Biblical Sovereignty

I know lots of folks say that God is sovereign, but do we really mean sovereign?  Or do we mean He is in control so far as we’re comfortable allowing Him to be in control?  Just a thought, but it seems to me that the Biblical definition of God’s sovereignty is mighty big, all-encompassing actually.

So I thought I would share how I arrive at my understanding of the subject, meaning the actual Scriptures which support it.  I offer the list of verses below, which is nowhere near exhaustive, to let God’s Word speak for itself without comment.  Every passage, when taken in full context, I believe demonstrates some aspect of God’s overall sovereignty.

But before the list, a word of caution against fatalism and/or accusing God of evil.  The Bible is clear that God is holy and is not culpable of evil.  The Bible is also clear that humans are all morally accountable for our actions.  Let us not then distort the Bible’s teaching with our fallen and sinfully-tainted sense of things.  These truths are not be minimalized or apologized for, but are to cause worship for a God who can and does work all things for good for His children, even amidst a sinful world.

Lastly, our thoughts regarding this subject are so easily swayed by our preconceptions.  Often times, without realizing it, we allow our views to be influenced by things other than God’s infallible Word.  Accordingly, let us turn always to Christ and God’s redemptive purposes through Christ for true orientation.  Thus, I start with the cross, which was to fulfill God’s ultimate and eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:11).

this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (Acts 2:23)

For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. (Acts 4:27-28)

Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief… (Isaiah 53:10)

The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. (Psalm 33:11)

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring…  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”  (James 4:13-15)

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.  (Proverbs 16:33)

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)

A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way? (Proverbs 20:24)

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)

 I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (Romans 9:15-16)

See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39)

The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.  The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.  He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.  For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world. (1 Samuel 2:6-8)

Then the LORD said to [Moses], “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?”  (Exodus 4:11)

Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid?  Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it? (Amos 3:6)

[God] works all things according to the counsel of his will. (Ephesians 1:11)

I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35)

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3)

The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. (Proverbs 16:4)

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)

But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:10)

Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ (Job 9:12)

In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:10)

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)

The Lord will reign forever and ever.  (Exodus 15:18)

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.  Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all.  In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. (1 Chronicles 29:11-12)

and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. (2 Chronicles 20:6)

For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. (Psalm 22:28)

The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, (Isaiah 14:24)

and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another.  Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’  And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’  Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.” (1 Kings 22:20)

And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. (Exodus 4:21)

Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.”  But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.” His father and mother did not know that it was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel. (Judges 14:1-4)

And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (Genesis 45:5)

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (Genesis 50:20)

who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’” (Isaiah 44:28)

Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:7)

And I will cast you on the ground; on the open field I will fling you, and will cause all the birds of the heavens to settle on you, and I will gorge the beasts of the whole earth with you. (Ezekiel 32:4)

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)

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Posted on 03/21/2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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