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THEOLOGY > God > Providence > God is Sovereign  


The support for God’s Sovereignty in Scripture is pervasive and indisputable. According to God’s Word Divine Sovereignty is not some sort of general oversight of Creation by the Creator, but it is the attention and direction He exercises over every facet of the created order—all things are determined by Him, for His Sovereignty is unconditional and total. The exercise of Sovereignty is guided by His eternal plan to the end that all of Creation fulfills its intended purpose and reaches its determined end.

With clarity and preciseness, the Scriptures affirm unreservedly that God is Sovereign in all places, in all ways, and at all times:

   God is the King

He is a great King over all the earth (Ps. 47:2)
For Yahweh is the great God, and the great King above all gods (Ps. 95:3)
He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords
    (I Tim. 6:15)
He has . . . a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16)

   God as King rules over the earth

He rules over the nations (Ps. 22:28)
God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne (Ps. 47:8)
His kingdom rules over all (Ps. 103:19)
The Most High rules in the kingdom of men (Dan. 4:17)

    As King of the earth God does as He pleases

Whatever Yahweh pleases He does (Ps. 135:6)
But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases (Ps. 115:3)
God “does according to His will” both in the “armies of heaven” and the “inhabitants
    of the earth” (Dan. 4:35)
works all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11)

    God’s rule as King is forever

Yahweh shall reign forever and ever (Ex. 15:18)
Yahweh is King forever and ever (Ps. 10:16)
Yahweh sits as King forever (Ps. 29:10)

    God’s rule as King is to be accepted

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; and let them say
    among the nations, "Yahweh reigns" (I Chron. 16:31);
Yahweh reigns; let the peoples tremble (Ps. 99:1)

To be “King” and to “rule” simply and profoundly means that God has His way; He does His will. Whatever He pleases, He does. No one can confuse Him, change Him, charge Him, or thwart Him. Man must accept the fact that “the Lord reigns”; knowledge of this should cause the individual to “rejoice” and “be glad,” and even “tremble” (I Chron. 16:31; Ps. 99:1). The believer confesses that the Lord is “my King and my God” (Ps. 84:3).

Concerning the concepts of God’s “throne,” “rule,” and “reign,” also see:  I Ki. 22:19; Ps. 11:4; 45:6; 47:6-8; 93:1-2; 95:3; 96:10; 97:1-2; 98:6: 99:1, 4; 146:10; Dan. 6:26; 7:9; I Tim. 6:15; Heb. 12:2; Rev. 3:21; 4:2, 10.

Scripture speaks of numerous areas where God exercises His Sovereignty, His rule as King; a few will be considered.

    God is Sovereign over the universe

Ps. 147:4  “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name” (see: Isa. 40:26); God made them; He knows them; He controls them

Dan. 4:35  God “does according to His will” in the “armies of heaven”; there is no place where God is not Sovereign

    God is Sovereign over nature

Ps. 135:5-7  “Whatever Yahweh pleases He does in heaven and in earth”; He “causes the vapors to ascend,” “makes lightning for the rain” and “brings the wind out of His treasuries”; with these forces in nature, He does what He pleases

Ps. 147:15-18  God sends the “snow,” “frost,” and “hail”; and at His word these “melt”; in addition, “He causes His wind to blow, and the waters to flow”; note that the “wind” is spoken of as “His wind.” Of Jesus it is said: “For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him” (Lu. 8:25). An acceptance of the historicity of the Flood establishes God’s control over the forces of nature

    God is Sovereign over the animals

I Ki. 17:4  “I have commanded the ravens to feed you there”; God commanded the ravens to feed Elijah by the brook; the birds obey His will; if the birds, then surely all the creatures God made conform to His direction

Matt. 10:29  “And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will”; the death of the sparrow is according to God’s will

    God is Sovereign over the nations

Job 12:23  “He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and guides them”; the destiny of nations is determined by God
Dan. 2:20-23  God “removes kings and raises up kings”; those who rule nations have been placed there by God, and those who lose their positions have been removed by God

Prov. 21:1  “The king’s heart is in the hand of Yahweh” and the Lord “turns it wherever He wishes”; God has his way with all kings and rulers (see: Ezra 1:1; 6:22; Ps. 33:14-15)

    God is Sovereign over the trivial

Prov. 16:1, 33  God is in control of the “tongue”; and when the lot is cast “its every decision is from Yahweh”; even seemingly accidental happenings are according to His plan; there is no chance or luck in the universe

Matt. 10:30  “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered”; as strands of hair come out every day, the number is still known

    God is Sovereign over His Word

Ps. 147:19-20  God declared “His word to Jacob” and “His statues and judgments to Israel”; the Hebrew people were blessed with God’s Revelation. But then it is added: “He has not dealt thus with any nation; and as for His judgments, they have not known them”; God selectively revealed and reveals His Word

Mk. 4:11  “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables”; comprehension was given to the apostles but not to the multitude

    God is Sovereign over the individual

Acts 17:24-26  “determined their preappointed times” and “the boundaries of their dwellings”; God determines when you live – “times”; and God determines where you live – “boundaries”; see: Prov. 16:9; Jer. 10:23

Gal. 1:15-16  “separated me from my mother’s womb”; Paul, like Jeremiah (Jer. 1:5), affirmed that he was chosen before he was born

    God is Sovereign over birth, life, and death

I Sam. 2:6  “Yahweh kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up”

Job 1:21  “Yahweh gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord”

Ps. 139:13-14  “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”

Ps. 139:15  “My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret”

Ps. 139:16  “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them”

Gal. 1:15  “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb” (Jer. 1:5)

Heb. 9:27 “And as it is appointed for men to die once”

    God is Sovereign over salvation

Ps. 65:4  “Blessed is the man You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts; We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple”

Jo. 1:13  “who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”; salvation is not dependent upon the will of man but the will of God—a bitter pill for a culture set on individual freedom to accept

Jo. 6:37  “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me”

Jo. 17:6  “have manifested Your name to the men whom You have give Me out of the world”

Acts 5:31  “to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins”

Acts 13:48  “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed”; individuals must believe in order to be saved, but those who believe have been appointed to belief

Rom. 9:13  “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated”; a problem passage for those who accept the popular interpretation of the word, "world," in Jo. 3:16

Rom. 9:16  “So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy”; salvation is not dependent on the will of man but on the mercy of God who in mercy wills to save

Rom. 9:18  “Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens”

Eph. 1:4  “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world”

Phil. 1:29  “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake”

    God is Sovereign over the wicked

Ps. 11:6  “Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup”

Ps. 147:6  “Yahweh lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground”

Prov.16:4  “Yahweh has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom”

Rom. 9:18 “whom He wills He hardens”

The above topics are more than enough to establish the fact that the Scriptures assert God’s Sovereignty in every area of life. There is no autonomous event, place, or person; all people and all things are under His reign and rule. “He is a great King over all the earth” (Ps. 47:2).

See: All Things and Scriptural Support for Sovereignty

Also see: The God of the Bible and the Problem of Evil

Return to Providence; Next Article: Knowledge of Sovereignty

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