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Series Introduction| Knowing God | The Revelatory God | Goodness of God | Holiness of God | Power of God | Omnipresent God | Exalted God | Faithfuness of God | Wisdom of God | Mercy of God | Wrath of God | Love of God | Sovereignty of God | Providence of God
– The Sovereignty of God –
Introduction: In order to gain a proper perspective of the sovereignty of God, it is critical that we observe both what the Bible teaches about the sovereignty of God and how the godly man's life is practically worked out.
There are many Bible verses that explicitly and implicitly speak about the sovereignty of God. A few are discussed below.
The Only Sovereign (1 Timothy 6:15-16)
“Which He will bring about at the proper time-He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen” (1 Timothy 6:15-16 NASB).
He probably refers to God the Father due to the later description ‘whom no man has seen.’ In either case, God is being described here.
Sovereign (root: dynamos) emphasizes His complete power to perfectly execute His will. ‘Only’ emphasizes that no other force or power can frustrate His purpose.
King of kings describes God’s authoritative position of majesty, full ruler of the land (Root: to act as king, to reign (Greek and Hebrew)). The Ruler decides what He wants.
Lord of lords (Greek: kurios) emphasizes the duty of full obedience. As Lord of lords, His word has the last say and calls for full submission of our wills to carry out His purposes.
This passage comes from many different vantage points declaring the Lord’s sovereignty. His point is, it seems, that no matter how much we might fuss and hate God’s sovereignty, it is still true. The earlier we come to terms with His absolute power, the better for our lives.
“His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalm 103:19)
There is no doubt that this verse wonderfully summarizes the teaching of the sovereignty of God. God’s sovereignty is all about His rule or control. The Hebrew word here for sovereignty derives from the word for rule or to be king (malkuwth), similar to the Greek usage mentioned above.
His control is over all things. With God there is no limitations imposed from others. He rules as He pleases.
Notice the verse says, “His sovereignty” rules over all rather than “The Lord rules over all.” God’s control is so complete that there is no question about His absolute power and never can be.
God’s power is so absolute that He can easily establish or take another’s sovereignty away.
“King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you” (Daniel 4:31). Remember King Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the largest world empire. God speaks and the most powerful becomes the despised and hidden.
God’s involvement (1 Kings 19:10-12)
When we think about God’s sovereignty, we might first think of His mighty power, infinite wisdom and involvement in this world’s affairs. He rules. He is mighty. Lightning and storms help us understand the absolute sway of His hand.
Sovereignty speaks of the perfect implementation of His will while His omnipotence addresses His absolute power.
It is important to avoid the unbiblical excesses of fate and chance. Fate is that blunt execution of God’s will, trampling over the individual’s concern. Chance is the uncaring and erratic treatment of what He created. His sovereignty, however, combines the details of every affair aspect of life, blends them with a full knowledge of our person’s and ends up as historical events and individuals.
Note this passage from 1 Kings. Elijah is complaining about God’s limit of His power over evil–as if God does not care. The evil Queen Jezebel has vowed to mercilessly kill Elijah. He flees and now confronts God. God’s answer is mystifying but addresses what we are trying to say.
"He said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD was passing by!
And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing” (1 Kings 19:10-12).
God has all power, but He is also gentle enough to carefully work in and through people to accomplish His purposes. He is speaking to Elijah. God has carefully preserved 400 prophets who have not bowed to another god.
The Lord is all wise but listens to our thoughts. His greater power is seen through the gentle blowing of the wind rather than the mighty storm. What does this mean? It seems to reveal that God is merciful and patiently working with mankind. In His subtle way He is generally involved in all the affairs of mankind, even when it comes to our individual design and purpose.
All of God’s Attributes
When discussing God’s sovereignty, all of His attributes become key.￼
When we begin to think of God’s amazing sovereignty, we find that all of His attributes come alive! Without His power, He would have no control. Without His omniscience, He would not know what is best or what would come as a result of some act.
Without God’s omnipresence in man’s affairs through His Spirit, He would not be able to work along with our lowly lives. Without His goodness, His sovereignty would be anything but comforting.
With His mercy, God’s sovereignty can be trusted to pour out special patience towards us as we carry out His will. (See Abraham as an example).
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988