The word sovereign has the word reign in it, as in a king reigning over his kingdom. God’s sovereignty is God’s rule. He rules over the universe. He has the authority to tell the earth to spin and the light to shine. He has authority over what’s going on in the world. He can send a disease or stop its path of destruction.
God is in control, but He’s not controlling. Just because God has the power and authority, doesn’t mean He exercises it in every little thing. We are not just pawns in a big game of chess. He’s not directing our every thought and move. He is big enough and wise enough to allow us our free will. He knows it all, right? He knows our choices and has predestined our time and place so that those choices will lead us to Himself and hopefully bring many others with us. Because of that free will, the world is a messed-up place even though we have a good and powerful God. He lets us see what happens when we live without Him as our king. He could intervene and stop bad things, but He has a bigger purpose in mind. If there were no consequences, how many of us would choose what was good and right? If there were no hell, how many would fear God and seek His narrow way to heaven? He is wise. He understands humans. When we are at ease, comfortable, full, having plenty, we don’t look to Him. We tend to forget Him. When we’re in pain or in trouble, suddenly we’re looking to Him and asking help. Talking about soldiers in battle, the expression goes, “There are no atheists in foxholes,” meaning even someone declaring themselves as not believing in God is suddenly praying when they are a stuck in a trench with guns shooting at him. We need the bad things to turn us to God. He doesn’t want bad things happening, but He does want our salvation and we need to get it from Him. He’s helping us home to Himself, right where we want to be. He is ALWAYS good. We must remember the goodness and love of God when we look at His sovereignty.
Read these verses on sovereignty. What is God’s word teaching you?
1 Chronicles 29:11-12 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
Psalm 103:19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
Genesis 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Psalm 33:10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
1 Chronicles 21:8-15 And David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” And the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, “Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the Lord, Three things I offer you; choose one of them, that I may do it to you.’” So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Choose what you will: either three years of famine, or three months of devastation by your foes while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence on the land, with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me.” Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is very great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell. And God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw, and he relented from the calamity…
Deuteronomy 8:5-6, 10-11 “Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today.” (Continue this thought with the next Scripture portion below.)
Nehemiah 9:25b–28 So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness. “Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies. Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies. But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies.
1 Timothy 2:4 [God] desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Lesson Point: God is in control. He has ALL authority in heaven and earth. He rules over all. He uses His sovereignty not to make our lives easy and comfortable but to bring about His greatest desire, our salvation.
Challenge Question: Can you notice God’s sovereign hand in your life, orchestrating things? Once, I prayed that God would take us out of the city in August. It was an unusual prayer for me for multiple reasons, but it was on my heart. God gave us a miracle vacation. Someone we never saw before or after offered us their home in Finland for the month of August. While we were away, there were violent riots in our neighborhood. God worked it all out perfectly for our benefit and protection, from my prayer, to those in the riots, to the family offering their home.