Do You Trust Him?

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Personal Worship Lesson 8

By Claudine Lehman

God is Sovereign.

What does that mean to you?

Tom, a doctoral candidate in the field of physics, once gave this definition:

“The sovereignty of God means that God can do anything He wants to do, any time He wants to do it, any way He wants to do it, for any purpose He wants to accomplish.”

Let’s look at how the Bible defines it:

Psalm 115: 3 “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.”

Daniel 4:35 “All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’”

Ephesians 1:11 “He works all things after the counsel of His will”

Note the words ALL THINGS in that last verse. All things means ALL things—good things, fun things, exciting things, prosperous times, blue skies and sunshine.  It also means bad things, dull things, poor times, crises and storms.

“He works all things after the counsel of His OWN WILL.” He doesn’t consult me or you. Even our crises He “works . . . after the counsel of His own will.”

Does that mean God is the author of evil? Absolutely not. But He is the author of HOW EVIL IS USED.

  • Sometimes God sends evil directly, as in when He sent the plagues on Egypt.
  • Sometimes He allows Satan to send it, as we read in Job.
  • Sometimes He allows the evil that already exists in the world (as a result of Adam’s fall) to touch our lives.

No matter which channel He chooses, God will use that evil “after the counsel of His own will.” The will of God in evil is the same as it is in good—to bring glory to Himself and to benefit His children.

Here are some examples from the pages of history . . .

  1. Pharaoh of Egypt shook his little fist at the God of the Israelites and said, “I refuse to let your people go!” What did the King of Kings say? “Oh, you’ll let my people go, Pharaoh, but not until it’s my perfect timing. Keeping and releasing My people is in MY control, not yours. In fact, it was “for this cause I raised you up, to show in you MY power.” [Exodus 9:16]
  2. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon thought he had all authority and power. From his throne, he proclaimed, “Every knee shall bow to ME.” What did the King of Kings say? “Not so, King Nebuchadnezzar. I have some dear servants whose knees will not bow to you. Consider Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Go ahead, test them and see. They will bow only to me. Furthermore, I want you to know that a day is coming when every knee shall bow to me, and that includes yours, Nebuchadnezzar.” And you know the rest of the story. Not only did he bow before God, he crawled on all four like a wild beast of the field.
  3. Pilate of Judea was another ruler who got puffed up with his position and authority. What did he say to Jesus, his Creator, who was giving him the very breath he used to speak? “Don’t you know I have the power to crucify you or the power to release you?” [John 19:10] What a stupid question! Who has the power? Jesus put him in his place, “You could have no power against me except it were given you from above.” [John 19:11]
  4. Think of Hitler. He tried to play god and eradicate the Jews. God said, “No, you will not eradicate my people. They will endure forever.  I will eradicate you.” And how did God USE the terrible atrocities against the Jews? The whole world was inflamed to such a degree that Israel was granted its original homeland in Palestine, thus fulfilling a prophecy God had given His people hundreds of years before.
  5. What is the dearest example we have of God using evil for good? The crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The cross was a planned crisis in the family of God. God’s Son was slain by “wicked hands,” but at the same time He was delivered by “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” God received the glory, and man received the good, for death was “swallowed up in victory.”

Let me ask you, can God turn your present family crisis/problem into a blessing? If you believe He is sovereign, then the answer is an absolute “yes.”

Another fact we must understand and believe is this. God is the primary cause of all action, but He usually does not work without a secondary cause or means. (When He does work without a secondary means, we call it a miracle.)

Here are some examples of secondary causes or means:

  1. Nature—God used a flood to destroy the wicked world and carry Noah to safety.
  2. Circumstances—God allowed Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery in Egypt in order to protect God’s chosen people from death by famine. What his brothers meant for evil, God used for good.
  3. People—God uses people to carry out His will. For example, He chose Abraham to start a nation.
  4. The Word—the eunuch riding in his chariot did not understand what he was reading, so God used Philip to lead him to Christ through His Word. (Often there are more than one “means” being employed in any particular situation.
  5. Prayer—Moses interceded for Israel many times and God’s anger was turned away. Hannah prayed and became a mother. Hezekiah gained 15 years to his life through prayer.
  6. The Holy Spirit—at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit moved and everyone heard the gospel preached in their own language.
  7. Satan—No matter what the “prince of demons” concocts, God is able to overrule his action, turning it to His own glory and to His believer’s good.

You see, it really doesn’t matter who or what causes the tragedies of life. What matters is what God intends to do with those tragedies.

When you and I belong to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, what happens in our lives matters less than how God uses what happens in our lives.

Our responsibility as a child of His is to trust Him—even when the way seems dark. God’s way is always perfect.

BUT we cannot trust what we do not know. That’s why our quest—to know the character and heart of God—is so very crucial.

Discussion Question

“The sovereignty of God means that God can do anything He wants to do, any time He wants to do it, any way He wants to do it, for any purpose He wants to accomplish.”

Does this truth scare you? Make you angry? What have you learned already about the character of God that helps you trust Him?

Homework

Let’s continue working through a few of God’s eternal attributes. Pick as many or as few from the list that you wish to work on this week.

God is ACCESSIBLE! Psalm 145:18-19; Romans 5:2; Ephesians 2:13, 18, 3:12; Colossians 1:21-22; Hebrews 4:16; James 4:8.

God is COMPASSIONATE! II Kings 13:23; Psalm 78: 38-39; 103:3-17; 111:4; 145:8; Isaiah 65:1-3; Matthew 23:37-39.

God is IN CONTROL! Psalm 75:6-7; 135:5-6; Daniel 4:35; John 19:10-11; Acts 17:26; Romans 9:19-20; Revelation 4:11.

God is JUST! Deuteronomy 10:17; 32:4; I Samuel 2:3; Nehemiah 9:33; Psalm 7:9-11; Isaiah 33:22; Jeremiah 32:19; Romans 9:14; John 1:9.

God is MERCIFUL! Exodus 34:6-7; Numbers 14:18-20; Micah 7: 18-19; Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 145:8-9; Lamentations 3:22-23; Ephesians 2:4-7.

 

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