- Luke 19:37-40
For me, this passage in Luke is one of the most moving in all of Scripture. Imagine Jesus walking amidst a quiet crowd and the inanimate stones on the ground suddenly coming to life, crying out in praise! Imagine being one of the Pharisees He addressed with such a humbling, powerful claim.
More than anything, this passage serves to prove the absolute sovereignty of God. It is important that we include "absolute" or a similarly all-encompassing term when we describe God's sovereignty because, unlike the sovereignty of earthly rulers, God's sovereignty is not limited in any way. He is in complete control over everything in His creation, no matter how seemingly insignificant.
Nearly all professing Christians uphold God's sovereignty on the surface; but dig beneath the surface and you will soon discover many underlying layers which prove that they really view God as anything but sovereign. The God of Christendom is one of great power but shocking inability. He has the desire and power to save all humanity, but man's authority overpowers His will. He intends for the world to be perfect, but man's continual failure forces Him to, instead, spend all of His time putting out fires. In short, the God of Christendom is not the RulER of men; He is the RulED of men.
The greatest assault on the sovereignty of God is the false doctrine of man's free will. In order for man's will to be "free," God must relinquish His authority. Many make the claim that God sovereignly chooses to give man free will. In this way, God appears to retain His control when He has actually given it up. Few claims defy logic as much as this one.
"Sovereign" is a title which is upheld by a set of specific qualities. When the qualities that define the title are absent, the title is no longer valid. Thus, for God to be called "sovereign," He must be sovereign! He cannot give up the characteristics that define His title and still retain the title. According to the doctrine of man's free will, it is man, not God, who is - by definition - sovereign.
Fortunately, Christendom's assault on God's sovereignty is, itself, under God's sovereign control. God has planned man's ignorance and every other wicked occurrence (Is. 45:7) in order to fulfill His purpose. He "locks up all together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all" (Rom. 11:32). Man's failure was not a surprise to God - it was planned by Him! Every moment of every life has been penned before it's begun by the Great Author Who has our every hair numbered (Ma. 10:30). No particle of dust, gust of wind, blade of grass or grain of sand moves along its course apart from the Almighty Creator's command. The sun, moon and stars radiate their light and heat at their Maker's direction. All things - great or small, vast or microscopic - are created, sustained and directed at every second by the hand of Almighty God.
It is impossible for us in our current mortal state to come even close to grasping the awesomeness of God. We can hardly do two things at once, let alone control every atom in existence! God spoke creation into existence. (Please read the prior sentence again.) Questioning God's power is entirely out of the question.
Because of man's inability to fathom the level of God's control, many view Him as more of a general manager Who controls the "big" things but doesn't bother with the "small" things. I recently had lunch with a former coworker who is on the board for a seminary in Ohio, and we discussed the sovereignty of God during our time together. He was quite taken aback by my claim that God manages even the most seemingly insignificant details of creation, and in response he said, "Well, I believe God controls the big things but not every minor detail. For example, I believe that He orchestrated us both coming to work for the same company, but not that He orchestrated us having lunch together today."
This attitude toward God's sovereignty is, without a doubt, the norm. Yet, where do we draw the line? Is it any easier for God to manage the trillions of "big" things in life than the big and small? If any of the "small" things that are not under God's control happen to cause a problem, what is the result? Clearly, if God is sovereign over all creation, there is nothing left to chance and nothing He regards as unimportant.
Proverbs 16:33 says, "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord." The casting of lots was an ancient custom for randomly choosing the winner of a prize. We see the casting of lots several times in Scripture, including among the Roman soldiers at Christ's crucifixion and when the disciples chose Matthias to replace Judas. Small bits of stone, wood or other materials (the lots) were thrown (cast) into a garment (lap), and each lot was assigned to one person. The one whose lot fell out first won the prize.
No doubt, most people view this type of activity as entirely random (one of the "small" things God doesn't bother managing); but this passage in Proverbs informs us that what's random to us isn't random at all to God. The decision of the lot - its direction - is ordained by God.
The more we come into a realization of God's sovereignty, the more humble and at peace we become. When we see dust particles shimmering in a beam of light and realize that each of their courses is plotted by God, we are able to do nothing but fall to our knees in awe. When we recognize that every action and event is not only allowed by God but commanded by Him, we can rest assured, knowing that nothing is left to chance and that all will turn out just as it should. Most importantly, when we realize that it is God's will, not ours, that is free, we can experience the joy that comes from knowing that our Father sent His Son to save all without giving anyone the "freedom" to reject Him.
© 2013 by Stephen Hill