“Sovereign – Pt 2” – Jeremiah 27:1-22

September 22nd, 2019

Jeremiah 27:1-22

“Sovereign – Pt 2”

Aux. Text: Acts 17:24-31

Call to Worship:  Psa 2 

Service Orientation: God is sovereign over all. Because every ruler is God’s servant; every world event is for God’s purposes. We need to trust the kind, compassionate, forgiving, all-powerful, all-knowing, ever present, loving God Whose ways are much higher than our ways.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. — Isaiah 55:8-9

                   

Background Information:

  • The events of chs. 27-28 took place in the fourth year of Zedekiah (28:1; cf. 27:3, 12, 20), which was 594-593 B.C. (George Arthur Buttrick, Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 5, 1010)
  • A yoke symbolizes submission and control. Just like an animal is yoked in order to harness its energies for its owner, so, according to Jeremiah, Nebuchadnezzar will make the nations submit and bring them under his control.  The yoke is the center of attention throughout chapters 27 and 28 (see also Jer 2:20; 5:5; 30:8).  (Tremper Longman III, Understanding the Bible: Jeremiah,185)
  • Back in 597 B.C. the Babylonians had downsized Jerusalem, carrying much plunder and many people back to Babylon. They set up Zedekiah as the puppet king of Judah.  But at the time this chapter was written, in 594 B.C. or so, Nebuchadnezzar seemed vulnerable.  The Babylonian Chronicles record that during this period he had to repel an attack by an enemy, put down a revolt among his own people, and launch a military campaign against the Syrians.  So with King Zedekiah as their ringleader, the downtrodden nations of the Middle East gathered in Jerusalem to plot the downfall of Babylon.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 388)
  • (v. 2) The Hebrew word translated “yoke” is plural, causing some to suggest Jeremiah wore more than one yoke on his neck. This would have symbolized the various kings whom he was advising to surrender.  Others suggest he gave each visiting ambassador a yoke to carry home for his king.  Another possibility is that it was one yoke made up of more than one yoke bar.  (Max Anders, Holman OT Commentary: Jeremiah, 238)
  • (v. 3) The city was bustling with diplomats in those days. Special envoys from Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon had all gathered in Jerusalem for a summit meeting.  They were having talks to form a military coalition and throw off the yoke of Babylonian oppression.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 388)
  • (v. 7) “And all nations shall serve him [Nebuchadnezzar], and his son, and his son’s son” (v. 7) is a proverbial expression that simply means they shall serve him for a long time. (Warren Wiersbe, Be Decisive, 136)
  • (v. 9) False prophets are those who are not sent by Yahweh, though they might speak in his name. Deuteronomy 13 and 18 provide the people with two tests by which they were to determine whether or not they should listen to a prophet.  Dt 13:1-5 describes a situation where a prophet presents a message that comes true, but then urges the people to follow a god other than Yahweh.  Even though the message came true, the prophet is by definition false because he represents a false deity.  On the other hand, Dt 18:14-21 addresses the situation of a prophet who speaks in the name of Yahweh, but whose message does not turn out to be true.  By definition, this prophet cannot really be a prophet of Yahweh since Yahweh never speaks falsehoods.  Such false prophets were to be killed.  (Tremper Longman III, Understanding the Bible: Jeremiah,184)
  • (v. 9) Verse 9 provides an intriguing list of mediators and specialists for determining the will of the gods. Five specialists are mentioned: prophets, diviners, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers.  In times of threat and calamity, such people have plenty of customers.  The text does not make any distinction between those practitioners who have sought the Lord’s will through their rituals and those who may have consulted another deity.  All alike are rejected.  (J. Andrew Dearman, The NIV Application Commentary: Jeremiah, 248-9)
  • (v. 13)“Sword, famine and plague” is Jeremiah’s typical phrase for total disaster. It means that his earlier prophecies of judgment would be fulfilled.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 389)
  • (vss. 13ff) The Babylonian yoke turned out to be God’s yoke. God’s yoke is always gentle, and Jer 27 ends with a promise about the end of the Exile.  “‘They [the temple furnishings] will be taken to Babylon and there they will remain until the day I come for them.’ declares the LORD.  ‘Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place’” (v. 22).  God kept this promise.  The Bible records that the temple furnishings did not remain in Babylon but were returned to Jerusalem in 539 B.C. (Ezr 1:7-11).  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 395-6)
  • (v. 18) Jeremiah taunted the false prophets by encouraging them to pray about the matter. After all, if they were true prophets of God, the Lord would surely answer their prayers.  He told them to pray, not for the return of the treasures now in Babylon, but for the preservation of the treasures still in the temple.  When the Babylonians organized a second deportation in 597 BC at the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign (Jer 27:1; 28:1), it proved that the false prophets were indeed liars and that their prayers weren’t answered.  (Warren Wiersbe, Be Decisive, 137)

 

The questions to be answered are . . . What is Jeremiah teaching here in chapter 27 of his book?  How can we begin to make sense of what seems to be so hard to believe?

 

Answer: Jeremiah is saying God is sovereign over all.  That means that all events, are not just history . . . but His Story.  With the presence of evil leaders, evil events and a seemingly godless world, this is a hard lesson to believe.  But, if we look closely, there is more than enough evidence for real, saving faith so we can believe.

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Sovereign

 

What can we learn about God’s sovereignty?:

I-  God is sovereign.  One way or another, everybody will bear God’s yoke.  (Jer 27:2-7 see also: Ex 6:17; Lv 26:13; Dt 28:48; Ps 106:28; Isa 9:4; 10:27; 14:25; 44:28; 47:6; Jer 2:20-25; 28:1-16; Hos 10:11; Phil 2:10-11)

 

God made the earth and everything in it; therefore he rules the earth and everything in it.  By virtue of the act of creation, God rules over all nations, whether they recognize it or not.  He has the right to do whatever he wants with them.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 389)

 

God intends to judge the people for their iniquities, to refine them through the process of political servitude, and then to use them as instructional examples to later generations of his people.  This is a sobering thought, but Jeremiah’s yoke does not just represent Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon; it also represents God’s judgment on Judah and the neighboring states.  Even more radically, the yoke represents the will of God himself to constrain his people.  (J. Andrew Dearman, The NIV Application Commentary: Jeremiah, 250)

 

Resistance, then, was useless because Nebuchadnezzar was God’s instrument (cf. Isa 44:28 for God’s use of Cyrus).  To resist the known will of God is always spiritual suicide.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 544)

 

Their envoys had assembled to plan how to shake off the yoke of Babylon; so the yoke symbol was highly appropriate.  Jeremiah required great courage to stand against these envoys as well as his own countrymen, but Jeremiah was exercising his commission as a prophet to the nations (cf. 1:10).  Smaller nations often revolted against their Mesopotamian conquerors, often with the help and prodding of Egypt, but they seldom did it with success.  Through Jeremiah the Lord is charging them all that it is his will for them to submit to Nebuchadnezzar for their own good.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 544)

 

Yes, God will restore the temple vessels, but God is more concerned with the fate of his people and the refining judgment they must undergo.  Ultimately God will bring a merciful end to Babylonian supremacy and in the process will restore his people.  His goal is (and remains!) to make his people fit vessels for his service, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (1 Pt 2:9).  (J. Andrew Dearman, The NIV Application Commentary: Jeremiah, 251)

                   

We ought to conform to God’s will in interior trials, that is to say in all the difficulties met with our spiritual life, such as temptations, scruples, anxieties, aridity, desolation and so on.  Whatever immediate cause we may attribute to these states of mind, we must always look beyond to God as their author.  If we think they come from ourselves, then it is true to say that they have their origin in the ignorance of our mind, the oversensitiveness of our feelings, the disordered state of our imagination or the perversity of our inclinations.  But if we go back farther, if we ask where the defects themselves come from, we can only find their origin in the will of God who has not endowed us with greater perfection, and by making us subject to these infinites has laid on us the duty of bearing all the consequences of them for our sanctification until He is pleased to put an end to them.  As soon as He judges it in the right moment to touch our mind or heart, we shall be enlightened, fortified, and consoled.  (Father Jean Baptiste; Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, 81-2)

 

Let us note here, with regard to the difficulties we may find in submitting to the will of God, that even when our will is firmly decided to submit, and has in fact submitted, our mind, following its natural inclination, may still continue to reason and argue on the events that are occurring or may occur.  We may say to ourselves for example: “If I were now well, or if I were to fall ill, if I were given such and such a job, if I went to such and such a place, if such and such a thing happened, it would be good (or bad) for me, it would help (or prevent) my plans, I could do this or that as I want to,” and so on.  Nature tries thus to obtain at least the satisfaction of thinking about and discussing the incidents of our lives.  But we should endeavor to exterminate these remains of our corrupt nature, and just as for the love of God we have forbidden our will to use its freedom of choice, for the same reason we ought to deny our mind the freedom of discussion and judgment.  Let us entrust ourselves totally and unreservedly to the direction of Divine Providence. (Father Jean Baptiste; Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, 90-1)

 

I do not mean that when God wills to do something we can always see what the end is.  On the contrary, in countless cases, we can only see that it is His will, and that should be enough for us.  We are sure that whatever He does is done with a holy purpose.  The purpose is often hidden in the mystery of the divine wisdom.  For us to refuse to bow to God’s will just because we do not know what His purpose is–that is the very height of irreligion.  It is the sin of all sin; it is to pit our ignorance against His infinite wisdom and knowledge; it is rebellion and pride and madness.  May God save us all from such a sin as that!  (J. Gresham Machen, The Christian View of Man, 30)

 

Everything God does is significant.  So when God caused Nebuchadnezzar to be lowered from the pinnacle of pride to the baseness of insanity and to be associated with the beasts and behave like a beast, God was saying by that punishment that this is the result when men give the glory of God to themselves.  They become beastlike.  (James Montgomery Boice, Daniel: An Expositional Commentary, 56-7) 

 

Nebuchadnezzar stands as a warning against the pride of Western culture.  We have big homes, tall buildings, and fat bank accounts.  But at the same time we live in a society marked by physical violence and sexual license.  In other words, we commit the very sins that make us seem most like animals.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 392-3)

 

The thrust of the message is Zedekiah’s submission to the Babylonians.  He was a weak and ambivalent ruler who could never carry through a resolve to follow the Lord wholly.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 545)

 

II-  World rulers are God’s servants.  World events proceed with God’s permission.  (Jer 27:5-7 see also: Gn 14:18-20; Dt 4:39; 32:8, 39-43; 2 Sm 2:6-8; 1 Chr 29:11-12; Isa 40; 44:28; 45:1; Jer 10:10; 25:9, 13; 29:10; 43:10; Dn 4; Acts 17:24-31; 1 Tm 1:17)

 

It’s not just history.  It is His Story!

 

  1. When Jeremiah speaks of Nebuchadrezzar as the servant of Yahweh, he means not that the Babylonian king is a worshiper of Yahweh, but that he is one who serves as an agent of and receives his authority from Yahweh; cf. second Isaiah’s designation of Cyrus the Persian monarch as the one who is “anointed” by Yahweh (Isa 45:1). This deity who controls the history of nations.  (George Arthur Buttrick, Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 5, 1011)

 

In keeping with prophecies made elsewhere (25:13; 29:10), the end of Babylonian supremacy is also acknowledged.  Babylon’s end is noted (27:7), as is God’s intent to restore the temple vessels taken by Nebuchadnezzar and those of his people now in exile (27:22).  (J. Andrew Dearman, The NIV Application Commentary: Jeremiah, 248)

 

God is so powerful, and his rule is so absolute, that he can speak about the momentous events of world affairs in the most casual way.  He parcels out kingdoms the way people pass out sticks of gum.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 389)

 

Nebuchadnezzar did not build great Babylon by his power and for his majesty.  According to Jeremiah, the kingdom of Babylon had nothing to do with him at all–it was a gift from God.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 392)

 

Jeremiah’s disturbing gifts of thongs and yoke-bars to the visiting diplomats of verse 3 (whose talk with King Zedekiah will hardly have been confined to the weather) must have seemed as insulting and defeatist as they appeared to Jeremiah’s own people.  Yet chapters 46-51 will show how ripe for judgment were these neighbors, and what mercy lay beyond the judgment for many of them (as our v. 7 already hints).  Above all, this sign and oracle proclaimed the world-wide sovereignty of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel (4), to whom even the greatest power on earth is unwittingly my servant (6).  (Derek Kidner, The Bible Speaks Today:  Jeremiah, 98)

 

In 598 B.C. Zedekiah had been placed on the throne of Judah by Nebuchadrezzar (2 Kgs 24:17), but four years later he was ready to consider revolt against Babylonia.  As 27:3 implies, the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon sent envoys to Jerusalem for conference with Zedekiah, either to persuade him to rebel or, if he had already consented to rebel, to plan their strategy.  To the envoys, to Zedekiah, and to the people of Judah Jeremiah made his position crystal clear: These nations ought to submit to the yoke of Babylonia, for Yahweh has given all of them into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar, who is really Yahweh’s servant.  (George Arthur Buttrick, Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 5, 1010)

 

Many years ago Daniel Fleming wrote a book called Marks of a World Christian.  By “world Christian,” Fleming meant someone who recognizes that God rules the kingdoms of the world.  A world Christian is someone who takes a vital interest in the worldwide work of God and prays for the unbroken advance of God’s kingdom.  To put it another way, “World Christians are day-to-day disciples for whom Christ’s global cause has become the integrating, overriding priority.”  (David Bryant, In the Gap: What It Means to Be a World Christian, 93)  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 390)

 

If God rules over kingdoms, he must also rule over kings.  After all, he is the King of kings.  Notice how he describes one of the greatest kings in the history of the world: “Now I will hand all your countries over to my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon” (v. 6). 

     That statement is remarkable for two reasons.  First, it is a most condescending way to speak about the most powerful man on the face of the earth: “my servant Nebuchadnezzar” (cf. 25:9; 43:10).  It is the kind of language an ancient king would use to describe one of his vassals.  Nebuchadnezzar was God’s lapdog.  How powerful must God be to speak so casually about a world superpower?  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 391)

 

Is it the chief purpose of God to glorify man and to enjoy him forever?  Or is it the chief purpose of man to glorify God and enjoy Him forever?  The yardstick, Job, “declares the Lord, is not your purpose. You have no right to rule things out of court as purposeless or as unjust in terms of their relationship to you, because you are not the yardstick.  You cannot say, because things affect me thus and so, therefore the whole frame of things is out of joint.”  Not Job but the Lord is the yardstick.  And the only yardstick by which things in heaven and earth can be judged is the Lord and His purpose, the ontological trinity, the Sovereign God in Himself.  Thus what God required of Job was that he recognize His sovereignty in every respect, recognize that the only standard for judging his own personal life and his own problems was not in terms of himself but in terms of the sovereignty of God, in terms of the Triune God in Himself.  (Rousas J. Rushdoony, By What Standard?, 198)

 

Do not let ourselves be troubled when we are sometimes beset by adversity, for we know that it is meant for our spiritual welfare and carefully proportioned to our needs, and that a limit has been set to it by the wisdom of the same God who has set a bound to the ocean.  Sometimes it might seem as if the sea in its fury would overflow and flood the land, but it respects the limits of its shore and its waves break upon the yielding sand.  There is no tribulation or temptation whose limits God has not appointed so as to serve not for our destruction but for our salvation.  God is faithful says the Apostle, and will not permit you to be tempted (or afflicted) beyond your strength, but it is necessary for you to be so, since through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God in the steps of our Redeemer who said of Himself, Did not the Christ have to suffer all these things before entering into his glory?  If you refused to accept these tribulations you would be acting against your best interests.  You are like a block of marble in the hands of the sculptor.  The sculptor must chip, hew and smooth it to make it into a statue that is a work of art.  God wishes to make us the living image of Himself.  All we need to think of is to keep still in His hands while He works on us, and we can rest assured that the chisel will never strike the slightest blow that is not needed for His purposes and our sanctification; for, as St. Paul says, the will of God is your sanctification.  (Father Jean Baptiste; Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, 31-3)

 

III-  Submit to God’s yoke and be saved.  (Jer 27:8, 11 see also: Jer 5:5-6; 28:4-16; 30:8; Ezek 34:27; Nah 1:13; Mt 11:29-30; Mk 13:13; Lk 1:77; Jn 10:9; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; Rom 1:16; 5:9-10; 10:9-10, 13; 1 Cor 1:18; Gal 5:1; Eph 2:5-8; Heb 9:28)

 

The reason for their punishment was that they had thrown off the yoke of obedience to God.  Near the beginning of his ministry, Jeremiah had conveyed this message from the Lord:  “Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, ‘I will not serve you!’” (2:20; cf. 5:5).  By now it was becoming increasingly apparent that breaking away from obedience to God never brings freedom; instead it brings slavery to some harsh taskmaster.  The gentle yoke of obedience was to be replaced by the brutal yoke of oppression, service to God by servitude to Nebuchadnezzar.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 394)

 

Verses 1-7 describe the best-case scenario for these five small nation states that surround Judah.  If they submit to Babylon, then they will become its vassals, but will survive intact.  But if they resist Nebuchadnezzar’s yoke, then they face warfare and deportation (vv. 8-11).  The harm that will come to these nations is described by the familiar triad of sword, famine and plague.  (Tremper Longman III, Understanding the Bible: Jeremiah,186)

 

Every last word of that prophecy came true.  Zedekiah refused to come under the yoke.  He rebelled and was captured by the Babylonians (2 Kgs 25:1).  “They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes.  Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon” (v. 7).  They also broke down the rest of the temple furnishings and carried them off to Babylon (Jer 52:17-23; cf. 2 Kgs 25:13-17).  When God tells people to bow under the yoke, they must either bow or face the consequences.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 395)

 

What these politicians needed was not clever strategy but submission to Babylon.  When Jeremiah was asked why he was wearing a yoke, he gave them the message from God: Judah and the other nations must submit to Nebuchadnezzar or else be destroyed.  (Warren Wiersbe, Be Decisive, 136)

 

St. Gregory sets the same truth before us in another light.  A doctor, he says, orders leeches to be applied.  While these small creatures are drawing blood from the patient their only aim is to gorge themselves and suck up as much of it as they can.  The doctor’s only intention is to have the impure blood drawn from the patient and to cure him in this manner.  There is therefore no relations between the insatiable greed of the leeches and the intelligent purpose of the doctor in using them.  The patient himself does not protest at their use.  He does not regard the leeches as evildoers.  Rather he tries to overcome the repugnance the sight of their ugliness causes and help them in their action, in the knowledge that the doctor has judged it useful for his health.

     God makes use of men as the doctor does of leeches.  Neither should we then stop to consider the evilness of those to whom God gives power to act on us or be grieved at their wicked intentions, and we should keep ourselves from feelings of aversion toward them.  Whatever their particular views may be, in regard to us they are only instruments of well-being, guided by the hand of an all-good, all-wise, all-powerful God who will allow them to act on us only in so far as is of use to us.  It is in our interest to welcome instead of trying to repel their assaults, as in very truth they come from God.  And it is the same with all creatures of whatever kind.  Not one of them could act upon us unless the power were given it from above. (Father Jean Baptiste; Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, 22-3)

                   

If you try to logically figure out the will of God, you’ll never take a step of faith.  Why?  Because the will of God is not logical.  It’s theological.  It adds God into the equation, and that’s why it doesn’t always add up on our human calculators. The promptings of the Holy Spirit won’t always make sense to your logical left brain.  In fact, God ideas often seem like bad ideas.  But that is when you need to allow the Holy Spirit to override your intellect.  (Mark Batterson, Primal, A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity, 139-40)

 

 

Worship Point: Worship the God of the Universe.  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Adolph Hitler, Nelson Mandela, Saddam Hussein, Joseph Stalin, Caesars Augustus, Nero, Claudius as well as Winston Churchill, Barak Obama and Donald Trump are all God’s servants.  (Dn 4:Rom 13:1-17; 1 Pt 2:13-17)

 

“Your thoughts of God are too human.” said Luther to Erasmus. This is where most of us go astray.   Our thoughts of God are not great enough; we fail to reckon with the reality of His limitless wisdom and power.  Because we ourselves are limited and weak, we imagine that at some points God is too, and find it hard to believe that He is not.   We think of God as too much like what we are.  Put this mistake right, says God; learn to acknowledge the full majesty of your incomparable God and Savior.  (J. I. Packer; Knowing God, 78-9)

 

Gospel Application: Jesus’ life and death are the ultimate evidence that God is sovereign over all.   Submit to Jesus.  His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Mt 11:28-30; Jn 10:1-18).  He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  (Dt 10:17; Ps 2; 136:3; Dn 2:37; 1 Cor 2;  1 Tm 6:15; Rv 17:14; 19:16)

                   

If we are in the center of God’s will for our lives, we can bear up under any amount of stress.  But when we are out of God’s will, then even unbridled success can taste sour and bitter. (Patrick Morley; The Man In The Mirror, 102)

                   

God’s will is the very definition of what is good, pleasing, and perfect.  The good is the will of God.  The pleasing is the will of God.  The perfect is the will of God.  The will of God is nothing less than his character, shaped into laws for our conduct.  We can never change that.  It is the summum bonum.  But we can discover his will in its marvelous breadth and beauty.  His commands are never burdensome (1 Jn 5:3).  But they need to be practiced in order fully to demonstrate their liberating character.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Give Praise to God A Vision for Reforming Worship, 349)

 

This is probably one of the hardest doctrines for 21st century American Christians to accept.  And yet, the Biblical witness to the truth of this doctrine is convincing indeed if one accepts the authority of the Bible as being the very Word of God. — Pastor Keith

 

As believers, we must rest in this:  God is not answerable to man for what he does.  However, he can be relied upon to act consistently with his character, which has been disclosed supremely in Christ.  With such a God, why should any of us question his ways?  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Romans, 179)

 

Spiritual Challenge: See God as sovereign over all.  See every person, nation, movement and culture as God’s servant for His purposes. (Acts 17:24-28) Look for evidence that will foster real saving faith.  Don’t wishfully trust in a leap of faith into the dark.

 

God never promises that our lives will be free of obstacles, problems, crises, and adversities.  He promises something better.  He will use every obstacle in your life to bring to fulfillment the very purposes He has planned for your life.  Every problem, every crisis, every adversity, every setback, and every sorrow will be turned around to bring breakthrough, blessing, and triumph.  And in God, every mountain, every obstacle that has hindered God’s purposes in your life, will, in the end, be turned around and become a capstone to bring about the completion of those very purposes.  (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, Day 313)

 

The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib.  (Isa 1:3); the most dull and stupid creatures know their benefactors.  O look to the hand of God in all; and know that neither your comforts nor afflictions do arise out of the dust, or spring up out of the ground.  (John Flavel; The Mystery of Providence, 181)

                                       

“Those who have abandoned themselves to God always lead mysterious lives and receive from him exceptional and miraculous gifts by means of the most ordinary, natural and chance experiences in which there appears to be nothing unusual.  The simplest sermon, the most banal conversations, the least erudite books become a source of knowledge and wisdom to these souls by virtue of God’s purpose. This is why they carefully pick up the crumbs which clever minds tread under foot, for to them everything is precious and a source of enrichment.” (Ken Gire; The Reflective Life, 25)

 

Spiritual Challenge Questions:

  1. How can we begin to rationally explain that a good, righteous, all-powerful, just and holy God is sovereign over all when there is so much evil as well as so many evil, selfish, self-serving, and ungodly rulers in the world?
  2. What Biblical examples do we have that show us how to handle the tension between living in light of God’s sovereign rule over all and our having to face evil people in an evil world?
  3. How does today’s memory verse from Isaiah 55:8-9 empower us to face evil?
  4. When our faith is attacked because unbelievers cannot see how God can be sovereign in the midst of all the evil; what can we say in response?

 

So What?: Allow the reality of God’s sovereignty over all leaders and rulers enable you to see God as Lord over all and powerful enough to make good His promises that everything will work for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.  (Gn 50:20; Rom 8:28)

 

If you live outside the will of God, if you act against it, then you will live and act with the authority of a private, which is to have no authority.  But if you live inside the will of God, if you follow the directives of God, if you carry out His assignment, if you set your course on fulfilling His mission, then you will live in the authority of God.  Then every rank in this universe must yield to your steps, every door must unlock, and every gate must open.  So make it your aim to live your life wholly in the will of God.  Find your mission and fulfill it.  And you will walk in the power and the authority of the Almighty.”  (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, Day 133)

 

There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to than the doctrine of their Master over all creation—the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands—the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne…for it is God upon the Throne whom we trust. — C.H. Spurgeon.

 

We come into this world like so many clay pots.  Our lives are pitted with blemishes and impurities.  We are neither useful nor beautiful.  As clay goes, we are not all that easy to work with.  We need to be created all over again, which is what the Holy Spirit does in the life of a sinner who trusts in Christ.  He makes him or her into something useful and beautiful.  If you know Christ, then you are a memorial to God’s patience and long-suffering, his careful use of material, and his power of making something out of failure.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 301)

 

God’s Will – exactly what I would choose if I knew all the facts.

 

It’s not just history. It is His Story.

 

JESUS:

KING of KINGS

LORD of LORDS

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply