Earlier this week, I was talking to someone about a difficult situation they were facing. I asked them how I could pray for them, and their response humbled me greatly. They simply wanted me to pray that they would be comfortable with God’s will, and whatever that entailed for them. They did not ask for prayer for a specific outcome that they wished to achieve, and it demonstrated their deep understanding (and also, I’m ashamed to say, my own shallowness) of the sovereignty of God and His control over our lives.
In 1 Chronicles 29, King David is motivating the people to give to the Lord by pointing out the sovereignty of God. He notes that everything they have belongs to the Lord anyway, and that even the most treasured of their possessions are but gifts from God, who rules and superintends over every detail of our lives. In verse eleven, He states:
“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.”
I often wonder how many times we forget this simple truth. How often do we forget that everything in this world belongs to the Lord? How often do we view ourselves as being in control of our realm, and others as being in control of their realm? We see ourselves as the captain of our ship, and that we have earned and deserved that which we have accumulated, and it is therefore our right to be in charge of our lives and decisions.
Everything in the world belongs to the Lord. Most importantly, this includes all the individuals that comprise the human population – to include you and me. You belong to the Lord. The Lord created you for the purpose of knowing and loving Him, for your life to somehow glorify His Name, and to spread the wonderful news of His love.
Part of this involves His divine superintendence over our affairs. There are many times when we simply do not know what to do, or what the outcome of our decisions will be. It is in those times that we trust most faithfully in the Lord and His sovereignty over our lives. As we give ourselves to Him, and as we trust in His omnipotence and omniscience, we find incredible liberty in the freedom to exercise our own will and yet the assurance that we cannot exceed the confines of His will being accomplished through us.
I recently read an illustration of A.W. Tozer’s which deals with the sovereignty of God and the freewill of the individual. I hope that it helps to cement the fact that, as Christians, we have a tremendous assurance in the fact that God is sovereign. No matter what happens in our lives, God is in control and He is always faithful to use our life circumstances to bring us into a greater understanding of who He is and to accomplish His glorious purposes through us.
“An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. On board the liner are several scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port. Both freedom and sovereignty are present here and they do not contradict each other. So it is, I believe, with man’s freedom and the sovereignty of God. The mighty liner of God’s sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history. God moves undisturbed and unhindered toward the fulfillment of those eternal purposes which He purposed in Christ Jesus before the world began. We do not know all that is included in those purposes, but enough has been disclosed to furnish us with a broad outline of things to come and to give us good hope and firm assurance of future well-being. We know that God will fulfill every promise made to the prophets; we know that sinners will someday be cleansed out of the earth; we know that a ransomed company will enter into the joy of God and that the righteous will shine forth in the kingdom of their Father; we know that God’s perfections will yet receive universal acclamation, that all created intelligences will own Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of God the Father, that the present imperfect order will be done away, and a new heaven and a new earth be established forever. Toward all this God is moving with infinite wisdom and perfect precision of action. No one can dissuade Him from His purposes; nothing can turn Him aside from His plans. Since He is omniscient, there can be no unforeseen circumstances, no accidents. As He is sovereign, there can be no countermanded orders, no breakdown in authority; and as He is omnipotent, there can be no want of power to achieve His chosen ends. God is sufficient unto Himself for all these things.”
Each week this blog will be updated with a word for the week from my current studies.