Summary: God is sovereign over all things, from the fates of nations to the details of our own lives. Therefore, He is worthy of our trust and confidence.
For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been looking at some of the attributes of God; trying to better understand what God is like. So far, we’ve considered God’s goodness and His wisdom. This morning we’re going to look at what the Bible has to say about His power. After all, what good would it do us to have a God who loves us and knows what’s best for us, but doesn’t have the ability to do anything about it? What we’re going to find is that God’s might, God’s power are infinite, limitless, and inexhaustible. He does whatever He pleases, whenever He pleases, however He pleases. And we’re going to see what a great difference it can make for us to understand and live by that truth.
God is sovereign over governments and nations
Let’s start with the big picture. The Bible teaches that God is sovereign over all the governments of the earth. Monarchies, dictatorships, democracies; every country from India to Norway to Singapore, every world leader from Bill Clinton to Vladimir Putin to Queen Elizabeth; each and every one of them, without exception, is under the sovereign power and authority of God. When you open the paper and you read about things that are happening all over the world, the Bible tells us that God is in control, God is sovereign over everything and everyone in that paper.
For example, you may have seen something in the news recently about the so-called "Millennium Summit". Over 150 heads of state gathered this week at the United Nations in New York, the largest meeting of world leaders in history. The Bible tells us that every world leader in this photo, and every nation represented by these leaders, is under the sovereign hand of God.
"The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes." - Daniel 4:17 (NIV)
"His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. . . . 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?’" - Daniel 4:34-35 (NIV)
"For dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations." - Psalm 22:28 (NIV)
"[God’s] power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come."
- Ephesians 1:19-21 (NIV)
God is sovereign over the nations. God is sovereign over all political structures, from nations to states to counties to cities. God is sovereign over the United States Congress and the Westlake School Board. He is sovereign over the Ohio Legislature and the Bay Village City Council. He is the authority over all authorities. Not only is God sovereign over governments, He is sovereign over governors. He installs the leaders he chooses (Daniel 4:17). He raises up leaders and brings them down. He installs them and removes them, at His pleasure. Whether they are brought into power by a democratic election, an armed coup, a popular revolt, a civil war, or by any other means, God ultimately controls who is in charge in every nation, every state, and every city in the world.
· Does that mean the best people always win? No. Sometimes the worst people win. But what it does means is that God’s plans always succeed. All the time these leaders are carrying out their little plans, they are advancing God’s purposes. They may be trying to do the right thing, they may not care whether they are doing right, or they may be actively opposing what is right. It doesn’t matter. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, willingly or unwillingly, they always end up accomplishing what God had been planning all along. God oversees their works so that they always end up just where He wanted them.
How does that happen? How is it that these people, these leaders, can make free choices without being coerced in any way, and yet always end up doing what God intended? I don’t know. But listen to this:
[Review the story of Joseph] "But Joseph said to them, ’Don’t be afraid. . . You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’" - Genesis 50:19-20 (NIV)
"This man [Jesus Christ] was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross." - Acts 2:23 (NIV)