Am Sorry to Inform You that You have a Low View of God.
HERE’S WHY…The God who Commanded the Universe into Existence and who Sustains the Universe does Not Depend on the Leaders of Nations…Whether that be Presidents, Kings, etc. to carry out His Sovereign Decreed Will.
The Bible describes God as One who is Sovereign. But what does that really mean?
The first time I heard the word Sovereign, it didn’t Fully Register. I was a new Christian, and some tragic news had come to a member in our bible study group. One person in the study said, “I know it’s a Terrible Situation…But I KNOW GOD IS SOVEREIGN!
I remember thinking to myself, “What in the world does that mean?” I had never heard the phrase “God is Sovereign” in my life.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, I discovered that if someone is Sovereign, he’s “the Boss.” He Calls the Shots and has Total Authority. He’s “The King.”
As I investigated further, I learned that God makes numerous claims about Himself in the Bible and Points to Himself as the Ultimate Source of All Power, Authority, and Everything that Exists. God claims to be the King, not just of this planet…But of the Entire Universe.
God is Without Equal: He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, Without Limitation in any Way. He is Outside of Time. He is Infinite. He had No Beginning and He has No End. He is the Ruler of Everything…Including You and Me.
Col 1:17 He is (Existed) Before All Things, and in Him All things Hold Together.
ME: When I think of Sovereignty, the phrase I like best is that “God is in Control.” That’s Comforting! Because When a loved one lies in a hospital bed…I Know, God is in Control. When we think of our most difficult times…We Know, God is in Control. When the Economy…National or Personal, is on a Slide…We Know that God is in Control.
God’s Sovereignty Means that There Isn’t Anything that Will Enter Your Life that God does Not Either Decree or Allow…And Nothing Will Ever Enter Your Life that, if You are Willing to TRUST in Him, He Cannot Work Out for Your Good.
YOU: In light of this, How do YOU typically Respond when things are Out of YOUR Control, when Stuff Happens YOU Don’t Like…But Cannot Do Anything About?
When You’re in a Jam and You Need to Ask God for Something in Prayer are You Aware That The one to whom you pray…The One You’re Talking to has Power over the entire Universe…and Yet He is infinitely Loving and He Cares about You.
This is Also Why We Worship Him…God is More Powerful, More Loving, and More in Control than We Could Ever Imagine!
Listen to Me…because this is Important…The More YOU Begin to See God as He Longs for YOU to See Him, the More Your Prayers will Change and Your Faith Will Be Transformed. You’ll Experience Peace Like Never Before.
PS 33: 6-11 “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars. he puts the deep into storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. 10 The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. 11 But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Psalm 33: 6-12 MESSAGE: The skies were made by God’s command; he breathed the word and the stars popped out. He scooped Sea into his jug, put Ocean in his keg. 8-9 Earth-creatures, bow before God; world-dwellers—down on your knees! Here’s why: he spoke and there it was, in place the moment he said so. 10-12 God takes the wind out of Babel pretense, he shoots down the world’s power-schemes. God’s plan for the world stands up, all his designs are made to last. Blessed is the country with God…for God; blessed are the people He’s put in His will.
Col. 1:16-17: For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
The Bible Makes it Clear…God is Sovereign Over All, including All Nations and All Kingdoms. If He is Not Sovereign Over All, then He is NOT Sovereign at All.
At the end of his life, King David knew this very well as he blessed the Lord. 1 Chronicles 29:10-12 David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.
KEY: As the One who is Exalted as Head Above All and who Rules Over All, God is Truly and Undeniably the Sovereign Lord of All. This Includes Both Nations and their Leaders.
Isaiah 40:23:He brings Princes to Naught and Reduces the Rulers of this World to Nothing.
With That Said…Our Nation is in a Dire Situation…With The Legalization of Same Sex Marriage, the LGBT Agenda and the Upcoming Election, it Doesn’t take An Expert to Understand that Our Nation is in a Descending Spiral of Moral and Spiritual Decline of Epic Proportions…YET… God’s All-Sufficient Word Makes it Clear that Even as we Experience a Spritual and Moral Decline in America…GOD IS IN CONTROL.
Throughout Scripture We See that God Remains Sovereign Over Kings and Heads of State…He Allows Them to Reign “Only Under” His Plan and His Purpose.
For the Next Weeks, we will look at Texts from God’s Word that demonstrate that God Does Indeed Carry out His Plans and His Purposes No matter how Ungodly the Leaders are…Today we will look at two case studies
Case Study #1: Nebuchadnezzar
No less than 3 times In Daniel 4 the decree of God is made plain, so that Nebuchadnezzar would “know that the Most-High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will”.
- In Daniel 4:30, Nebuchadnezzar was so proud that in arrogance he believed that he himself had built Babylon by his own power for his own glory.
- So to show him that the Most High alone gives kingdoms to whom He wills, God brought him down to the lowliest of places, the kingdom taken from him, living with the beasts, eating grass, and “his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws.” We read this about King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4: 24-25.
Dan 4:24-25 “This is the interpretation, Your Majesty, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: 25 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most-High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.”
God Decrees and it Happens. Daniel 4:28-33 says, “28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.” 33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.”
Eventually Nebuchadnezzar realizes the sovereignty of God over all kingdoms!
Daniel 4:34-35 “At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”
Nebuchadnezzar came to the reasoned conclusion that Isaiah the prophet echoed. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. Isaiah 40:17
If You Are Nervous about this Upcoming Election…Remember that God does according to His will and none can stay His hand because God’s Sovereignty Rules Over the Nations and Over the Ungodly Leaders of Those Nations!
Case Study #2: Cyrus: The Word of the Lord is Fulfilled from an Ungodly King.
Ezra 1:1-3 “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 2 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them.”
You ask, “How can this be?” The Answer is found in Proverbs 21:1 “In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.”
Isaiah 46:10-11 “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ 11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do”.
Understand that God’s Control over “all reality” encompasses Your Life Too!
- You may ask…Does that mean that nothing is random or comes by chance? Does God Purpose Everything?
- Isaiah 14:24says, “The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.’”
God Wants You and Me to Understand that…He is Unlimited in Power and is Not Thwarted by Anything Outside Himself.
- He is in Complete Control of Your Circumstances and that should lessen Your fears and give YOU Confidence in Your Future.
The Fact that God’s Sovereignty is Overshadowed by God’s Compassion, His Goodness, Love, Mercy, Compassion, Faithfulness, and Holiness…Gives Us a Clear Understanding of GRACE!
J.I. Packer wrote, “Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God’s Holiness and Sovereignty, Acknowledging Our Own Littleness, Distrusting Our Own Thoughts, and Willing to have Our Minds Turned Upside Down, Can Divine Wisdom Become Ours.”
KEY: God’s Sovereignty Is About Humbling Ourselves and Getting to Know Him
Listen…It is Impossible to TRUST Someone YOU Don’t Know! That’s why an Understanding of God’s Sovereignty Requires that You get to Know God.
All Throughout Scripture God has Proven Himself Trustworthy
- 1 Kings 8:56: “Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses”
If You Think About it…You have No Other Sensible Options Except to Trust God…
- The Only other Options are Trusting in Yourself or other Fallible Beings who are Unpredictable and Unreliable and make Horrible Mistakes and Unwise Choices.
Only God Sees the Past, Present and Future at the Same Time…He is Everywhere Present at All Times…Therefore He is Accurate in His Plans…His Purposes and His Sovereignty!
- God Knows What is Best for You…And When You Get to Know God…You Will Realize You Can Trust Him!
Romans 12: 2-3 tell Us how to Know God: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is [His Sovereignty]—his good, pleasing and perfect will”.
When Problems and Disaster come into Your life, it’s Natural to Wonder Where God’s Sovereignty fits within the Pain. We All have felt the ache of divine silence amid despair.
When You or Your family absorb the blows of unexpected and undesired issues in life, it will be Your Submission to God’s Sovereignty that will Allow You to Experience Contentment in the Midst of Chaos and Adversity! So…What do You Do When Life Goes Sideways?
APPLICATION: You Do what Many in the Bible did…Remind Yourself that God is Good and in Control, even when His Presence Doesn’t Feel Close at that Moment.
- In Job 23:8-9 Job felt that no matter what direction he looked, God seemed absent. But in the Midst of Jobs Story…God Took Job to a Higher Level of Understanding!
- In Ruth 1:20-21 Naomi changed her name to Bitter in a despairing response to the death of her family and livelihood that were permitted by the ‘Almighty’.
- Ever Feel that way? However…In the Story of Ruth we See God was Working a Perfect Plan…Even in the midst of Pain and Loss.
- Each Found Divine Hope Run Alongside their Despair…And So Will We!
When You Cannot See Gods Hand…You Trust His Heart! Because with God There is Always a Sovereign and Perfect Purpose…
James Chapter One makes it clear that God’s Sovereignly Appoints Trials for a Variety of Reasons: Testing, Training Godliness, Disciplining, Comforting Others, and more.
And Regardless of the Specifics in Your Own Situation, All Trials have One thing in Common – They Exist to Bring Glory to God.
Just as a Jeweler Showcases a Diamonds Brilliance by Placing it in Front of a Black, Velvet Backdrop…In the Same Way…God Uses the Backdrop of Trials and Tribulations in Our lives…So that We Will Clearly See the Brilliance of His Care and Love!
- God’s perfection shines more brightly when it’s contrasted against darkness.
- Despair becomes an Opportunity to Showcase Christ’s brilliance in ways that Moments of Pleasure Never Can.
Choosing to Walk in God’s Sovereignty Significantly Impacts How We Respond to All Kinds of Trials and Generates Trust, Hope, Power, and Worship instead.
His Sovereignty Generates Trust…
- God’s Sovereignty fuels Trust because We can Rest in the Knowledge that He is Not Overwhelmed by Our Problems, but has Absolute Authority Over It!
- Colossians 1:17: He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
- Because He is a personal God who is good, we can TRUST His Promise to Work All things together for Our individual Good and His Ultimate Glory.
The Sovereignty of God Empowers Us…Because we know that We Will Not be Tempted Beyond Our Ability During Trials…Listen to Gods Promise
1 Cor. 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
When Human Resilience Ends and Despair Pulls Us Down, His Power Working Through Us Keeps Us Moving Forward.
- God Appoints Trials in Our Lives that are more than We can bear on Our Own…So that Christ can be Seen to Bear the Impossible for Us.
2 Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
His Sovereignty Springs Hope
- From the day that We Surrender Our Lives to Christ, Our Hearts Long for Heaven.
- Sometimes the Pain in our life is healed…Yet other times it remains…Like the Thorn in Paul’s Flesh to Remind Us that this Temporal World is Not Our Home.
When We Allow God-Appointed Trials to Turn Our Eyes toward Eternity, We Will Have True Hope that Glorifies God in the Present, And Strengthens Us to Carry On with His Joy.
Romans 5:3-4: Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Finally, God’s Sovereignty Fuels Our Worship…Suffering will do one of Two Things in Your Life…It Will Either Turn You Inward So That You Focus on Your Pain or loss… OR…It Will Turn Your Heart Upward to Keep Your Eyes on the Lord!
During Trials, You Will Never Truly Worship God as He Desires Until Your Passion for His Glory…Exceeds Your Passion for the Glory of Yourself!
Listen to Philippians 3:8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.
Like Paul…We can Praise Him because We Know He is Sovereign! And It Is Our Faith in His Sovereignty that Generates Trust, Produces Power, and Springs Hope in this Life and the next.
You See…Whether Our Trials are Removed or Remain…Our Worship Declares that His Praise is Our Highest Goal and Ultimate Delight.
POINT: “When You Go Through a Trial, the Sovereignty of God is the Pillow Upon Which You Lay Your Head.” (Charles Spurgeon)