So, why does a proper understanding of God’s sovereignty matter?
It affects how we live our life. If we truly believe God is sovereign over all things, even the bad things, then we have a better respect for his holiness and more trust to get us through our suffering.
This past week’s Sunday School lesson was about Joshua ch 7, where all of Israel is defeated by the town of Ai because one person kept some things from Jericho that were supposed to be devoted to destruction to God’s glory. God arranged for their defeat. Joshua and the Elders knew enough to get on their knees and ask God why he let them be defeated, but God had to tell them to get up and root out the sin that led to their defeat. Achan didn’t truly respect the holiness or righteousness of God. He thought he could keep just a few little things and God wouldn’t miss them.
Then the sermon Sunday was from 2 Cor 12:1-10. Paul talks about his visions and then about the fact that he was given a thorn in his flesh to keep him humble. God told him “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” That was enough for Paul to delight in his weakness.
Pastor Hamer continued that God is working on our perception of our lives, this world, and, most of all, of God. We must see Him correctly. 1 Peter 1:6-7 points out that we are tested so that our faith is shown to be genuine and that results in praise and glory and honor to Christ.
Suffering is God’s servant. Pride, self-sufficiency, and spiritual pride leads to being blind to the mercy of Christ. A thorn in our flesh, suffering, brings us back to reality – we have no reason to be proud and we are not self-sufficient. We suffer with a purpose, and we can live with the suffering, even boast and delight in it. The thorn can stay in place because God’s grace is sufficient. It doesn’t remove or reduce the pay, but it gives it meaning.
The preacher then quoted Psalm 40:2 “He drew me up from the pit of destruction and out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” But sometimes he doesn’t remove you from the pit or the miry bog. There is still a rock under your feet!
We should watch our own ways and be serious about being holy. And when we suffer, whether we are lonely or in pain or out of money, we must remember that we are children of a sovereign God and we can trust Him, in all things, at all times.
Below are some quotes from Paul Tripp that he’s tweeted the past few weeks, along with some of my thoughts about them.
Today you must preach to yourself that what God says you need is, in fact, exactly what you need and for that you have the grace of Jesus.
Life may take away opportunities from you, but God will not expect anything from you that he does not also equip you for. He gives us what we need and our dreams may not be part of His plan.
You can fret knowing that you may never realize your dream or trust that God’s plans for you are better than any you’d have for yourself.
Sometimes, when someone else sins and causes us pain and hardship, or a random accident seems to interrupt all we thought we were supposed to do, it is tempting to think maybe God can’t really do what he has said.
You can talk yourself into doubting one of God’s promises or grab hold of his grace and live with hope and courage.
Some days it’s easier to review the list of obstacles in the way and the reasons for why it is so hard to even get through today. What-might-have-been is so must easier, than just standing up and doing what we know we should do. The daily tasks of each day don’t seem noble somehow.
Grace is what you must preach to yourself, not how hard people are, how tough life is and how unable you are to face both.
Today you’ll tell yourself that you’re poor/unable/alone or preach to yourself the grace of forgiveness and power that’s yours in Christ.
God is good and God is all powerful and God can be trusted – all the time.
Today will you embrace God’s promises, rely on the Spirit’s presence, and live believing in Christ’s provisions?
Today will you fret, doubt and worry or will you trust, celebrate and obey?
If God isn’t sovereign, over everything, then we have no hope and no reason to trust Him. But He is. And while that leads to some things we can’t completely understand, we can trust His character and His promises.
That’s why it matters.