Relevant devotions and news updates of current events from a Biblical standpoint.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Who's in Charge Here?
Who's in Charge Here?
We hear a lot about the sovereignty of God and the doctrinal debates and heated discussions that follow. So I was a little reluctant to share on this subject.
So I'll give a little introduction to why this subject has come to mean so much to me.
My story: I was brought up believing we "control" our destiny and sometime the devil does, and sometimes God does. But God only controls our destiny when we don't let the devil or self in. So basically, God is in control in a very limited way. In 1988 it all came to a head when my world went into a whirlwind of stuff. I was convinced the devil and I had so messed up things that God couldn't fix the mess. Then in 1992 I heard a message of a cassette tape by a minister, that started to open my eyes just a little bit about our sovereign God. Then, I really started to see and understand our God is sovereign in 2002/2003 AND am still growing in that understanding. But atleast I can now answer the question: Who's in Charge Herewith my Almighty and Sovereign God.
I am not a know it all, but I do hope that some of what follows from the scriptures will minister hope, peace, and a belief in a God who is bigger and watch's over ALL your circumstances.
For the sake of devaluing my thoughts and exalting the Bible I have put in smaller font my "commentary". So that if you are having a hard time with "me" then atleast read the scriptures put in red for ease in reading.
I'm always here for God's body and to Glorify God in all I say and do!
Today, we will lightly cover that exact subject, as it is quite vast.
The Sovereignty of God is the biblical teaching that all things are under God's rule
and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission.
God weaves the strands of life
Into a perfect tapestry.
And though His plans for us
May sometimes seem a mystery.
If we but trust Him,
Even when we do not understand,
Our lives can be great works of art,
designed by His own hand…
by Emily Matthews
Sometimes we are exhorted to try to make our own way through life. This is an
unbiblical idea. It is the Lord who orders our steps. He is weaving together a beautiful
tapestry in our lives and in this world. This tapestry is to be a display of His glory. If I try to weave it myself, it would turn out to be rather ugly. God is the Weaver.
How far does God's authority really extend? Is He sovereign over everything or just some things? Is He intimately involved in the details or just the general plan? And if He's not in charge, then who is?
Three Options: Yes, there are actually only three options to choose from:
1. Chance - There is no God. Everything that happens is unplanned and accidental.
2. Dualism - Authority is shared between two (or more) gods who are at cross
purposes with one another.
3. God controls and has authority over everything.
Let's look at this not from an emotional standpoint, but based on what the Bible says:
1. The LORD is Intimately Involved with All Things:
He determines the roll of the dice --
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. - Proverbs 16:33
Not one sparrow alights upon the ground apart from God's direction --
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. - Matthew 10:29
God directs through the decisions of government leaders -- The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; He directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. - Proverbs 21:1
God causes affluence and creates calamity --
I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. - Isaiah 45:5-7
The LORD has a plan and works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will Ephesians 1:11
Therefore, no plan of man can succeed against the LORD --
There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD. - Proverbs 21:30
2. The LORD Directs the Decisions and Destinies of Men and Women\
A man's mind may plan his way, but the LORD is the one who determines his steps - Proverbs 16:9
No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. -- Psalm 75:6-7
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. -- Psalm 139:15-16
3. The Scriptures Are Not Afraid to Confirm that Even the Actions of the Wicked are Ultimately Under God's Control:
The LORD works out everything for His own ends - even the wicked for a day of disaster (Proverbs 16:4).
The evil actions of Joseph's brothers were ordained by God to accomplish His purposes.
Joseph said to his brothers, "But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance." -- Genesis 45:7
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. - Genesis 50:20
The decisions of Herod, Pilate, Caiaphas, and others to destroy Jesus were part of the plan of God
Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. -- Acts 4:27-28
Even Satan works under God's control and unwittingly accomplishes God's purposes.
Compare 1 Chronicles 21:1 with 2 Samuel 24:1. See also Job 1:20-22; 2:10; 42:11.
The biblical view of man -- indeed, of the whole universe -- pictures a God who has made men in His image and the world to reflect His goodness. It reveals Him busily involved in all the processes of nature and society, upholding the universe by the word of His power, working all things according to the counsel of His will and for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. He is shown to be the God who "doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence."
While God certainly does usesecondary causes -- like genes, the environment, and all the other "impersonal" forces -- at bottom, He is at work in them all, accomplishing His good purposes to glorify Himself by the manifestation of His mercy and His justice. The whole universe is personally attended to by the living God; and men.
What a far cry from the picture of an impersonal, uncaring, even savage universe that is painted for us by the best minds of evolutionary science. This is not an impersonal cosmos, and the people with whom we share it are not simply the products of chance, time, and impersonal material particles and processes. And we must give more acknowledgment and thanksgiving to God who visits His creation for the purposes of His glory than this sad generation has been willing to give.
THE BIG QUESTION:
What Difference Does It Make to Believe That the LORD is Sovereign and thus in Control of All Things?
It challenges our small-minded images and concepts of God. -- We live in an age when the world and many churches are willing to acknowledge the existence of a god. But the god that is acknowledged by the world and preached about in many churches is not the powerful, sovereign, all-ordaining LORD of the Scriptures. This modern version of deity is an emasculated caricature of the God of the Bible. He is a buddy who we can use in times of trouble, but don't need to bother about when things are going good. Or He is the "good" god who fights against Satan, sickness, and weak finances when we give Him permission (-- this is just another form of dualism).
The true God that we see in the Bible is God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:15-16).
We need to get our view of God up to Biblical standards, no matter how difficult it may be to reconcile man's freewill, the problem of evil, and God's sovereignty.
These questions have Biblical answers, but we will only understand them when we are willing to believe what the Bible says about the LORD. The Bible affirms a completely sovereign God who is involved at some level in every action, every event, and every decision ever made throughout all eternity.
We realize our absolute dependence upon God for any blessing, any mercy, or any goodness. My times are in your hand (Psalm 31:15). We are completely dependent upon God for anything good that happens to us. People who have a proper view of God have a deeper trust in God, are more humble, and are less fretful during times of trouble.
We find a greater security in the Christian life when we accept that less depends on us and more depends on God. The God we read about in the Bible is not only willing, but able to keep us -- Jude 1:24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.
John 6:39 Jesus said, "And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I WILL raise him up at the last day."
Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing good, bad, or evil will happen to me without first passing through my Heavenly Father's hands, so I know that all things do work together for the good for me (Romans 8:28).
God's plan for your life
of the day.
In closing, my prayer is NOT that this devotion/teaching will cause any conflict in the hearts of saved man, but that we will truly see who's in charge and accept His working in our lives, EVEN when it doesn't all make sense now, as someday it will (most likely when we see Him face to face in Eternity).