God’s Sovereignty and It’s Impact on the World

May 29, 2017 at 8:03 AM 2 comments

It may seem strange to talk about God’s sovereignty within the context of prayer. After all, if God is truly sovereign, why should we pray at all? The fact that we’re told throughout Scripture to seek God in prayer implies that prayer changes certain things. But what does it change? Does prayer cause God to act or is it through prayer that the desires of our heart are changed to align with God’s will?

It seems apparent that prayer is something that causes us to conform to God’s will for our lives as opposed to being something that we use to cause God to conform to our will and desires. Throughout the Scriptures we see examples of this and probably the most emphatic understanding of how to pray is the example of Jesus who prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane “not my will, but thine be done,” (Luke 22:42).

My wife and I were discussing the subject of prayer this morning and admittedly, it is not an easy subject to plow through or to ultimately understand. I was watching part of a video the other day in which a pastor stated that President Trump is in constant danger of assassination. Because of this, he stated from the pulpit that we must pray for his safety, that God would keep him from harm. Further, he stated that God’s window of grace for the United States only extends for the length of President Trump’s term.

I have several questions. First, we know that God installs and deposes leaders (Daniel 2:21; see also Proverbs 21:1). If this is the case, then it seems odd that we would need to pray specifically that God would protect a particular leader. Granted, with the lawful election of Donald Trump to the presidency, the level of vitriol, hatred, and unhinged voices is alarming. The amount of people who have openly threatened President Trump, or wished for his death, is absolutely unconscionable. However, in spite of this, God is not surprised. He is not taken aback by the thoughts and actions of evil people. He’s witnessed and heard these thoughts since the fall of humanity. In fact, He saw and heard it all before He created one thing.

So why would we have to pray for God’s protection when the Bible is clear that God (HE) alone installs and removes kings and leaders and directs the king’s heart as He pleases? Why would God need us to pray for something that He clearly states He already controls?

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. – Proverbs 21:1 KJV

Please understand, these questions asked here are not asked flippantly. They are not meant to denigrate anyone or to disrespect God. Is Donald Trump’s time on this earth already determined by God? Is your time already determined by God? Job teaches us that each person’s days are indeed numbered.

Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass… – Job 14:5 KJV

There is only one example in Scripture that shows us what happens when God “changes” His mind. It is likely that God did not change His mind at all, but simply presented information to Hezekiah through the prophet, which allowed Hezekiah to balk at God’s pronouncement of his upcoming death. He cried so hard and resisted it so mightily that God seemed to change His mind and gave Hezekiah what he wanted (Isaiah 38:5; 2 Kings 20). That turned out to be an additional 15 years. During that time, he made a number of mistakes including with his son whom he named Manasseh. Upon hearing the news that he would get an extra 15 years to live, Hezekiah made his 12-year-old son Manasseh his co-regent and spent the next 15 years training him to be a good ruler.

But the problems that resulted with Manasseh ultimately stemmed from the fact that King Hezekiah showed the treasury and other secrets to schemers from Babylon. This effectively destroyed the safety of Israel. Because of this, God sent the prophet Isaiah to let Hezekiah know exactly what would happen because of his treachery. In 2 Kings 20:16-18, Isaiah explains what is going to happen in the future and it’s not pretty. But please notice Hezekiah’s response to Isaiah’s words.

So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good!” For he said, “Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?” – 2 Kings 20:19 NKJV

Hezekiah was only concerned about the fact that at least while he remained alive, things would be great! He was not concerned for Israel or those who would rule after him. Maybe he thought if he trained up Manasseh properly, God would change His mind as He appeared to do when Hezekiah pleaded with Him to extend his life.

In the end, had Hezekiah simply accepted what had originally been presented as God’s will for his life (his upcoming death), he would not have shown all the treasury and secrets of his house to the Babylonians. He also would not have chosen Manasseh as co-regent. Instead of simply accepting God’s revealed will, Hezekiah balked and rebelled against it.

Let’s consider Job and then Esther as well. Most avoid reading through the book of Job because it tends to be depressing. It almost seems as though God allowed Job to become the pawn in the “game” between God and Satan. It certainly seems cruel to us, but that is due to the fact that at best, we cannot see the perfection of God’s will as it unfolds in the world. We see pronounced evil and are saddened by the fact that it appears to have the upper hand in so many areas of life. Only through constant “begging” and imploring does God seem to finally come around to “our” way of thinking and do what we have been praying He would do.

The book of Job – if we can sum it up in a few words – is the process by which God creates His trophies in people He has called to Himself, but are living in this world. That may sound over simplistic, but in the end, what God does, He does for His purposes and ultimately for His glory. We can complain about it all we want, but we have no leg to stand on because we are the ones who ruined His Creation by allowing sin to enter into this world (through our first parents), and then people began actively embracing it for themselves. The battle cry of one generation after another has been to throw off God’s chains (Psalm 2) so what we can live however we want to live and not have to deal with conscience. This is what every generation strives to do.

In the end, though Job went through horrors that none of us would volunteer for, God raised Job up. God blessed Job more than He had blessed him originally. You can take up any difficulties you have with the entire set of circumstances with God, but you won’t get far at all. In fact, when you and I stand before Him, I fully believe we will be speechless. There will be no argument, no excuses offered, nothing at all. We will fully and finally understand that it has always been God’s way or the highway (to hell) and whether we agree or like it or not, as Creator God, He has every right to call all the shots.

What about Esther? What happened there? How do we see God’s sovereignty on display? It is on display throughout that book, from beginning to end. We see in chapter 1, the current queen – Vashti – deposed because she refused King Ahasuerus’ (aka Xerxes) request. She was too busy with a banquet for her lady friends. You don’t deny the king’s request even if you are the queen. There were laws within the kingdom of Persia and the king chose to replace Vashti with someone else. Chapter 2 introduces us to a man named Mordecai, a Jew, who took in a young woman after her parents died, and raised her as his own daughter. Her name was Esther (aka Hadassah), and she was also a Jewess.

Esther, along with all the other young maidens of the empire were brought before King Ahasuerus so that he could decide who the next queen would be. Of course, Esther was chosen and because she becomes queen, she has the ear of the king. It is also in this chapter that Mordecai overhears a plot by two men in the palace to assassinate the king. He tells Esther and the two men are hanged for their offense. The whole situation is recorded in the chronicles of the king, but at that time, no honor was given to Mordecai.

Chapter 3 introduces us to Haman who is very high up in the king’s administration. Haman even receives a promotion and the people are to bow whenever they see Haman. Mordecai refuses and of course, commentators offer a variety of reasons why he did not bow. Even though the Persian kings did not expect people to actually worship them or the officials in their administration, bowing was a sign of honor and recognition. The fact that Mordecai chose not to bow to Haman may have everything to do with the fact regarding long-standing tensions between the Jews and the Amalekites, of which Haman was one. Mordecai’s refusal to bow may have had nothing to do with any religious observances at all. It’s difficult to know for certain.

Had this problem remained simply between Mordecai and Haman, God may not have stepped into resolve anything, but Haman not only wanted to kill Mordecai (by hanging him on a gallows built specifically for him, standing roughly 75 feet high), but Haman extended this to include the entire culture of Jewish individuals as we learn in chapter 3. Certainly, God would not stand for that and He didn’t. It doesn’t matter whether it was Pharaoh during Moses’ day, Hitler during ours, or Haman during the time of King Ahasuerus. Anyone who wants to act as Satan and destroy all of the Jewish race will have to answer to God Himself.

In chapter 4, we learn that Mordecai, after hearing of Haman’s plan to destroy the Jews, goes to Esther to enlist her help against Haman’s plans to eradicate all Jews. Esther is nervous as can be expected because Persian laws indicated that no one could approach the king without his permission. To do so could result in that person’s death. So Esther fasted and prayed for three days and asked everyone else to do the same. Why did she do this, to change God’s mind? No, it was to align herself with His will and to gain strength from Him.

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” – Esther 4:15-16 NIV

Notice her last words, “And if I perish, I perish.” She did not know what would happen, but like Job, she essentially said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). This is the essence of trusting God and His sovereignty when we are unclear of the direction we are moving or what He wants for our life.

As you might guess, if you’re not familiar with the remainder of the book of Esther), Haman’s plot is thwarted and Mordecai becomes the second in command over all the Persian Empire, directly under King Ahasuerus.

What does this teach us about God and His sovereignty? Several things. First, God is sovereign, even though we may disagree with what we see regarding what we think God is doing. Second, this life is important only as it connects to the next life. The decisions we make here have eternal value, either for our good or for our ill (heaven or hell). Esther came to a point of realizing that whether she lived or died at the king’s hand, she had to do what was right before God. He would give her the strength. It just so happened that His plan was for her and all the other Jews in the empire to continue living to die natural deaths eventually, rather than have their lives cut short by the anti-Semite Haman. Third, we learn from the book of Esther that we had better not be anti-Semitic. There is a tremendous danger in allowing ourselves to think in that way because it creates animosity and hatred within us. This happened to Martin Luther of the Reformation and many others. Too many Christians alive today harbor some sort of resentment and even deep-seated hatred of Jews. This is satanically inspired because Satan hates the Jews since from them came the Messiah. He needs no other reason to hate them.

Today, conspiracy theorists often believe that “the Jews” want to control the world. Certainly, some Jewish people do want that. Right alongside them are Gentiles who want the same thing. They are all part of an elite cabal of people who have sold themselves to Satan without realizing it. In spite of this, God remains fully sovereign in all things.

Next time you pray, ask yourself if you are praying for things that you want and think are the right things to pray for or if you are entering into prayer to learn God’s will regardless of how His will may affect your life. This was the essence of Jesus and He proved it in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night He was betrayed. He clearly wanted to avoid the “cup” that was before Him, but in the end, He prayed only that the Father’s will would be accomplished, not His. If Jesus did that, how much more do we need to do that as well?

Entry filed under: Religious - Christian - Prophecy. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments

  • 1. Harold Morrison  |  May 29, 2017 at 6:00 PM

    In the book of 1 Timothy 2:2 We are to pray for all men, not everyone, but for kings and those in authority over us that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and reverence. I think for Obama, when he was in office, and his staff. For it’s easy to imagine how much worse it could have been given his goals. Donald Trump’s election as President is truly a show of God’s hand, a surprise to the world even. Although not saved, he and his administration need our prayers daily. As God has used other unsaved rulers throughout history, He still directs their thoughts and paths. As we see by the actions of the left, this country is far more splintered than many people thought. If one of them are allowed to become president I think it’s over the limited freedom of Christians to speak out, or speak at all. God indicates that in the end-times there will be a one world government. Globalism is at the doorstep of our nation and President Trump and his supporters resist it This new generation (snowflakes) does not.

    • 2. modres  |  May 29, 2017 at 6:06 PM

      We’ll put – thank you 😊


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