God Knows You, But Do You know Him?

One of the most comforting truths in all the Bible is its teaching on the sovereignty of God. This is so important because how we view God ultimately determines the quality and style of our Christian experience. The 19th century Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote, “When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.” No matter what we may be experiencing, whatever hardships we may face, knowing that God is sovereign can be the stabilizing comfort we all need.

When we talk about God’s sovereignty, we are referring to God’s total and complete control over all things. Everything that happens is under God’s absolute power and control. We could put it in the form of a question: Is God in control of our world or not?

We are constantly told that God reigns from Heaven. He exercises dominion over great and small alike. Listen to God’s word. “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). “Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?” (Lamentations 3:37-38). God is in control of every circumstance of our lives.

I have found two passages, among many others, to be of immense comfort in appreciating God’s sovereignty. The first involves the life of Joseph. After being mistreated by his brothers, he says in their face-to-face encounter after their father had died, “And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).

Why did God allow this mistreatment of Joseph by his brothers? He was sold into slavery, taken to Egypt, interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and ultimately made second in command, so that when a severe famine came, that part of the world, including the people of God, would be kept alive. And read in the context of the entire Bible, Joseph’s mistreatment was part of God’s sovereign plan that through the preservation of the Old Testament people of God the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come.

Joseph had great trust in the midst of great trials. He understood that although “man proposes, God disposes.” As Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” If we don’t believe in a sovereign God, then why pray? For an omnipotent God, there cannot be degrees of difficulty.

You and I can’t always understand the big picture of what God is doing, but as the Apostle Paul says, “We know that He is working all things together for good to those who love Him” (Romans 8:28). Many of us have heard that verse a hundred times. We know it in our heads, but God wants it and the reality of His sovereignty to bring comfort to our hearts.

The second passage that has been of great comfort to me is Proverbs 16:33: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” God ordains all things, even seemingly chance events. What looks like a fortuitous event is not, from God’s perspective.

Jerry Bridges writes, “The comfort God intends for us to derive from His sovereignty is dependent upon our believing it. Those who do not believe God is sovereign over the intents and actions of others do not enjoy this comfort. They often struggle unduly with the sinful actions of other people and, in many instances, allow bitterness to ruin their lives. Those who do believe God is in control can take courage in the fact that God is working in and through their pain and suffering for their ultimate good.”

When the church is experiencing persecution from the world, when the cause of God seems to be languishing, when life comes crashing down around us, there is nothing that is more needed by God’s people than a fresh view of who God is in His greatness, in His glory, and in His sovereignty. The world is rapidly changing. Uncertainty abounds. And God wants us to see that He is the only certainty in an uncertain world.

Shared with You by Pastor Ken Wendland of Heritage Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Mobile, Ala.