Sovereignty of God
God rules in the affairs of
men. Napoleon, at the height of his career, is reported to have given this
cynical answer to someone who asked if God was on the side of
came the Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon lost both the battle and his
empire. Years later, in exile on the
C.S. Lewis in 《God in the Dock》write: “In Hamlet’s branch breaks and Ophelia is drowned. Did she die because the branch broke or because Shakespeare wanted her to die at that point in the play? Either—both—whichever you prefer. The alternative suggested by the question is not a real alternative at all—once you have grasped that Shakespeare is making the whole play.” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
While serving as a missionary in Laos, I discovered an illustration of the kingdom of God. Before the colonialists imposed national boundaries, the kings of Laos and Vietnam reached an agreement on taxation in the border areas. Those who ate short-grain rice, built their houses on stilts, and decorated them with Indian-style serpents were considered Laotians. On the other hand, those who ate long-grain rice, built their houses on the ground, and decorated them with Chinese-style dragons were considered Vietnamese. The exact location of a person's home was not what determined his or her nationality. Instead, each person belonged to the kingdom whose cultural values he or she exhibited. So it is with us, we live in the world, but as part of God's kingdom, we are to live according to his kingdom's standards and values.── John Hess-Yoder.
GOD, sovereignty of
Here is a correction in understanding the sovereignty of God as told by a writer in Our Daily Bread: In "Our Daily Bread," I told how a Christian providentially escaped death. An unexpected delay in New York kept him from catching Flight 191 in Chicago, which crashed with all 254 aboard. That article brought this note from a reader: "I just had to let you know about one of God's great saints who ran to make Flight 191--and made it!" His name was Edwards E. Elliott, beloved pastor of the Garden Grove Orthodox Presbyterian Church in California. His plane from Pennsylvania was late, and a friend who had accompanied him to Chicago said he last saw him "dashing forward" in the terminal to make his connection. As I read about Pastor Elliott's fruitful ministry, the question I raised in that June devotional challenged me with new urgency: "Was Divine providence operating only in New York and not in Chicago?" Immediately the words of my correspondent came alive: "At the time, Reverend Elliott didn't know he was indeed running to Heaven...Mrs. Elliott and her four married children comforted the entire church. Their Christian faith and testimony in sorrow was most extraordinary." ── D.J.D., Our Daily Bread, June, 1980.
GOD, sovereignty of
Newscaster Paul Harvey told a remarkable story of God's providential care over thousands of allied prisoners during World War II, many of whom were Christians. One of America's mighty bombers took off from the island of Guam headed for Kokura, Japan, with a deadly cargo. Because clouds covered the target area, the sleek B-29 circled for nearly an hour until its fuel supply reached the danger point. The captain and his crew, frustrated because they were right over the primary target yet not able to fulfill their mission, finally decided they had better go for the secondary target. Changing course, they found that the sky was clear. The command was given, "Bombs away!" and the B-29 headed for its home base. Some time later an officer received some startling information from military intelligence. Just one week before that bombing mission, the Japanese had transferred one of their largest concentrations of captured Americans to the city of Kokura. Upon reading this, the officer exclaimed, "Thank God for that protecting cloud! If the city hadn't been hidden from the bomber, it would have been destroyed and thousands of American boys would have died." God's ways are behind the scenes; but He moves all the scenes which He is behind. We have to learn this, and let Him work.── John Nelson Darby.
GOD, sovereignty of
In the frigid waters around Greenland are countless icebergs, some little and some gigantic. If you'd observe them carefully, you'd notice that sometimes the small ice floes move in one direction while their massive counterparts flow in another. The explanation is simple. Surface winds drive the little ones, whereas the huge masses of ice are carried along by deep ocean currents. When we face trials and tragedies, it's helpful to see our lives as being subject to two forces--surface winds and ocean currents. The winds represent everything changeable, unpredictable, and distressing. But operating simultaneously with these gusts and gales is another force that's even more powerful. It is the sure movement of God's wise and sovereign purposes, the deep flow of His unchanging love.── Unknown.
GOD, sovereignty of
During his days as guest lecturer at Calvin Seminary, R.B. Kuiper once used the following illustration of God's sovereignty and human responsibility: I liken them to two ropes going through two holes in the ceiling and over a pulley above. If I wish to support myself by them, I must cling to them both. If I cling only to one and not the other, I go down.── R.B. Kuiper.
A. W. Tozer attempts to reconcile God's sovereignty and man's freewill:
An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. Nothing can change it. This is at least a faint picture of sovereignty. On board the liner are scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port. Both freedom and sovereignty are present here, and they do not contradict. So it is, I believe, with man's freedom and the sovereignty of God. The mighty liner of God's sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history." ── A.W. Tozer.
During his days as guest lecturer at Calvin Seminary, R.B.Kuiper once used the following illustration of God's sovereignty and human responsibility:
I liken them to two ropes going through two holes in the ceiling and over a pulley above. If I wish to support myself by them, I must cling to them both. If I cling only to one and not the other, I go down. I read the many teachings of the Bible regarding God's election, predestination, his chosen, and so on. I read also the many teachings regarding 'whosoever will may come' and urging people to exercise their responsibility as human beings. These seeming contradictions cannot be reconciled by the puny human mind. With childlike faith, I cling to both ropes, fully confident that in eternity I will see that both strands of truth are, after all, of one piece.── John Morren.
GOD, sovereignty of
Again, it may be seen from this promise that God, to some extent, has seen fit to condition His action upon the believer's prayer; for the Scripture says; "If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it"; and this is the secret of all true evangelism...It is, then, the teaching of Scripture that the action of the mighty power of God in convicting and illuminating the unsaved is also, in a large measure, dependent upon the priestly intercession of the believer.── L.S. Chafer, True Evangelism, p. 90-1.
GOD, sovereignty of
I read the many teachings of the Bible regarding God's election, predestination, his chosen, and so on. I read also the many teachings regarding 'whosoever will may come' and urging people to exercise their responsibility as human beings. These seeming contradictions cannot be reconciled by the puny human mind. With childlike faith, I cling to both ropes, fully confident that in eternity I will see that both strands of truth are, after all, of one piece."── John Morren, Lake City, Michigan.
If God did not bless, not one hair, not a solitary wisp of straw, would grow; but there would be an end of everything. At the same time God wants me to take this stance: I would have nothing whatever if I did not plow and sow. God does not want to have success come without work, and yet I am not to achieve it by my work. He does not want me to sit at home, to loaf, to commit matters to God, and to wait till a fried chicken flies into my mouth. That would be tempting God. ── Martin Luther, quoted in What Luther Says In Knowledge of the Holy.
Again, it may be seen from this promise that God, to some extent, has seen fit to condition His action upon the believer's prayer; for the Scripture says; "If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it"; and this is the secret of all true evangelism...It is, then, the teaching of Scripture that the action of the mighty power of God in convicting and illuminating the unsaved is also, in a large measure, dependent upon the priestly intercession of the believer. L.S. Chafer, True Evangelism, p. 90-1
In 1 Samuel 17 we have the thrilling story of David, the modest shepherd boy who slew Goliath, the arrogant giant of Gath. The drama of that event so occupies our attention that the spiritual lessons contained in the more minute details may escape our notice. Today, therefore, I'd like to consider the importance of the expression "five smooth stones." Why more than one stone? Wasn't David a man of faith? Did he doubt that God would give him perfect timing and aim as he used his trusty sling to take on the enemy of the Lord?
Certainly he needed only a single small pebble to accomplish his mission. But wait, there were at least four other giants (see 2 Samuel 21:15-22). They might rally to Goliath's defense if something went wrong. Perhaps David had prepared for them. Trusting the Lord implicitly, he chose one stone for the champion of the Philistines and just enough to be ready for any others if they attacked.
Why did he choose "smooth stones"? Well, you can shoot much more accurately with the proper ammunition. He had faith, but he also used sanctified common sense. He didn't foolishly say, "The Lord is going to do it anyway, so I'll just pick up any old jagged rocks." No, he recognized human responsibility as well as Divine providence and selected shiny, round stones that would speed straight to the mark. ── Our Daily Bread.
There is no attribute more 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 that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to 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...for it is God upon the Throne whom we trust.── C.H. Spurgeon.