God’s Absolute Sovereignty
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth. Why should the Gentiles say, "So where is their God?" But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. For I know that the LORD is great, and our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places. Psalm 115:1-3, 135:5-6 NKJ
For some the doctrine of God's Absolute Sovereignty is of great hope and comfort. After all, when someone opens fire during a movie, killing and/or wounding dozens of people, who would want a God that was absent, idle, or impotent during such a horrible event. Would we not yearn to know God purposed, for some reason known only to Him, this event for His glory and somehow for our good as His followers? But for some, the opposite is true. They seek to find a way to "acquit" God, as it were, and allow Him to go on being this completely loving and caring god who had no way of stopping such a horrible thing from coming to pass. Or worse yet, perhaps it was all an accident. It was an accident that was unavoidable and all brought about because sometimes bad things happen to good people.
As I am sure you have seen throughout the past couple of weeks via multiple media outlets, our understanding of the sovereignty of God will determine how we respond to tragedy. Our theology will determine our response; praise and worship, bitterness and despair, denial and blame-shifting, etc. What we learn in tragedies is that no doctrine is more despised by the natural mind than the truth that God is absolutely sovereign. Human pride despises and ultimately rejects the suggestion that God orders everything, controls everything, rules over everything. The carnal mind, burning with enmity against God, abhors the biblical teaching that nothing comes to pass except according to His eternal decrees. But it isn't just the carnal mind or unbeliever that struggles with this doctrine; many brothers and sisters in Christ around the world struggle to affirm a God who controls, wills, decrees, and brings to pass only His sovereign will.
It is hard to find a clearer or more forceful assertion concerning the deep truth of God's sovereignty set forth more simply than in the text (Psalm 115) quoted above, as well as in the parallel passage of Psalm 135:6. Clearly, the Psalmist wants us to understand that the kingship of the high and lofty One is involved, and that nothing in the entire universe escapes His sovereign rule over creation and His creatures. Our King's good pleasure (His sovereign will) has been, is being, and will be accomplished throughout the ages. In Psalm 115 a great contrast is set forth, as is indicated by the opening word of verse 3. The unbeliever, the vain idol worshipper, the one who rejects the true and living God, throws a dart at the child of God and seeks to undermine his faith (no doubt Israel is being brought low once again): "Where is now your God?" These unbelievers have their gods, but they cannot speak, or see, or hear, or handle, or walk. Remember they have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, yet when tragedy strikes the believer, they mock us! To this mockery the child of God responds, "But our God is in the heavens; He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased!" Kuyper once wrote: "Today, in many churches, people have a god that is not the work of their hands, but is surely the work of their minds or imaginations, and it differs little from the idols of the heathen. Even many Christians today protest against the presentation of a God who is sovereign, who always does His will, and who does not ask permission nor say please to the creatures He has formed. Protest as they may, they will have to answer to the Scriptures. What does Scripture say? Not what man pleased, not what God and man decide together, but always and only what God has pleased." Here are two thoughts as we reflect and meditate upon the Sovereignty of Almighty God this week:
"If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God's sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled." (Sproul)
"The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. His government is exercised over inanimate matter, over the brute beasts, over the children of men, over angels good and evil, and over Satan Himself. NO revolving of a world, no shining of a star, no storm, no movement of a creature, no actions of men, no errands of angels, no deeds of the Devil-nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed. Here is a foundation for faith. Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil, but the Lord Almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory" (A.W. Pink).