When you look up the meaning of sovereign, you usually see a definition in relation to a king or queen such as “a supreme ruler, especially a monarch” so naturally you think of someone like Queen Elizabeth II. She is powerful but not all powerful. You may also think about someone evil like Vladimir Putin who is very powerful and thinks he is sovereign but in the end like every other human, will find out that he is not all powerful. In the end all will be judged by God. Ezekiel 24:14 “‘I the Lord have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back; I will not have pity, nor will I relent. You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” God on the other hand is sovereign and all powerful. When talking about God’s sovereignty you see verses like this from Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. 27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Acts 4:24 “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.” We go back to the beginning and we see that Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That is why we can say God is sovereign. Oddly man who still hasn’t seen the end of the universe matter of factly states that there is no God.
At the end of Job’s perseverance, God questions him. Elihu was railing away at Job trying to point out how wrong Job was, but then God stepped in and said Job 38:2 “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” Elihu all but disappears and then God starts to question. If you wanted more on the sovereignty of God, and you should, read Job 38-42. I picture Job being blown away like the old Maxell tapes commercial with the guy sitting in front of a speaker or standing in a hurricane. God over and over questioned Can you; Tell me; Who; Have you; What; Does; Do you and verse after verse Job listens to God and then Job 40:1 “The Lord said to Job: 2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” 3 Then Job answered the Lord: 4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. 5 I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more.” 6 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm: 7 “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” God then keeps going with the questions. Job 42:1 “Then Job replied to the Lord: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Even though God said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” Even though Job had done no wrong in what he said (Elihu not prayed for) he still was repentant before His Sovereign God. Will you acknowledge that no purpose of God can be thwarted.
That is the meaning of Sovereign as God created the heavens and earth and controls everything in it. Not only did God create the earth, He will end it. Deuteronomy 3:24 “Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? David said 2 Samuel 7:22 “How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.” Isaiah 40:10 “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.” Tomorrow I will be talking about the mighty arm of God. In Daniel not only do we see Daniel describe his sovereign God, but we also saw King Nebuchadnezzar describe God as sovereign. Daniel was put in an impossible position, at least from a human perspective. The king wanted the wise men not only to interpret his dream but tell him what the dream was.Daniel 2:5 “The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. 6 But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me. 10 The astrologers answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. 11 What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans. 12 This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon.” That would also include Daniel his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. They then prayed to God who is sovereign and 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision.” Daniel then said “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. 22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
Later King Nebuchadnezzar said Daniel 4:2 “It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. 3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.” After his royal authority was taken from him and he came back to his senses I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” 36 At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom.”
God is sovereign and controls everything. As Daniel said, “God changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others.” Nothing happens that God does not allow. When Job lost everything, this happened because as we saw, God allowed it to happen. Job 1:6 “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to satan, “Where have you come from?” satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 8 Then the Lord said to satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Then it happened again Job 2:1 “On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the Lord said to satan, “Where have you come from?” satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 3 Then the Lord said to satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” In another example we see the prophet Micaiah who was brought before King Ahab, he said 1 Kings 22:19 “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ “One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked. “‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’ 23 “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.” This is why we were told to test the spirits. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
My question today is why would you turn away from God, who is sovereign, to follow men or women who only think they are all knowing and all powerful but have no power to defeat satan whatsoever. Why would you turn away from God’s words to follow the empty words of man? Isaiah 46:8 “Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. 9 Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. 10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ 11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do. 12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are now far from my righteousness. 13 I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.”
Even as Job repented, the church must return to God who is sovereign and obey His words. Amos talks about God’s people refusing to return to Him and follow His ways. Amos 4:11 “I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. 12 “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God.” 13 He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord God Almighty is his name.” Are you prepared to meet your God? Will you despise yourself and repent in dust and ashes? Isaiah 30:15 “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”