“If God’s in Charge…”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
There is no “if” necessary! By definition, God is in charge! If there was any circumstance over which God was not sovereign, then He would not be God. There are times when circumstances challenge the truth of God’s sovereignty, like the recent panic over a virus. But make no mistake, God is always in charge. He is sovereign over all of Creation, even diseases.
Two passages of Scripture come to mind concerning God’s sovereign rule. Job 2:10, “… Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” And, Lamentations 3:37-38, “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?”
Both passages were written during times of adversity. The first was Job who answered his wife when God ordained that his health would be taken from him. The second was declared by Jerimiah as he viewed the destruction of Jerusalem while exiled in Egypt.
God revealed His absolute sovereignty throughout Scripture. The Bible is God’s self-revelation. He revealed His character to His people by way of declaring His attributes. One of God’s attributes is His sovereignty.
Years ago, I was questioned by a man in a church that I served. He was concerned about my regular use of the word “sovereignty”. He said no one understood that word anymore. My response 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. Sovereignty means rule. God’s sovereignty eliminates our need to wonder “Who’s in Charge?” We know God is because He sovereignly rules all things. Jesus said “All authority in heaven and earth” had been given to Him, Matthew 28:18. Satan asked the sovereign Lord for permission to cause Job’s suffering, Job 1 and 2.
God not only revealed His sovereignty by declarative statements such as Matthew 28:18, but He also revealed it through historic narratives. One such historical narrative is Daniel 4: 34-37. The Prophet Daniel recorded an incident that involved a king who thought he was the be-all and the end-all. Nebuchadnezzar believed that he was “in charge.” He was a ruthless man, king of the ancient Babylonian Empire. He 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, God drove the king, full of pride, mad. He made him act and appear animal-like. 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. The sovereign Lord caused the king to see the truth. Nebuchadnezzar 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 eternal rule.
Nebuchadnezzar learned the meaning of absolute sovereignty. He was totally broken by the sovereign God of the Universe. This great and mighty king in the Ancient world faced the reality that he was a creature made by a sovereign Creator. All men and women will learn the depth of God’s sovereignty. No matter what worldly position is held, no matter what power is wielded, God remains sovereign.
Men either suppress the truth of God’s sovereignty or try to mitigate it. The Bible says God will make even the mighty submit to His sovereignty either now or when Jesus returns. 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.
Know the sovereign Lord. Don’t panic. God is in charge!