Posts Tagged sovereignty of God
Today we kick off a new series, Providence: A Study of the Book of Ruth. In today’s sermon, we discuss the role that God plays in governing all things, but especially suffering and pain. This is undoubtedly a difficult subject and can’t be fully grasped, especially in any kind of quick way.
A helpful resource for any wanting to go deeper into this subject is the chapter on God’s Providence from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology [Dr. Grudem is a professor at Phoenix Seminary, and this large book is an excellent resource for anyone looking to study theology, as are his condensed versions, Bible Doctrine (medium) and Christian Beliefs (small)].
All things come to pass by God’s wise providence. This means that we should adopt a much more “personal” understanding of the universe and the events in it. The universe is not governed by impersonal fate or luck, but by a personal God. Nothing “just happens—we should see God’s hand in events throughout the day, causing all things to work together for good for those who love him…A deepened appreciation for the doctrine of providence will not make us more superstitious; it will make us trust in God more and obey him more fully.
One of our key distinctives at Second Mile Church is that we celebrate the sovereignty of God over everything. This means we believe that God is in absolute control of everything that happens.
In light of this, an obvious question, especially as we study about prayer is “If God is in control of everything and already knows everything that will come to pass, why bother praying?”
Bruce Ware has a chapter on this in the book For the Fame of God’s Name, and here’s one of my favorite paragraphs from his much more comprehensive answer:
One of the most startling and wondrous realizations that any Christian can have is that much of the purpose of prayer has to do with one simple thing: relationship–that is relationship coram Deo (before the face of God). One great and glorious reason God devised prayer was to use it as a mechanism to draw us to himself, to help us see how much we need him, to set before us constantly the realization that he is everything we are not and he possesses everything that we lack. We are weak, but he is strong; we are foolish, but he is wise; we are untrustworthy, but he is faithful; we are ignorant, but he is infinitely knowledgeable; we are poor and empty, but he is rich and full. Imagine this: although God does not need any of what we bring to him in prayer, he longs for us to bring everything that we do bring to him and so much more!
Really enjoying Paul Miller’s book, A Praying Life, which I’m reading in preparation for our next series, “Jesus on Prayer.” I like this quote from Miller about how God’s sovereignty brings us hope:
Many Christians haven’t stopped believing in God; we have just become functional deists, living with God at a distance. We view the world as a box with clearly defined edges. But as we learn to pray well, we’ll discover that this is my Father’s world. Because my Father controls everything, I can ask, and he will listen and act. Since I am his child, change is possible–and hope is born.
May we be men and women who press constantly press into our reigning Father.
Yesterday we began our Living in 4G series and we took a look at the reality that God is Great. We saw that because God is great, we don’t have to be in control. God is sovereign and ruling over the universe that he created — so we can trust him. It raises the question, “What is the extent of God’s control over the world?”
Charles Spurgeon answered the question this way:
I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes—
that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit, as well as the sun in the heavens—
that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses.
The creeping of an aphid over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence—
the fall of sere leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche.
HT: Justin Taylor