Is God Really Sovereign? Or is it: Random Chance And Happenstance?
Perhaps your answer might be something like: Well, of course He is! That’s my answer too. Theologically, I know God is sovereign. However, the practical, everyday ramification of God’s sovereignty is permeating me more than it ever has before.
I can’t define the sovereignty of God. I can’t even begin to put proper words of explanation to it. The sovereignty of God is something that, somehow, has to resonate within a person by the Holy Spirit’s working. When that happens, no attempt to understand or define it is necessary. You just sort of … know.
Here’s a verse I’ve been rolling around in my mind the last several days.
Job 23:14 – “For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.”
Matthew Henry has a great note on this verse in his commentary that I’d like to share with you.
“Whatever happens to us, it is God that performs it (Ps. 57:2), and an admirable performance the whole will appear to be when the mystery of God shall be finished. He performs all that, and that only, which was appointed, and in the appointed time and method. This may silence us, for what is appointed cannot be altered. But to consider that, when God was appointing us to eternal life and glory as our end, he was appointing to this condition, this affliction, whatever it is, in our way. This may do more than silence us, it may satisfy us that it is all for the best; though what he does we know not now, yet we shall know hereafter. He does many things in the course of his providence which we can give no account of, but must resolve into his absolute sovereignty. Whatever trouble we are in others have been in the like. Our case is not singular; the same afflictions are accomplished in our brethren (1 Pt. 5:9). Are we sick or sore, impoverished and stripped? Are our children removed by death or our friends unkind? This is what God has appointed for us, and many such things are with him. Shall the earth be forsaken for us?”
That’s a very good expression regarding the sovereignty of God.
Presently, I’m reading To The Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson. It’s a book about the life of Adoniram Judson. He was a missionary to Burma in the early 1800’s. If you haven’t read this book, please do yourself a favor and get it. There are so many things to say about this book that I don’t even know where to begin.
Let me just say that one of the reasons this book is so powerful is that he (and his wives) were very human people that were able, through all the blessings and trials, to take God at His word. But, they didn’t live their lives without acknowledging and dealing with their own humanness. They were very human. That’s what I have found so encouraging.
What sustained them in-and-through it all was that they knew, in all aspects of their lives, the majesty of God’s sovereignty. As I work my way through this book, I find myself shaking my head and wondering if I could/would live to the glory of God in similar circumstances. So far the answer is … probably not.
And, you know what? They didn’t keep the Sabbath, the festivals, the dietary instructions, or wear funny strings. None of that.
That, in part, is why I can’t throw all “Christians” under the bus – so to speak. We pale to the likes of so many of our “Christian” forefathers. We do ourselves a big disservice as Hebrew roots people if we discard our rich Christian heritage.
I’m willing to bet that if we Hebraics were to be completely truthful with ourselves after reading a book like this — we’d hang our heads in shame. Sure, we’re doing it all more “right” but we’re still doing it all so wrong. As I’ve said before: We are, in so many ways, still Greek in our thinking. We now measure ourselves by a different set of practices and conclude we’re better than what we were before.
Maybe we need to look at the life of an Adoniram Judson and pray:
“Father, help me first to refocus my attention on You and Your word apart from any set of practices. I desire to be conformed to the image of Your Son, my Saviour. Work Your sovereign will in-and-through my life to the point where You are the only thing that matters to me.”
Romans 12:1-2 —I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
“A living sacrifice … unto God.”
That’s a good place for us to refocus our attention.