(In 2017, I wrote this series for the 40 days prior to Easter to prepare our hearts and minds for the significance of Jesus’ resurrection. I’m reposting the series now for the 40 days after Easter to encourage us to follow through, living in the risen Savior and King.)
In most nations, leaders often debate the merits of bigger or smaller government. Leadership with lots of authority and power can translate to more securities and helps for citizens. But less sovereignty can mean more freedom and responsibility for the people. Is the same true of God?
Does God’s rule provide more protection and help or more freedom and responsibility? Scripture says it’s both.
In fact, there are several passages in God’s Word that clearly proclaim God’s complete sovereignty and human responsibility in a single verse or two. For example, “The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays Him!” (Luke 22:22) And “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:11-12)
God’s Word describes His rule as absolutely sovereign: all authority and power over all of the earth, in all people and matters, all of the time. (Genesis 50:20, Exodus 3:21-22, Deuteronomy 32:39, 1 Chronicles 29:11-12, Job 23:13, Psalm 115:3 and 135:6, Proverbs 16:9 and 21:1, Isaiah 46:9-10 and 55:9-11, Lamentations 3:37, Daniel 4:35, Matthew 28:18, John 6:44, Romans 9:18-25, Ephesians 1:1-11, Colossians 1:11, Revelation 13-7-8, etc.)
And so we pray “… to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
His sovereignty is what explains the general peace in our world (as opposed to natural and man-made disasters on every corner, every day), keeps our hearts beating whether we are awake or sleep, and awakens spiritually dead hearts to turn to Him in love and faith. Our understanding of His complete control is what motivates our prayers for the return of the Church to rightly preaching and teaching His Word, biblical discipleship, outreach, and mercy ministries, for the salvation of family members and friends, for physical healing of our diseases and ailments, for our country’s repentance for godless behaviors and increasingly immoral legislation, for the stability and peace of Iran and North Korea, for our personal finances and more.
For “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
But God’s sovereignty also raises questions and concerns in us.
Why does He seem to answer many if not most of Christians’ prayers with “no” or least “not quite that way”?
What about our freedom of choice?
If God is in control, are we just puppets?
And maybe the biggest: If God is completely sovereign, what is our hope for change?
That is the subject of tomorrow’s devotional.