One of the challenging concepts that all humans have struggled with from the Old Testament to our days is the Sovereignty of God, especially when things are so tight. Injustice, thriving of the wicked and oppression of the good. Many killings in our world that many people get away with and yet God sees and cares about humanity. These are conflicting thoughts that have led to others giving up on faith. Some of us have prayed for people we loved, but they still ended up dying in hospital, and that acted as a reason that God does not exist. The silence of God, especially during these days of COVID19, might be another reason for others to quit faith and even think that God does not answer prayers and does not exist. This article will address the everyday struggles that many people have regarding the Sovereignty of God.
Meaning of Sovereignty of God:
The Sovereignty of God is the exercise of his supremacy, His infinite rule, his authority, and power. It means that God is the supreme ruler who immanently and personally rules over all the affairs of the universe, which includes our personal lives. We believe that God upholds all things, from galaxies to subatomic particles, from the forces of nature to the movements of nations, and from the open plans of politicians to the secret acts of solitary persons — all in accord with his eternal purpose. He directs all things according to his royal counsel which means that every single event that happens is in some sense predestined by God (Ephesians 1:11) for a particular purpose.
The prosperity of the Wicked and God’s Sovereignty:
It has been a struggle for ages why the evil people seem to prosper while the righteous struggle in life. Job struggled with the same question of the wicked prospering (Job 12:6). Jeremiah raised this issue with God and saw it as a matter of justice (Jeremiah 12:1). In Malachi 3:14, the people had seen it as vain to serve God since they observed the wicked prosper (Malachi 3:15). The Psalmist argues that his feet had almost stumbled and his steps nearly slipped as he had become envious of the arrogant when he saw the wicked prosper (Psalm 73:2-3). Has the prosperity of the evil people not been a stumbling block of those in faith? Has it not led to a competition between the righteous and the wicked, where those in faith have pursued materiality and laid aside their true calling to prove a point? Is it not the devil’s snare that most have gotten into by neglecting the mission of winning the lost to God’s kingdom? While it is God’s will for his people to be productive and serve him with their substance, Christians must also be aware of the devil’s trap to divert them from their true calling. God is sovereign and in control even when you see the wicked prosper and may the righteous suffer oppression. David in Psalm 37:7 counsels the faithful not to worry when evil people prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. The Psalmist reminds us that God is in control and that he will eventually bring justice like noonday (Psalm 37:5-6).
Prayer and God’s Sovereignty:
The believer’s prayer is an acknowledgement of God’s Sovereignty and the believer’s self-insufficiency. One may ask why they should pray, and yet God controls everything that happens in the world. Prayer does not benefit God as he is self-sufficiency, but it is essential for human beings who need a Sovereign God to intervene in their life circumstances. Lack of prayer is an expression of self-reliance and a sign of independence from the Divine. God desires humans to relate with him and prayer is one of those critical elements that cultivate our relationship with God. It is essential for spiritual maturity. Without diligent prayers, we are in danger of growing careless and even deviating from the right path. If the Son of God prayed while in our human form saw the need for prayer, how much should we pray as Christians (Hebrews 5:7)? The Sovereignty of God should amaze us and draw us to worship God. Habakkuk struggled with the issue of injustice, violence, and violation of the law (Habakkuk 1:2-4). He had prayed and wondered why God was silent on his cries. God expressed his Sovereignty to Habakkuk by showing him that he was very much in control (Habakkuk 1:5-11). In chapter 3, Habakkuk ends his conversation with God with worship and resolution of remaining steadfast in God (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
Difficult times and God’s Sovereignty:
God is Sovereign in the realm of men, even despite the issues the world is struggling with. The only way to make this truth sink deep into our hearts is to share life stories of people that were once where we are. We are not the first neither the last to question the Sovereignty of God over difficult times. The scripture is full of real people with real struggles and questions like we have today. When faced with situations like COVID19 and other troublesome issues, some end up giving up on their faith. People like Job had every right to ask where God was, and why he could allow the devil to torture him in such a manner even after having observed life of total surrender to Him (Job 1:5)? Joseph went through awkward moments before his dream came to reality. God was sovereignly involved in Joseph’s life for his purposes to be fulfilled. God makes sure that even tough times work out for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
In Acts 4:1-22, the apostles were experiencing persecution, imprisonment, and threats for speaking the truth about Jesus. When they were released, their first response was to pray as a group, the same reaction we should have (4:23-31). Instead of praying for the persecution to end, they appealed to God’s Sovereignty in the past and applied it to their present situation. They referred to its presence, both in the creation and in what happened to Jesus. This is how they prayed, “You are the Lord over all things, the Creator (v. 24). Psalm 2:1-2 foretold what would happen to Jesus (v. 25-26). Indeed, this is the very thing that happened. The leaders and the people conspired against Jesus (human responsibility, v. 27), and they did the very thing that you had willed to happen (Sovereignty, v. 28).” Rather than demanding that God change what he was doing by making their trials go away, they prayed for boldness to respond appropriately. They chose to pursue God’s will through their obedience, rather than trying to get God to change his will.
Personal Responsibility and God’s Sovereignty:
God’s Sovereignty is not a reason to neglect personal responsibility. The Bible consistently affirms that God is Sovereign and that the people are responsible for their actions. The Bible treats these two as different issues that coexist without conflict. Matters that appear to contradict each other, yet they are equally valid principles that coexist without conflict are called antinomies. A biblical illustration is the subject of evangelism and God’s Sovereign knowledge of who shall go to heaven and hell. God’s Sovereignty does not cancel out the Christian responsibility to preach the gospel and win people to his kingdom.
The Sovereignty of God ought to lead us to revere God more in our lives. Knowing that God is in control should encourage many Christians through their difficult times. God as our Father, will always act for the good of his children. He directs the universe to his desired end. The devil would have taken full advantage of humankind and destroyed us if God stayed away from our affairs.