Monday, June 9, 2014

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY (A Triune Publication – Part 3)

God’s Sovereignty is Comforting

There was a scene in a movie about “Stonewall” Jackson, a Christian general during the American Civil War. He and his men were in the open and there were bullets and shrapnel flying all around them. “Stonewall” calmly sitting on his horse said, “One place is as safe as another!”

Look, if there is something we can do we should do it. But if there is nothing we can do then we might as well trust the providence of God. However, we are not to be fatalists. As Oliver Cromwell said to his men who were ready for battle, “Trust God and keep your powder dry.” In other words, though God is 100% sovereign, He holds you and me 100% responsible for our actions. We are in God’s Army! He wants us to trust Him. We might not understand what is going on at any given point in our life but we are to trust in His leadership!

Alfred Tennyson wrote that famous poem called “The Charge of the Light Brigade” about a cavalry charge against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean War.

2. “Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

3. Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Now, the good news is that not all of the six hundred (actually it was 666!) lost their lives. Apparently one hundred and ten of them died! Be-that-as-it-may, what about the line, “Not tho’ the soldier knew / Someone had blunder’d: / Theirs not to make reply, / Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die.”?

Someone may have “blunder’d” in ordering the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. However, unlike the light-horsemen (at least the way Lord Tennyson portrays them), God wants us to “reason why”! He says in Scripture, “‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be as red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18.

How does God reason with anyone living today? Covenantally! – which means simply that we are to search the Book of the Covenant, i.e., the Scriptures for the answers. By Covenant we mean a promise, i.e., a conditional promise. The Good News is that God keeps all the conditions of His promise for us. How so? “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

It is by His grace that the sovereign God opens our hearts to believe. He gives us the gift of faith. Therefore, are you believing in Him? Are you really believing in Him, even when you see misery, suffering and death around you? Do you believe that God is in control, sovereign control?

Listen to the writer to the Hebrews, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.’” Hebrews 12:5b-6.

Or, as it says in Lamentations 3:39, “Why should the living complain when punished for their sins?” Why indeed! To complain would only be to grumble against God’s sovereignty!

God’s sovereignty is confronting. However, when understood covenantally it becomes comforting! In the words of David in the Shepherd’s Psalm, Psalm 23, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4.

And what about the glorious future He has promised us? “Then I saw a new heaven and new earth … He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:1a; 4.

Trust in God. Trust in His sovereignty. Think about it: If God were a pool-player and the universe a pool-table He would sink every ball on the table non-stop. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows every contingent event, every ricochet! For He is the One who made creation and He made it for a purpose – His own glory! Therefore let us continue to glorify God and continue to enjoy Him forever! Let us applaud Him! Let God be God!

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