The Bible verses below are far from exhaustive…but they are powerful truths that should shape me, transform me, and capture me with how exhaustive God’s reign is in a world when it can seem like the throne is empty.
What is God Sovereign over?
The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the LORD.
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD;
he turns it wherever he will.
A man’s steps are from the LORD;
how then can man understand his way?
Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
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.”
“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.
As many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
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.
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.
The LORD kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
(1 Samuel 12:6)
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?”
Jesus, [who was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
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.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief. . . .
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?
I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the LORD, who does all these things.
“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. . . . “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
(Job 1:21-22; 2:10)
[God] sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. . . . 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.
(Psalm 105:17; Genesis 50:21)
[God] works all things according to the counsel of his will.
Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
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?”
What is God Sovereign over? Everything!
What does that mean for me?
- My circumstances right now, may look like a mess to me, but not to God.
- Suffering and trials might even get worse, but that never means God’s hand is not in it.
- God could have spared me (or anyone) from any current trial, pain, grief, etc., but since he didn’t, his purpose is out of my grasp, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of his.
- I cannot change the messes of life because God’s plans cannot be thwarted, and if I could, I’m sure I would mess it up more.
- Everything God does, everything, brings him pleasure.
- Everything he does is with goodness beyond my ability to comprehend and with wisdom that is beyond my understanding…and that’s how it should be since he is God.
Pastor James Montgomery Boice had a very clear perspective on trials. In May 2000, he stood before his Philadelphia church and explained that he’d been diagnosed with liver cancer:
“Should you pray for a miracle? Well, you’re free to do that, of course. My general impression is that the God who is able to do miracles—and He certainly can—is also able to keep you from getting the problem in the first place. So although miracles do happen, they’re rare by definition… Above all, I would say pray for the glory of God. If you think of God glorifying Himself in history and you say, where in all of history has God most glorified Himself? He did it at the cross of Jesus Christ, and it wasn’t by delivering Jesus from the cross, though He could have…
God is in charge. When things like this come into our lives, they are not accidental. It’s not as if God somehow forgot what was going on, and something bad slipped by… God is not only the one who is in charge; God is also good. Everything He does is good… If God does something in your life, would you change it? If you’d change it, you’d make it worse. It wouldn’t be as good.”
Who is on the throne anyway?