The Sovereignty of God”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
Have you ever asked yourself, “Who’s in charge of _______ (you fill in the blank)?” When the evil of men is observed, this question of authority rises to a higher degree of relevance.
Rather than answer the question, we would often rather fix the blame. We blame everyone from society to God. We blame everyone except the actual perpetrators. Concerning fixing the blame, there are still some who blame America for 9-11. The fact is, evil men flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, murdering thousands.
It is reasonable, even necessary to investigate fully what happened. It is prudent to seek ways for the prevention of such evil in the future. But, placing the blame in the right place or studying prevention still does not answer the question, “Who’s in charge?” Since, I believe the question is so important, I’d like to offer the answer and then explain my basis for it.
God is in charge! By the plain meaning of the word, “God”, He must be in charge or He’s not God. God has absolute authority over all His Creation, even the evil one, Satan, is under God’s authority, CF Job 1,2.
God has revealed His Character, Name, in the Bible. The Bible is God’s self-revelation. He has revealed His character by way of declaring His attributes. One of God’s attributes is His sovereignty.
Years ago, a man in a church that I served was concerned about using the word “sovereignty”. He said no one understood that word anymore. My response to him was that we shouldn’t stop using words because people may not understand them. Rather, it would be more edifying if we explained the meaning of important words such as sovereignty. (The organized church has been tasked with building up the body not reducing it to the lowest common denominator, CF Ephesians 4:11-16.) It is this word, sovereignty, which provides the answer to our question. We know God is in charge because He is sovereign. Jesus said “All authority in heaven and earth” had been given to Him, Matthew 28:18. Jesus’ declaration to His disciples is a statement of absolute authority!
God not only revealed His sovereignty by declarative statements such as Matthew 28:18, but He also revealed it through the historic narratives. One such historical narrative is recorded in Daniel 4:34-37. The human author, Daniel, a faithful worshiper of God, recorded an incident that involved a king who thought he was the be-all and the end-all. The king’s name was Nebuchadnezzar. He was a ruthless man, king of the ancient Babylonian Empire. This king had a very confusing dream about a huge tree that “a holy one from heaven” ordered to be chopped down. God empowered Daniel to interpret the dream. Daniel’s interpretation predicted that the king would be humbled until he acknowledged the one true God. The tree in the king’s dream was him.
After a time, because of the king’s pride, God drove him mad. He made him act and appear like a wild beast. At the time appointed by God, the king’s senses returned to him. Daniel recorded what the king said. Nebuchadnezzar said this about God, “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and He does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?”’
This radical statement was spoken by a pagan king. The king was humbled by God and caused by Him to see the truth. He declared that all creatures are under the sovereign authority of God. He rules over every man’s actions and He holds him responsible. This great and mighty ruler who thought he was a god was used by God to declare His absolute authority.
Unfortunately, many churches erroneously teach that God’s sovereignty is somehow qualified by man’s “free” will. Yet, the Bible says God will make even the mighty submit to Him either now or when Jesus returns. God is sovereign whether or not man submits to Him. God’s rule is absolute. God is in charge regardless of whether we think He is or not! Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings, whether we believe it or not. This is our comfort in the face of evil. S.D.G. (Soli Deo Gloria)