How many of you have been upset lately with the direction of this country? We have a communistic in the White House constantly telling us how great and how peaceful Islam is. Though many Republicans in Congress have expressed horror at the activities of Planned Parenthood, they still signed the $1.6 trillion omnibus deal.
Americans are forced donors of the nation's largest abortion chain that was caught on video discussing the harvesting and selling of aborted baby body parts. If it would have been puppy parts that Planned Parenthood was selling, they would have been immediately shut down. Last month a lady was arrested for posting a picture on Facebook of her dog with duct tape over his muzzle. We love and protect dogs in this country, but unborn babies not so much.
It seems like everyday our country moves further away from Yahweh, the God of the Bible. Wrong has become right and right has become wrong. Our new heroes are transgenders. Our society is absolutely addicted to entertainment (most of which is utter trash), tens of millions of us are hooked on drugs (both legal and illegal), and we have murdered more than 56 million of our own babies. Our financial system is consumed with greed, we treat our military veterans like human garbage, and most of our "leaders" in Washington D.C. are deeply corrupt.
I could go on for quite a while about how messed up our nation is, but I think you get the point. So how do God fearing Christians deal with this? It is so depressing, so discouraging. When it seems like your world is falling apart, what do you do? I think many of us today are like King David before Achish king of Gath:
Then David arose and fled that day from Saul, and went to Achish king of Gath. But the servants of Achish said to him, "Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of this one as they danced, saying, 'Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands'?" David took these words to heart and greatly feared Achish king of Gath. So he disguised his sanity before them, and acted insanely in their hands, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva run down into his beard. 1 Samuel 21:10-13 NASB
This is David the giant killer. What happened to him? Fear is controlling David, he's filled with anxiety. So he calls out to God? No, he handles it himself, and acts like he's a mad man so the king will let him go. David's ploy worked, the king sent him away, but he was still afraid of and running from Saul:
So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father's household heard of it, they went down there to him. 1 Samuel 22:1 NASB
Here David sits in a cave and starts to think about what a jerk he's been. Do you think that God could have delivered him from Achish? Did he think so? Theologically, yes, but he was focusing on the problem and not on his God. In Psalm 57, which was written from this cave, David begins to put his theology back together:
Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by. I will cry to God Most High, To God who accomplishes all things for me. He will send from heaven and save me; He reproaches him who tramples upon me. Selah. God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth. My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire, Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows And their tongue a sharp sword. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth. They have prepared a net for my steps; My soul is bowed down; They dug a pit before me; They themselves have fallen into the midst of it. Selah. My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises! Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens And Your truth to the clouds. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth. Psalms 57:1-11 NASB
He begins to focus on God, and his strength and stability return. He had forgotten that God was on his side. Have you ever done that? Your theology works on Sunday, but during the week when you hit the wall of trials, trouble, or persecution, you start to panic and you end up scribbling on the walls and drooling on yourself. If you have an awareness that God is Sovereign and that He is on your side, you will have stability. Why should I worry or fear when I know that the Sovereign God who loves me is here?
We see this same idea in Habakkuk, of fear turned to faith when we focus on Yahweh. The thing we can learn from Habakkuk is that a mind fixed on Yahweh can turn doubts into devotion and all confusion into confidence. Go to Matthew and take a left five books to Habakkuk:
The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw. How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, "Violence!" Yet You do not save. Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises. Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted. Habakkuk 1:1-4 NASB
Habakkuk says, "Yahweh, why don't you do something? Why are you allowing this to happen? Why do you allow all the evil to go on?" Have you ever felt like this? I have! In verses 5-11, we have God's disclosure. The change of speakers is apparent from the verbs: look and watch in Hebrew include the plural you. Yahweh speaks!
"Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days— You would not believe if you were told. "For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, That fierce and impetuous people Who march throughout the earth To seize dwelling places which are not theirs. "They are dreaded and feared; Their justice and authority originate with themselves. "Their horses are swifter than leopards And keener than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen come galloping, Their horsemen come from afar; They fly like an eagle swooping down to devour. "All of them come for violence. Their horde of faces moves forward. They collect captives like sand. "They mock at kings And rulers are a laughing matter to them. They laugh at every fortress And heap up rubble to capture it. "Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, They whose strength is their god." Habakkuk 1:5-11 NASB
Verse 10 says, "And heap up rubble to capture it." The Babylonians were known for piling up dirt by the city wall until they had a ramp to go up into the city. They were a fierce people with no mercy. Now Habakkuk has a worse problem. How can God use such an evil nation to punish Judah? He was traumatized by God's revelation:
I heard and my inward parts trembled, At the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, And in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, For the people to arise who will invade us. Habakkuk 3:16 NASB
He was so upset that he could have been hospitalized. What is he going to do? Here stands a shaken prophet, and his problems are real, he is in fear for his nation just like many of us are. He is talking about the wiping out of his nation. This is serious stuff. In verse 12 of chapter 1, he starts to remind himself about Yahweh:
Are You not from everlasting, O LORD, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. You, O LORD, have appointed them to judge; And You, O Rock, have established them to correct. Habakkuk 1:12 NASB
He develops his own catechism (to teach orally by repetition). He uses a question and answer format. "Are you not from everlasting?" This requires an affirmative reply, "God you are eternal—You're bigger than history, and Your plan is always good." "Oh LORD my God"—Yahweh, the eternal "I AM." The self-existent God who is uninfluenced, "My Holy One"—God makes no mistakes.
Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they? Habakkuk 1:13 NASB
"You are holy and you must deal with sin—we deserve this. God, You are eternal, self-existent, holy—we shall not die—God made a covenant with us, and He can't lie. He won't destroy us, but He is disciplining us."
God is sovereign and He is in control. Do you see what Habakkuk is doing? He is saying, "Everything I know about You, God, tells me to stop worrying, You're in control."
"Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4 NASB
Here is the principle: We are to live by faith trusting God. In chapter 3, he outlines the worse possible situation:
Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18 NASB
"No matter how bad my circumstances get, I will rejoice in my God. God is faithful and I will trust Him. In Him I find my joy and contentment." This is a stable man, and his stability is related to his view of God. "I will rejoice in the God of my deliverance."
Believers, we must always remember that our God is absolutely sovereign! Revelation 19:6 says:
Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Revelation 19:6 NASB
The word "Hallelujah" is an exclamation of praise. It recurs frequently in the Book of Psalms, meaning: "Praise Yahweh!" This is a praise to God because of the fact that He is ruling. Is that fact a reality in your life? As you see things happening in this country that greatly disturb you, do you remember that Yahweh is reigning?
Let me share with you an experience that happened about 36 years ago that the Lord often uses in my life. When I was in Bible college I had a professor that I grew to love dearly. I first met him when I was registering for classes. I told Cathy that I hoped I did not have him for any classes because he seemed very odd. Well, you guessed it, he was the teacher in my Systematic Theology class. I didn't sit under his teaching long before I grew to greatly admire him. He had his PHD in Bible, and he knew his Bible well. I sat under his teaching for years and learned much from him. Then something happened that confused and disappointed me. The college had decided to close, and as he told us about it, I sensed a real fear and anxiety from him about his future. He was worried about the sale of his house and finding a new job. I couldn't understand how such a man of God could be shaken by circumstances. I wondered if he really believed all that he had taught me about God.
I remembered that experience when experiencing anxiety over my own circumstances in life. I often have to ask myself if I really believe what I have been teaching for so many years about the sovereignty of God. When this happens, I go over in my mind what I believe about God and my countenance is refreshed, my perspective changes. As I reviewed my theology, I asked myself the same question that David asked himself in the Psalms. "Why so downcast oh my soul? Put your hope in God." After reviewing my theology, particularly the Doctrine of God's sovereignty, I found myself saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!" I am going to preach to myself this morning, and you are welcome to listen in. I needed this reminder, and you might also.
How well do you know your God? I don't mean just know about Him, but know Him. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, and the mightiest philosophy which can ever engage the attention of a child of God is the Name, the nature, the Person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind than thoughts of God; thus preparing us to worship God, who resists the proud.
Knowing God is not just a matter of theology, it is crucially important for the living of our lives. All conscious behavior is preceded by and arises out of our thoughts. And if we want to live a stable life in an unstable world, we must understand that Yahweh is sovereign. By sovereign we mean that He possesses and exercises supreme authority and control in all creation, including man.
Modern political science and modern religion hold to a theory that sovereignty resides in the individual. We must guard our thinking. Left to ourselves we tend to immediately reduce God to manageable terms. We want to get Him where we can use Him. We want a God we can in some measure control. The control of God seems to be an underlying theme of the positive confession movement. Pink summed it up this way, "The god of modern religious thought no more resembles the supreme sovereign of the Bible than does the dim flickering of a candle resemble the glory of the noon day sun."
When we say that God is sovereign, we're saying that God has an absolute right to rule over everything:
"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. "Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. "Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 NASB
For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with a skillful psalm. God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne. Psalms 47:7-8 NASB
"Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it. Isaiah 46:9-11 NASB
But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. Psalms 115:3 NASB
Yahweh our God calls ALL the shots, He rules over all. Why is that? Because He is God. God defends His sovereignty on the basis of creation in the Book of Job. If you were to come home and find your house burned down to the ground with all your belongings, and you had no insurance, how would you respond? Would you question God? What if one of your children died, or all of your children died, would you question God? What if you became ill and could no longer work, and you had no insurance, would you question God? What if you lost everything in one cataclysmic moment: your job, your cars, your house, your savings, your children. How would you respond?
In the Book of Job we have a true story about a real man who lost it all. Let's look at how he responded:
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. Job 1:20-22 NASB
Notice that Job didn't view God as passive, he didn't say, "Yahweh let this happen" or "Yahweh allowed Satan to do this to me." He said, "Yahweh has taken away." He viewed this as from the hand of God, and his response is worship. In the midst of the worst calamity, he worships God:
But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:10 NASB
We all think God is good when He gives us what we consider as good, but He is good all the time, even when He brings calamity upon our lives. This is an incredible man! Job's response is nothing short of amazing. How would you do in his sandals?
Job was a remarkable man. How could he be so strong in his faith? I think we get a clue from:
"I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. Job 23:12 NASB
God's Word was more important to Job than his food. Is that true in your case? How many meals have you missed this week? How many spiritual meals have you missed? Job learned of God's sovereignty. He created, He controls.
The Scriptures show us that God exercises sovereign rule over all the physical universe, over plant and animal creation, over the nations of the earth, and over all individuals. Let's look at what the Scripture says about God's rule of His creation.
GOD RULES OVER THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE:
Scripture tells us that God controls the Sun, wind, rain, hail, snow, and ice. The heavenly bodies , the sun, stars, and planets obey His will:
Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, "O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon." So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. Joshua 10:12-14 NASB
Here Yahweh literally stopped the sun in its path. In an other incident God opened up the earth and swallowed Korah and all of his people, and then closed it up.
God uses the beneficent elements as expressions of His goodness and love, and the destructive elements as instruments of discipline and chastening.
So God sovereignly rules over the physical universe, and GOD RULES OVER THE PLANT AND ANIMAL CREATION. In the Book of Jonah, we see God's control over a fish, a gourd and a worm; that's right, a worm:
And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1:17 NASB
So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant. But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered. Jonah 4:6-7 NASB
The Hebrew word for "appointed" is manah, meaning : "to weigh out; to allot or constitute officially; to appoint, prepare." The Book of Jonah blows away all of the soul-winning techniques taught in our day. Jonah says, "Repent," and the whole city turns to God. God is sovereign over the salvation of man.
We see God's sovereignty over the fish as Peter fishes all night and catches nothing. Then the Lord tells him to cast out his net. and he can't bring it in for all the fish. God had all the fish in the sea head for Peter's net. We see Ballam's donkey speak. That's probably not a big deal though, I'm sure you've heard a donkey or two speak. And how about all the animals lining up to get into the ark before the flood. You don't think that Noah went out and caught all those animals, do you? And how about how God fed Elijah by the Brook Cherith:
"It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there." So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook. 1 Kings 17:4-6 NASB
This is the original bird feeder. Yahweh moved His people out of captivity in Egypt by controlling water, insects, animals, disease, and death. So God sovereignly rules over the physical universe, the plant and animal creation, and GOD RULES OVER THE NATIONS:
This is seen so clearly in the Book of Daniel. In the face of the might and splendor of the Babylonian Empire, which had swallowed up Palestine, and the prospect of further great world empires to follow, dwarfing Israel by every standard of human calculation, the book as a whole forms a dramatic reminder that the God of Israel is King of Kings and Lord of Lords; that God's hand is on history at every point; that history is in deed no more than His-story. The central truth taught all through this book is: "That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will." We see in Daniel 1:9 that God brings Daniel in favor with the prince of the eunuchs. In chapter 2 God controls dreams, and removes and sets up kings:
"It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding. Daniel 2:21 NASB
In chapter 3 we see God controlling fire, it has no effect on His servants. In chapter 4 we see God controlling men's hearts:
"Let his mind be changed from that of a man And let a beast's mind be given to him, And let seven periods of time pass over him. Daniel 4:16 NASB
In chapter 5 God sets up and removes kings. In chapter 6 God controls the lions. Daniel knew God was sovereign, his theology kept him strong in the midst of terrible circumstances. Daniel knew that God was totally in control, and in the midst of a lions den, Daniel got a good nights sleep. On the other hand, in the palace the king was a wreck, he had no sense of the sovereignty of God.
God sovereignly rules over the physical creation, the plant and animal creation, the nations, and: OVER ALL THE AREAS OF EACH MAN'S EXISTENCE.
God is sovereign over the birth of man:
but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb. 1 Samuel 1:5 NASB
For the LORD had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife. Genesis 20:18 NASB
Then Jacob's anger burned against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?" Genesis 30:2 NASB
God is not only sovereign over our birth, but our career and our death as well. God provides for all of our needs:
"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? Matthew 6:25-26 NASB
The omnipotent God Who reigns, cares for us:
casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NASB
The sovereign God who orders every event of the universe, cares for us. That ought to give you great comfort and peace. God gives us safety:
In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety. Psalms 4:8 NASB
He provides for our good:
For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield. Psalms 5:12 NASB
He sustains us:
My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me. Psalms 63:8 NASB
He supplies our needs:
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Yeshua. Philippians 4:19 NASB
God works all things out for our good:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NASB
This could not be true if God was not controlling everything. God protects, provides for, and sustains His people through natural and supernatural means. Our God is in control of everything. God is sovereign over germs. In 2 Chronicles 26 he smote Uzziah with leprosy. In Acts 12 he smote Herod with worms, and he died. God controls battles. You remember the battle that Gideon fought in Judges. His army was 300 strong, armed with pitchers and torches and trumpets. And Joshoshaphat won the battle in 2 Chronicles by putting the singers out front and praising God. God determines the time and circumstances of our death (2 Timothy 4:6-8). God is even sovereign over the thinking process of man:
The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1 NASB
Do you get the picture? God is absolutely sovereign over the universe. The sovereignty of God is the ground of peace and confidence to all His people. They rejoice that the Lord God omnipotent reigns. Neither chance, nor the malice of men control the events of life and all their issues.
Since the king's heart is in God's hand, why do we worry about the king? We are to seek first and foremost to please God:
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 NASB
We believe the biblical accounts, yet doubt God's control in our everyday lives. Yes, God protected, preserved, and cared for His saints, but I'm not sure He's still controlling things in America. Doesn't that sound ridiculous?
God is sovereign. He controls everything. He loves us. What more could we ask for? If we worry or fret, it is only because, as Martin Luther said to Erasmus, "Your thoughts of God are too human."
So I ask you this morning, "Is Yahweh still reigning?" Yes, He is, so don't let your circumstances to cause you to fear. Trust Him! He is in control of America, and all its politicians. And if you really want to see things improve in this country, focus on calling the Church to repentance.