When we speak of God’s sovereignty at The Village, we most often speak of His reign in the particular realm of salvation. We speak of the great and mysterious doctrines of grace in election and predestination. But this is only one aspect of His sovereignty.
What of God’s sovereignty beyond the sphere of soteriology (the doctrine of salvation)? Is providence limited to the domain of who is and is not saved? Does it extend to the question of who I marry, where I go to school, what career field I enter? What about even smaller decisions, like what shirt I wear today or what I eat for lunch?
To what extent does God’s providence reach? According to the Scriptures, God is sovereign over:
- Weather phenomena such as rain, snow and lightning (Job 37:6-13)
- The direction of the heavenly bodies (Job 38:31-32; Matthew 5:45)
- The distribution of food for animals (Job 38:39-41; Psalm 104:14, 27-29; Matthew 6:26)
- The life and death of animals (Matthew 10:29)
- The rise and fall of nations (Job 12:23; Psalm 22:28)
- The decisions of the leaders of nations (Proverbs 21:1)
- The times and places in which people live (Acts 17:26)
- The length of our lives (Job 14:5; Psalm 139:16)
- The fruitfulness of our wombs (Psalm 127:3)
- Seemingly random/chance occurrences (Proverbs 16:33)
- The direction of our every step (Proverbs 16:9; 20:24; Jeremiah 10:23; Philippians 2:13)
- The provision of everything that we have received (1 Corinthians 4:7)
Furthermore, we might consider these realities:
- …all things work together for good Romans 8:28
- He works all things according to the counsel of His will Ephesians 1:11
- He does whatever He pleases Psalm 115:3
- Whatever the LORD pleases He does. Psalm 135:6
In recognizing the absolute and infinite reaches of divine providence, we need to be careful lest we incorrectly infer from this truth. Here are a few points to consider:
- God is not responsible for evil. We can say that God allows evil or uses evil, but we cannot charge Him with evil. God is good. All that He does is good, even His use of evil to accomplish good purposes. God relates to good and evil in different ways. Though sovereign over both, only the former is fundamentally pleasing to Him.
- Man is responsible for his own sin. Though God is sovereign over man’s sin, His sovereignty is not exercised in such a way as to nullify man’s responsibility. Furthermore, God has given us all that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) such that we are not to be paralyzed by fear or laziness. Man’s failure to evangelize, encourage, pray, study, sing, etc. is not to be blamed upon God.
- God has revealed to us in His Word all that is necessary for life and salvation (2 Timothy 3:14-17) such that we are not to be enslaved by daily decisions. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking God where to eat or what to wear, but there is something wrong with being paralyzed by the fear of choosing wrongly.
There are no boundaries to God’s dominion. His providence is over all such that Paul could declare “For from him and through Him and to Him are all things…” (Romans 11:36). The proper response to this truth is gratitude, trust and joy. As Paul continues in Romans 11, the reality of God’s reign should resound to His glory as we realize that absolutely nothing is beyond His concern and control. The God of all grace, comfort, steadfast love and mercy is also the God of all power and providence. This is certainly good news.
Is God sovereign over _______? Yes and amen.
Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.