Contentment with God’s Sovereignty
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
“Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” (Lamentations 3:37-38)
Sometimes when I start writing these blog posts, I feel like I am trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs. As I considered how to start this particular blog, I felt like using an idiom, but couldn’t find the “right” one. Instead, I am using a new one for me. I think it means trying to teach something new to you to someone more experienced (like your grandmother), who already knows how to do what you’re just learning to do. I am new to writing, and I am especially new to writing short devotions. I am also a “big picture” person, wanting to see the principles, over-arching themes, and broad lessons when I study. How can I focus on one or two verses, when there is such a large canon of Scripture? I would like to think that I know what I am doing, but my writing is an example of Proverbs 16:9. No matter how well I think I may plan what I write, God is (thankfully) in charge.
We all like to think we know what we are doing, and can make good plans, but we cannot because of our sinful hearts and subjective experiences, assumptions, and biases. Only God can establish our steps to be good, productive and efficient. Having come to faith in Christ, we realize that God’s control over events, circumstances, and our spiritual growth is a relief, not competition for who’s in control. In Matthew Chapter 6, as Jesus began his teaching ministry, he explained that God cares for the birds, lilies, and grass—and how much more he cares for us (Matthew 6:25-34). Later, he extended his teaching to say, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” (Matthew 10:29) God is the first cause of everything that occurs here and everywhere, which can and should be a tremendous comfort for those who belong to him. Nothing can stop or thwart God’s purposes from complete fulfillment, including the plans of evil, unbelieving, or prideful people. Joseph’s brothers wanted to get rid of Joseph, but God had a great plan for him in Egypt (Genesis 50:19-20).
When we worship together today, we do so because of the sovereignty of God who has commanded his people to come together as one body to honor him. (See 1 Corinthians 14:26; Hebrews 10:254-25.) We worship the only Creator and Savior, who alone has the plan of salvation for believers and alone will determine the when the fullness of time will arrive. In the meantime, we are called to recognize, appreciate, and enjoy God’s sovereign rule over life here. No matter what we see on CNN or BBC, God is in control and will not be hindered. So it doesn’t matter what we think about who is telling the truth or who “wins” in political battles—God always wins, for himself—and we profit. “If [our] inward impressions do not answer to outward expressions, we mock God, and deceive ourselves.” *
Do you believe God is sovereign? Do your friends, co-workers, and neighbors understand that you know God to be the supreme, self-determining Ruler of the universe, based on your reactions and opinions? As you worship today in church will you also pray for the Lord to help you match your life choices, values, and words to your theology? Will you pray that God will sovereignly use His Word during worship today to remind you of his rulership? “Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!” (Psalm 65:4)
* Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, Lamentations 3:37-38, https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-concise