The Sovereignty of God


Elder Mark D. Rowell

 Job 40:2,8 “Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?”

Among all the lessons that can be found in the Book of Job, one of the more obscure ones (at least it has been for me) is the Sovereignty of God. Much of Job gives us insight into the trials and tribulations that we all face in our lives. Unarguably, Job experienced great sorrow in his life. His reactions – both good and bad – are written and preserved for us to use in dealing with things in our own lives. Sometimes Job, even in his despair, said things of great praise to God. Other times, his statements were rebellious. In many cases, it seems that Job’s complaint could be summed up in one word: Why. And when Job did ask why, God showed him that He is sovereign in ALL that He does, and that no one can ask Him why!

Now Job is not my subject this morning, but it seemed a fitting place to start. As Christian travelers, we often spend much of our time trying to understand both who and what God is. Though we know we cannot understand perfectly while in this flesh body, we spend our time with the desire to know more, or to know as much as we can. Sometimes this knowledge comes in very strange ways. One way we are able to understand God more is during the trials and tribulations we go through. Sometimes, we learn the way Job did: we complain and question until the Lord says, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” Then the answer to the question “Why?” comes crashing into our minds. What is the answer? He is the Almighty!

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying that God is the author of sin or confusion. He is not! But we are able to see His work of mercy and grace during trials and tribulations.

How many times in scripture are we made to realize that God is sovereign in ALL things? How many times do the practical lessons of life bring this realization? We ask why, and God says because “I am that I am!”

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” Isaiah 46:9-10

In His makeup, within His attributes, by who and what He is, and according to His own testimony, God is sovereign. There is none other but God! There is no one or nothing like Him! He moves according to His own will and acts according to His own pleasure. Tell me, who else can do this? Even those mortal dictators who rule outside of any other counsel still tremble and fear from those without that would seek to overthrow their rule. Even in their mortal sovereignty, they are not sovereign. But God, He does not tremble and fear, because there is NONE that could overrule His sovereign will! He. Is. GOD! Do we not draw comfort in that fact? Aren’t we granted peace because we know that He is God and there is none else? That heathen king Nebuchadnezzar is a good example of this. He boasted all that he got for himself, and then he spent seven seasons as a beast of the field before his understanding returned to him. Then God was glorified in Nebuchadnezzar as the king testified: “And all the inhabitants of earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” Daniel 4:35

Even when we DO ask “why?” we are shown that the question fails before we even utter the words because it’s impossible to question God! We can’t stop Him from performing His will, and we can’t ask Him why He does the things He does, or even how He does them, because He is sovereign! We have not the ability to question Him! Could you imagine, just for a moment, that God is not sovereign? If God were like man, He would spend time questioning His decisions, wondering if He made the right choice, and worrying that His decision might be wrong. He would seek the counsel of others in order to make his decisions. How terrible would it be to worship a god such as that!!! If that were the case, then we have no hope because all would be at risk of God not acting according to His own purpose and grace in dealing with His children. Thank the Lord that is not the case! For you see, it is because of God’s sovereignty that Heaven is our home! Just like Paul told Timothy, “Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2 Timothy 1:9 There are other places as well (Ephesians, Romans, etc.) that shows God acted in accordance with His sovereignty in dealing with His children.

Finally, God shows His sovereignty in the Doctrine of Election. Specifically, the ninth chapter of Romans proves His sovereignty once and for all! You see, the biggest concern of those who don’t understand election center around the “lack of fairness” with election. There are those that say, “Election isn’t fair! God isn’t fair to hate Esau!” If we question God’s purpose in election, then we question His sovereignty. But we know that we can’t question His sovereignty, right? Right. So then, we can’t question His work in election. Paul ably quiets the scoffers after presenting when he says:

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion…For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” Romans 9:14,15,17

A little bit further down, he says “Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” You see, there is nothing we can say to or ask of God regarding how He works because He is sovereign! He moves according to His own purpose, will, and grace. Aren’t you thankful that God is sovereign? It proves that when He speaks, it’s done! There is nothing that can overturn the will and purpose of God because of His sovereignty. There is none that can question Him, because He is sovereign. All glory be to Him!

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”