Why now? Why are we studying the sovereignty of God? Because we have questions! What is the future of this nation? Who is best equipped to lead us in this “new normal” world we find ourselves? How are we to move forward through this health pandemic and social unrest? Does anyone have a plan?
Because we have these questions, it is timely to share a truth that will encourage us during this period of uncertainty and turmoil. It doesn’t seem like anyone has the answers nor is anyone able to guarantee success.
While all this may be true of humanity and our current institutions, the Creator of heaven and earth (Ps. 19:1-6) knows the answers for all our questions. Who then is in a better position to provide us with the answers we need? God is sovereign and He has always had a plan for mankind. What we are experiencing right now is part of that plan.
Knowing God is the “why now”
It is important to continually reinforce our knowledge of who God is. Knowing God is foundational in securing our trust and our confidence (Ps. 27:1-3). This is especially true during difficult times when fear and doubt challenge our faith. When that happens, we can stand firmly on what we know about God and those things which He has revealed to us.
Those things God reveals to us can answer persistent questions concerning not only our life but the lives of those around us, including our nation. How we respond to things revealed become the entry point for God to provide His power, His provision, and His presence.
The Call for Understanding God’s Sovereignty
In his book, The Sovereignty of God, A.W. Tozer, pastor, author, and spiritual mentor, cries out for renewed understanding of God’s sovereignty.
Present day conditions call loudly for a new examination and new presentation of God’s omnipotence, God’s sufficiency, God’s sovereignty. From every pulpit in the land it needs to be thundered forth that God still lives, that God still observes, that God still reigns. Faith is now in the crucible; it is being tested by fire, and there is no fixed and sufficient resting-place for the heart and mind but in the throne of God. What is needed now, as never before, is a full, positive, constructive setting forth of the Godhead of God.
It is in the context of God’s sovereignty that we can manage our fears and minimize our anxieties. The uncertainties and insecurities we experience today can now be transferred to God who is the only one who can do something about them (2 Cor. 12:9).
Moving from head to heart
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the sovereignty of God (and you know I love nuts and bolts), it is important to remind ourselves that what we learn about God is not to be reduced to “mere academics”.
We must apply this truth (as with all truth) not only to our minds but also to our hearts. If we do the former without the latter, we might know that God is sweet but we will never taste His sweetness (Ps. 34:8).
Defining the Sovereignty of God
Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a functional term designating supreme legitimate authority over some political entity. It is the ultimate overseer, or authority, in the decision-making process of the state and in the maintenance of order.
The sovereignty of God refers to His position of supreme authority and power. He rules over and owns everything because He made everything. Much like man’s sovereignty, God has legitimate authority over His universe. As the sovereign One, God has a predetermined plan and purpose for everything that happens in that universe. Not only does He have a plan (Ep. 1:11) but God oversees and makes decisions which fulfill His divine plan. God upholds all things and all things owe their existence to Him (Heb. 1:3).
The Right to Supreme Authority
God’s sovereignty is a natural consequence of His omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. God is described in the Bible as all-powerful and all-knowing (Psalm 147:5), outside of time (Exodus 3:14; Psalm 90:2), and responsible for the creation of everything (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1). These divine traits set the minimum boundary for God’s sovereign control in the universe, which is to say that nothing in the universe occurs without God’s permission.
God has the power and knowledge to prevent anything He chooses to prevent, so anything that does happen must, at the very least, be allowed by God. When we speak of the sovereignty of God, we mean He rules the universe. The debate begins when and where His control is direct and when it is indirect. This will be explored at a later time.
God’s Plan Unfolding in His Sovereignty
With everything that is occurring in our nation and our cities, it’s easy to wonder if God really cares about us. There are those who have a cartoonish view of God’s sovereignty.
God’s relationship with His creation is pictured as “a man viewing an ant in a fish bowl”. He is seen as distant, detached, and disconnected. That may be how we feel as we view the world around us today. But as I stated at the beginning of this teaching, God has a plan.
The Triune God orchestrated their plan before the creation of the world. That redemptive plan (Rom. 5:2) has been unfolding through the history of mankind and continues even today in the 21st century.
As chronicled from Genesis to Revelation, God has an eternal plan that restores man’s fellowship with God by the creation of an escape from death’s curse (Romans 5:2) and the rediscovery of the spiritual life. It is God’s plan to bring mankind to Himself (Eph. 1:7-11) and ultimately to a new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1).
It is by His divine power and gracious will that we live, and move, and have our meaning (Acts 17:28). Knowing God is sovereign is enough to give us a good hope (2 Thess. 2:16). It is enough to assure us of our future well-being (Jer. 29:11).
 Insight for Living Canada