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Enjoying God Blog

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These are chaotic times, as if I even needed to remind you. Global pandemics. Devastating earthquakes. Rampant crime. Ever-accelerating conflict in the Middle East. Economic confusion. Gender wars. Blatant sexual immorality. Crisis at the southern border. And on and on the list goes.

I think it is time to pause and find comfort in knowing that God is not wringing his hands, pacing the floors of heaven with furrowed brow, scratching his forehead trying to figure out what to do next. People often ask me, “Sam, how do you maintain any degree of composure in the chaos? What accounts for yours, or anyone’s, capacity to remain calm and confident?” The answer is found in Psalm 115:3 – “Our God [my God, your God] is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”

The next few articles on this blog will revisit what Scripture says about the sovereignty and providential power of our God. I will not base my beliefs on logic or what seems right and fair and reasonable, but solely on what I see in the inspired Word of God. In most cases that follow I will only cite the texts, leaving it to you to look them up and ponder their meaning.

Let’s begin with God’s sovereignty over nature and weather.

Psalms 104; 105:16; 135:7; 147:7-20; 148; Job 9:5-10; 26:5-14; 37:1-24; 38:8-38; Mark 4:39,41. Other texts:

“It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom; and by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens. When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, and brings out the wind from His storehouses” (Jer. 10:12-13).

“Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain? Or can the heavens grant showers? Is it not Thou, O Lord our God? Therefore we hope in Thee, for Thou art the one who hast done all these things” (Jer. 14:22).

“And furthermore [declares the Lord], I withheld the rain from you while there were still three months until harvest. Then I would send rain on one city and on another city I would not send rain; one part would be rained on, while the part not rained on would dry up” (Amos 4:7).

Praise God that he is also sovereign over kings and presidents and nations.

We read in Daniel 1:2 that “the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his [Nebuchadnezzar’s] hand” (see also Jer. 25:1-12; Isa. 10:5-14).

“The Lord gave” . . . Ultimately it was neither the sin and weakness of Jehoiakim nor the brilliance and strength of Nebuchadnezzar, not even the impotence or inactivity of God, but the sovereign good pleasure of Yahweh that determined the historical outcome (cf. Dan. 2:20-23). The Israelites “are not mere pawns on a political and geographical chessboard. To be in the hand of Nebuchadnezzar is not to be out of the control of God” (Goldingay, 22).

I urge you to also read Daniel 2:37-38; 4:25,30,32; 5:18,20,21; Isaiah 10:5-13; 40:23-24.

Our God is also sovereign over people and their hearts (that includes you and me!). There are far too many texts that assert this truth, but two will suffice:

“Then God said to him [Abimelech] in a dream, ‘Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her [Sarah, the wife of Abraham]” (Gen. 20:6).

Notice that Abimelech is credited with acting out of the integrity of his heart, and yet it was God who ultimately prevented him from having sexual relations with Sarah. You may ask, how is it possible for Abimelech’s decision to be one of integrity if it is God who acted in such a way to prevent him from sinning? As difficult as it may be for you to grasp this truth, the sovereignty of God does not exonerate people from their wicked and sinful behavior nor does it undermine the moral value of their righteous choices. That is the beauty of compatibilism, the principle that God’s sovereignty and human moral accountability are perfectly compatible. Don’t let human logic blind you to this truth, for it is found repeatedly in Scripture.

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov. 21:1).

Abimelech’s heart was in the hand of the Lord and he did as our sovereign God had determined.

See also Prov. 16:9; Exodus 3:21-22; 12:35-36; 34:23-24; Deut. 2:30; Joshua 11:20; Judges 7:2-3,22; 1 Sam. 14:6,15,20; 2 Sam. 17:14; 1 Kings 12:15; 20:28-29; 2 Chron. 13:14-16; Ezra 1:1,5; 6:22; 7:27; Isa. 45:4-5; Acts 4:27-28; 2 Cor. 8:16-17; Rev. 17:17.

God is completely sovereign over the closing and opening of the womb. Men and women do not ultimately have control over whether they will conceive a child. It is always and ever in God’s hand. See Gen. 16:2; 29:31; 1 Sam. 1:5; Judges 13:3.

Yes, God is also sovereign over everything (including evil) in general.

Genesis 50:20 (cf. Ps. 105:17); Exodus 4:11 (disease and disability); Job 2:10 (cf. James 5:11); 42:2; Ps. 115:3; Prov. 16:33; 21:31; Isa. 45:7 (virtually all of Isa. 42-48); Lam. 3:37-38; Daniel 4:32,35; Amos 3:6; Matthew 10:29-31; Acts 4:27-28; Eph. 1:11; 2 Cor. 12:7.

God is sovereign over life and death.

See Deut. 32:39; 2 Samuel 12:15; James 4:14-15; 1 Samuel 2:6-7.

Even destructive animals are under the direction of our sovereign God. When the Assyrians populated Samaria with foreigners, 2 Kings 17:25 says, “Therefore the LORD sent lions among them which killed some of them.”

And in Daniel 6:22, Daniel says to the king, “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths.” Other Scriptures speak of God commanding birds and bears and donkeys and large fish to do his bidding. Which means that all calamities that are owing to animal life are ultimately in the control of God. He controls the invisible animal and plant life that wreaks havoc in the world: bacteria and viruses (yes, even Covid-19) and parasites and thousands of microscopic beings that destroy health and life. If God can shut the mouth of a ravenous lion, then he can shut the mouth of a malaria-carrying mosquito and nullify every other animal that kills.

Yes, our God is sovereign, as he “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11).

3 Comments

To Harv above- perhaps the Father sent it in order for the Son to be revealed as who He was
Sam Storms; always a voice of reason! … because God still reigns.
yes many scriptures say God is sovereign over weather, yet Jesus rebuked a storm. Mark 4:39 says: "He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm."
Was Jesus rebuking a storm his father soverneignly sent? I genuinely would like to know.

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