14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
This morning I’m thinking about the topic of God’s sovereignty. Who can really know the wisdom of God and His sovereignty over all things? I’m often overwhelmed by the idea of God’s sovereignty.
I know that God is in control of all things, even the things we would call evil. Yet, God is not evil. All things that God ordains are for good, even if evil is brought about in the short term.
When God brings evil or destruction, it is often a constructive form of destruction—at least for those who belong to Him. For those who do not, there is no mercy found in the destruction God brings. The flood in the days of Noah is an example of this.
What about the leaders of this world? Whether they seem to be good or evil, doesn’t God appoint them ultimately?
We see this illustrated in the first king of Israel, Saul. For those of you who might not know or remember, David was a servant of Saul. Saul turned on David and tried to have him killed. David fled. David had opportunity to kill Saul, but he did not because he respected that God had appointed Saul.
What does this mean for us?
For one, there is one thought that comes to mind often when I consider the authorities in my life that I feel powerless against. When Jesus was being questioned by Pilate, Jesus said, “you would have no power over me if it were not given to you from the Father.”
Here is the controversy: Many believe that there is an on-going battle between good and evil. Many believe that there is an on-going battle between Satan and God. I do not believe this way.
I believe that God is in full control of all things—even Satan who God created. Is it at all possible for God’s creation to surprise Him? Didn’t God know exactly who and what Satan would be? Didn’t God set all things in motion for a purpose, including the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which He created?
I believe in the absolute sovereignty of God, and this is comforting because I know that evil cannot simply fight against God and get at me—unless God has ordained it—and if God has ordained it, then this must be for my good somehow.
God allows us to be crushed by worldly authorities. This is nothing new. Why does He do this? We can learn somewhat of this from the scriptures.
We know that God sends enemies against His people when they go too far astray from Him. This is a form of constructive destruction in the long term because it rids His people of those who are unfaithful and strengthens those who are loyal to Him.
God also allows many of His servants to suffer and die, not because of chastisement, but because God wants to be glorified in them for the sake of others who would see.
What about the unjust rulers of today?
What about the unjust rulers in politics and religion? What about the unjust rulers in the realm of ideas, such as social ideologies, political ideologies, and religious ideologies? Doesn’t God have control over these things also?
I believe so. Why do they exist?
That is the difficult question, and we can speculate, though we should be careful in thinking we know what God is up to. Though, it bears repeating that whatever His purposes are, the result is ultimate good for those who belong to Him.
Maybe He gives us over to our whims and desires so that we can see the futility of our ways and turn more fully to Him. Maybe He brings destructive forces that will remove worldly prosperity from us so that we can grow in spirit. Maybe He brings destructive forces that will tear down all the rulers in our life that we look to instead of Him.
Maybe He brings death to us in order to preserve what goodness we had left, because He knew that we would not withstand the temptations to come. Maybe He brings death to us in order to limit future suffering. Maybe He brings death to us so that He is glorified, and we get to participate in His glory.
What about all the different Christian leaders and denominations?
Maybe they exist to keep one central power from rising over us all. Maybe they exist so that people of differing struggles can find a place to learn of Jesus that relates to their human existence. Maybe they exist as a net that catches people in their desires, and the way His word is used judges them. Maybe they exist so that some would feel ostracized and seek Jesus on their own apart from the rulers of man.
There could be a lot of reasons, all of which are good for those who love Him and are chosen of Him.
We can consider a lot of good reasons for evils in this world, including the evil powers. That is comforting to consider.
However, knowing that God created all things, what should our response be towards evil rulers? Should we fight them?
I think we should, but only if we are truly speaking the judgment of God. If we are not, then we are only going to make matters worse—then we become one of the unjust rulers.
If we have judgments of God to speak, then we should also make sure that we are in the right spirit—a spirit of love towards God and others—not a spirit of murder.
Some might say that my going against ideas in the Christian church is destructive, and it is. Sometimes things need to be torn down so that something better can result.
However, as a Christian, my fight is not in the flesh but in the spirit. I will never attack a church or a person physically. I will bring the false ideas to light. I will fight with Truth, as Christian should.
God uses His enemies to bring about destruction. God uses His faithful to bring life despite it. We need to make sure that we are of the right spirit. That is very important.
However, that does not mean there will never come a time in which his faithful also bring a sort of constructive destruction in the flesh.
That is a hard thing for me to come to terms with.
We see this in Revelation 11 concerning the ministry of the two witnesses. I have non-violent ways of interpreting these passages, and maybe that is the truth of it. Maybe not. Maybe it doesn’t have to be just one interpretation, but both. In any case, I know that God tells us what we need to know—no sooner and no later than we need to know it.
In any case, the take-away is this:
God is in control of all things, and all things are working according to His wisdom. This includes the rulers of this earth—good and evil. Even the evil rulers serve a good purpose ultimately, though the destruction they bring does not seem good at the time.
Though God is in control and ordains all things, those who know the truth should speak out because God does not intend for all people to be destroyed and deceived. We bring life and truth, not death. Though, those who confuse evil with good would think otherwise. They thought the same of Jesus, and we should expect no different.
One day Jesus will reign over all in a real and present way, and He will establish just rulers in His kingdom. He will establish just judges. He will give authority to His faithful servants, and peace will finally come to this world. Satan will try to mimic this, but He will fail. He can only bring death, and this is good in the purposes of God whether we understand this or not.
All things that happen in this world, God ordains. He looks at it and says, “it is good.” Take comfort in that. Yet know that God does hate evil. Though God purposes it, and He will destroy it because He is good. God is not evil.
I know there are some controversial ideas here. Feel free to disagree and discuss below.