08 July 2018

THE SOVEREIGN GOD SPEAKS



Habakkuk 1:5-11

The word “Sovereign” means chief or highest; supreme in power; superior in position to all others. God is Spirit, self-existent, immutable, changeless, infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and holy. When we become God’s children, we tend to play God and look at the sin and all the terrible things in everyone around us. We tend to always ask the question ‘Why doesn’t the Lord do anything to His disobedient people?’ ‘Why doesn’t He see what his people are doing in the world that He created?’ Charles H. Spurgeon says “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength”. That statement is so true; I myself have the tendency to do just that. I worry and judge the earth and say “God do you see what your people are doing? Hurry up and do something about it!” We can learn a great deal from the prophetic book of Habakkuk, because this is the problem we see here in this little letter written by minor prophet.

God is sovereign and we are NOTWhenever God acts, he acts in a way that pleases Him. God is never constrained to do a thing that He despises. He is never backed into a corner where His only recourse is to do something He hates to do. He does whatever He pleases. This is why the sovereignty of God is emulated in His supremacy.

“Supremacy” being like His holiness is transcendent, superior and God is outside or above everything. In simple terms! He is the One who is in absolute control. (All saved & unsaved) God being infinite elevates His supremacy above beyond us and our finite understanding. He is the Most High God and He is subject to no one…not even you.

Isaiah 46:9-10 says “remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Charles Spurgeon said “There is no attribute comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions that sovereignty overrules them, and the sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation, the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands, the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne.”

See God is sovereign over Nature…… 

The wind blows at His command.
The water moves forward and stops at His command. Jeremiah asked “Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O LORD our God? We set our hope on you, for you do all these things.” Jer 14:22. In Matthews’s gospel we read this “And they went and woke him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?" Matt 8:25-27

The Stars come out at night (by name) at His command.
The Sun radiates heat on the earth at the command of a sovereign God.
All animal and all species are under the sovereignty of God.

Psalm 139:7-9 says “To Him who made the great lights, For His lovingkindness is everlasting: The sun to rule by day, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, The moon and stars to rule by night, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. David wrote “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:3-9

God is sovereign over Nations……

He has the rulers of this land and the people of these lands in the palm of His sovereign hand.

What do I mean God is sovereign over….
Justin Trudeau
Donald Trump
Netanyahu
Merkel
Kim Jong Un
Prime Minister May
Stalin
Adolf Hitler
King Ahab
Nebuchadnezzar

God was sovereign over a wicked ruler like Nero, a Roman emperor who came into power 54 A.D. at the age of 17. At the age of 31 he committed suicide and it was under Nero’s reign that Paul was beheaded and that Peter was martyred. When Peter wrote his first epistle to the “elect exiles” 1 Peter 1:1. Nero had burned Rome including all its cultural and religious artifacts and put the blame squarely on the ChristiansSo the persecution these Christians were already facing was suddenly intensified. According to Tacitus (Ta-si-tus), the Roman historian, Nero rolled Christians in pitch and then set them on fire while they were still alive and used them as living torches to light his garden parties. Peter knowing and witnessing this terrible man in power was still able to write “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-8. Peter goes on to say in chapter 2:13 “Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors.” What Peter is saying is that we must live as obedient citizens in this world so that God will be honored and glorified. See! A rebellious Christian brings dishonor on Christ. So as Peter says in chapter 4:12-16 say “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” Peter was able to say this because he trusted in the sovereignty of God over his life and the nations.

Psalm 33:10-11 we read “The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.” This is the Lord's doing, He is omniscient, and knows all the secret plots and designs of men; and He is omnipotent, and responds to them all according to His perfect will and timing.
  
God is sovereign over your life…..

Prov 20:24 says “A man's steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?” James half-brother of Jesus wrote “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. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:13-14. God is writing a story over your life…you and I are the main actors but He is the director who is doing His perfect will for your life whether you like the story or not. Because in the end it brings eternal glory for us despite the minor sufferings that we had on this short time on earth. Remember what Paul wrote and think we should listen to him considering what he went through for the glory of Christ. Paul penned these words of encouragement “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Cor 4:17-18
  
Remember eternity is for eternity, this present life is temporal and we will be leaving here one day. That I can prophecy…. and it will happen wither by death or at Christ’s return. The sovereignty of God refers to the fact that God is in complete control of the universe and your life. Here is where confusion sets in for the believer! Some would say this is fatalism you’re preaching Pastor Mike. NO! A belief in God’s sovereignty is distinct from fatalism, which denies human free will.

“Fatalism” is the belief that “What will be will be,” since all past, present, and future events have already been predetermined by God or another all-powerful force, such as “Fate.”

Fatalism teaches that there is a blind, impersonal force over which no one has control, not even God, and that events are swept along by this blind, purposeless power.

Please understand! Christians reject fatalism; rather, Christians understand that a wise, holy, good, and sovereign God has control of every detail of life. Jesus said “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matt 10:29-30. The man or woman who does not really want God to have this control or who despises the truth of God’s sovereignty does not love God and does not want God in his life. But God is sovereign, and He cannot deny Himself. We as image bearers are able to make genuine choices that have real consequences. God does not directly cause everything to happen, yet He does allow all that happens to happen. And, ultimately, God’s will is going to be accomplished in your life and the person beside you, whether you like that or not. 

Where do we see that most clearly? In the life of Joseph....Gen 50:20 says “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[a] should be kept alive, as they are today. How about as Jesus stood before the rulers of His day! Luke 23:13-21 “Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him." But they all cried out together, "Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas"—a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, "Crucify, crucify him!"

And from this point we later hear the famous words of or Lord “And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34. You meant it for evil but God meant it for good. All things that God chooses to put in your path are there for you to learn something of His great will for you. Sometimes he will also use circumstances that are difficult when He wants to chasten you back to the place where you were found: broken and in need of His grace. John Piper says “The climax of God’s happiness is the delight He takes in the echoes of His excellence in the praises of His people”. We need to look at the LORD Jehovah with reverence and praise for He is the Ruler of the universe and He honors a humble servant who lives with obedience and faithful praise to Him the “Sovereign God”. He had made a covenant promise with Abraham and then God promised a Son who would come and bear the sins for all mankind; He is truthful in everything He said He was going to do.

Romans 8:28-30 reminds us of this truth “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 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.

Remember when you get to the point of exasperation and doubt that you will never fully understand what God is doing. Submit in obedience to him and go to Him through prayer because He holds all the answers. That’s why I am the created and He is the Sovereign Creator of the universe. Listen to these comforting words by J I Packer about the sovereignty of God “We need not fear worthlessness. We can be confident that God will have His way and that it will be good. We can trust that the One who says He loves us is fully able to act on that love in all ways. We can trust that, even when the world seems completely out of control, God is in control. We know He has the big picture covered, so we can trust Him with our daily details.

Remember He is the Potter we are the clay! As R C Sproul said “To say that God's sovereignty is limited by man's freedom is to make man sovereign.” Listen to my words Habakkuk and listen to my words children of God as you face your present situation or momentary affliction. God is in control and that’s all you need to understand to face what today brings and what tomorrow will bring. Because the sovereign God of the universe is still on the throne and in complete control.

No comments: