The Sovereign God

I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.

Isaiah 42v.8

I use the Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading scheme for my daily Quiet Times. It is a demanding scheme taking in four chapters per day and this results in reading the OT once and the NT and Psalms twice each year. I don’t mention this to boast but to commend it to you for many reasons two of which I mention in particular.

First reading the whole Bible through from cover to cover is the most revealing and exciting thing to do. To see and grasp the big sweep of God’s dealings with mankind is a wonderful experience and as each new year comes, and I begin again, I never fail to discover the unfailing freshness of God’s Word.

Secondly reading chapters from OT, Psalms and the NT each day helps my understanding of the total unity of God’s Word and adds richness to my understanding of God and his plans and purposes. Although there are some parts which are harder going than others I have found that each read and re-read adds fresh wonder and understanding and today I want to focus on just one of the manifold aspects of God’s revelation of himself, which is what the Bible is, which never fails to grip and encourage me.

This aspect is God’s Sovereignty.

It is self-evident that we live in a very broken world and reading and watching the various media outlets surely causes the question ‘Why?’ to come up again and again.

Why the invasion of Ukraine?

Why are Christians persecuted in so many countries?

Why are we increasingly beholden to China, a godless, communist dictatorship for so many of our daily needs?

Why is Islamic extremism terrorising so many nations?

Why has the migrant problem become so great and led to such division?

And so on and so on and so on…..

All of which lead to the $64,000 question, ‘Why does God allow these things?’ To which the very unsatisfactory answer is ‘I don’t know!’

BUT it is what we do know that is the key to our dilemma, and that is that God is Sovereign and in control.

Reading the whole Bible, we find this truth on virtually every page from Genesis to Revelation as we see God in control of all things so that people and nations are ultimately involved in his sovereign purpose which is to

 ‘bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head even Christ.’ Ephesians 1.10.

The route to this glorious goal is littered with problem questions some of which are outlined above to which you, the reader, can no doubt add many more! As believers we will face the unbelieving world throwing such questions as ‘Why does your God not stop the evils in the world?’ and the answer is ‘He will!’ Does that seem too simplistic? Certainly it needs fleshing out and it requires that we take the  theme of God’s sovereignty seriously.

The Old and New Testaments bear witness to the fact that, while we ourselves as believers may ask the same questions, we can be sure that God’s purposes will come to pass. One of the great statements of this truth is the Book of Revelation where over and over again we see the history of the world and the future of the world are in the hands of God and not the powers of evil, as everything is controlled from the Throne of God. See for one glorious example in Chapter 6 the four horsemen of judgement are released on the authority of the heavenly beings and not of  some malign force.

As believers it is very clear that we are not removed from the problems and suffering of the world and the reason why is not clear because we see from an earth-bond perspective whereas God sees from eternity to eternity. But as we face the questions ourselves and seek to address them with others let us remember what God has done for us in Christ.

What gift of grace is Jesus my redeemer
There is no more for heaven now to give
He is my joy, my righteousness, and freedom
My steadfast love, my deep and boundless peace

To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus
For my life is wholly bound to His
Oh how strange and divine, I can sing, “All is mine”
Yet not I, but through Christ in me

The night is dark but I am not forsaken
For by my side, the Saviour He will stay
I labour on in weakness and rejoicing
For in my need, His power is displayed

To this I hold, my Shepherd will defend me
Through the deepest valley He will lead
Oh the night has been won, and I shall overcome
Yet not I, but through Christ in me

No fate I dread, I know I am forgiven
The future sure, the price it has been paid
For Jesus bled and suffered for my pardon
And He was raised to overth
row the grave

To this I hold, my sin has been defeated
Jesus now and ever is my plea
Oh the chains are released, I can sing, “I am free”
Yet not I, but through Christ in me

With every breath I long to follow Jesus
For He has said that He will bring me home
And day by day I know He will renew me
Until I stand with joy before the throne

To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus
All the glory evermore to Him
When the race is complete, still my lips shall repeat
Yet not I, but through Christ in me.

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