Summary: Does God create nations for His purposes? Does God destroy nations for His purposes? Does God relent of His intended punishment if a nation repents and turns to Him? These and other questions need to be answered in this world of nations in turmoil.
God is in control - or is He really?
Last Sunday we took a look at - is God in control of the earth, planets,
stars, etc., basically, all of nature
Next Sunday we'll be looking at - is God in control of you and me
Today - is God in control of the nations
So, is God in control of the nations of the earth?
But, before we get starting talking about all of this, does anyone know who this is? (Hold up an “action figure” of Irwin R. Schyster)
You know how professional wrestling goes …
First person A is stomping person B’s face into the ground
Person B gets up and it looks like he’s gonna make a comeback but it’s not to be
Person A does something illegal or mean to person B
The crowd turns against person A
Person B suddenly springs back to life and starts stomping person A
And back and forth it goes until the end of the script … I mean the end of the match when the person you’ve never heard of before loses.
With professional wrestling it’s easy to see who is in control; the script writers!
But, with nations? God? Us? Nobody?
When you’re reading through the kings of Israel and Judah in the OT doesn’t it seem like the same twists and turns that take place in professional wrestling are taking place but with nations instead of people???
Sometimes the Israelites are beating up the Philistines
Sometimes the Philistines are beating up the Israelites
After the reign of Solomon, Pharoah Shishak of Egypt attacks Jerusalem and takes all the temple treasure.
Then there’s the continual war between Israel and Judah
- Imagine if the American Civil War was never concluded
- it would just ebb back and forth over the decades
- that is what the relationship was like between the Israel and Judah
Is God in control of the nations?
Israel and Judah agree to fight the Arameans together
Moab revolts against Israel
The Arameans return to besiege Samaria
Edom's successful revolt against Judah.
Israel and Judah fight against Hazael king of Aram
Israel has continuing war with Judah and Aram
Assyria invades Israel multiple times finally taking them in to exile and dispersion
Babylon invades Judea multiple times taking them into exile
It sounds like a version of a WWE pay per view on a national scale!
We have the advantage of reading all of it in just a few hours. How long would it take to read Exodus, Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles? Probably just two or three hours and we would have the story of Israel and even a retelling of the era of the kings.
What does God’s word say? Is God in control of the nations of the earth or isn’t He?
“From one ancestor He made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and He allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live.”
“For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing My power in you, so that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth’.”
“Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes, to open doors before him - and the gates shall not be closed:
“I will go before you and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
“For the sake of My servant Jacob, and Israel My chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides Me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me.”
“so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
Verse one calls Cyrus the Lord’s “anointed” one. Why?
God has raised Cyrus up to power to defeat the Babylonians
God has given Cyrus not only the desire to set the Israelites free but to give
them his protection and resources
God has done this because the 70 years of captivity ordained by God have
come to an end
We see from these three Scriptures that God created nations,
God raises up nations in order to demonstrate His power for His glory and