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  • Writer's pictureRestoration City Church

Devotional Week 1 | Our God Is Sovereign

Updated: Jan 6, 2020

Who Is This God?

The Attributes of God

Our God is Sovereign, Day 1

“There are no maverick molecules,” Pastor R.C. Sproul once said. Christians have faith in a God who is sovereign over all things--on the largest of scales and on the smallest of scales. Everything and everyone, at all times and in all places, are under the authoritative influence of the Creator God.

What does the word “sovereign” mean, though? Ultimately, it means that someone is independently self-determining and has absolute authority in their domain. Think of a supreme ruler like an emperor or a king or a queen. Someone who has, not only absolute control, but the right to wield that control. Not only can they do whatever they want, no one has the right to stand in their way.

The entire Bible opens with the simple statement: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The rest of the chapter (as well as chapter 2!) goes on to describe God’s creation of everything else in the universe. There are at least two striking truths here in this one little verse:

  • God existed before the universe: this means God was and is independent from the created universe we live in. He doesn’t and never has needed a universe to live in.

  • God created the universe: it makes sense to us that the person who creates something has the supreme rights over its use. Most nations around the world have thousands of laws protecting the rights of creators--song writers, painters, movie makers. As the Creator of all things, God has the supreme right to do what he wishes with his creation.

This is the God of Christianity. He has all the rights over all things that are created (that’s everything and everyone!) and he has supreme power over what it does and doesn’t do. The 3,160 tons of water that pour over the edge of Niagra Falls have done so for thousands of years and will keep doing so--under the sovereign control of God. Each grain of sand on the Earth contains around forty-three quintillion atoms...and there are possibly seven sextillion grains of sand on Earth! Each and every atom and speck of sand are exactly where they are under God’s own control and guidance.

The God who created everything and everyone--the God who rules over everything and everyone--is in control. He, alone, is sovereign.

1. If this is the God you have placed your faith in and trust, how ought your prayers be changed today?

2. We’ll study God’s goodness as an attribute later, but for now, if you believe that the God who is in control over everything and everyone is good and loves you, what worries or anxieties in your life become relieved?

3. We need a reminder that God is never frustrated, worried, surprised, or at a loss--but we are. What out-of-control, frightening, or concerning things will you take to God in prayer today?


Who Is This God?

The Attributes of God

Our God is Sovereign, Day 2

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1)

“...behold, all authority in heaven and on Earth has been given to me (by the Father)...” (Matthew 28:18)

We all have someone we answer to. We’ve all had parents, teachers, and bosses over us. There are police officers, federal agents, mayors, governors, and the President of the United States. There’s even a court of law we call the Supreme Court. These people and groups have the power and the right to tell us what we can or can’t do. In addition, they have the power to enforce their will upon us. We depend on these authorities to exert their wills in ways that are good for our survival and happiness.

There’s only one being who’s never had anyone above him that he had to ask permission from. Only one being who never depended on someone else’s will--you guessed it. It’s God. As Creator God, he is independent. That is, where you and I depend on our parents to have gotten together and made us in order to exist, and where you and I depend on atoms and gravity and oxygen and water and food to keep existing, God has never depended on anything or anyone. Everything else’s existence depends on him!

All authority depends on God’s authority. Consider the following Bible verses:

  • “The king’s heart is a stream of water in my hand, says the Lord; I turn it wherever I will.” (Psalm 21:1)

  • “No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against me.” (Proverbs 21:30)

  • “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’? (Job 38:8-11)

As people who live under all sorts of various powers and authorities, we need to remember that our God--the one who loves us, saves us, and watches over us--he has the greater control over everyone and everything. No one attains power or position without God’s own consent. Even the wicked amongst earthly rulers are permitted their access and influence under God’s permission--and no one can do any more evil or cause any worse damage than God allows--even Satan is on a leash!

1. If you are under the authority of someone sinful, foolish, or incompetent, how ought you pray for yourself and them?

2. Take some time to thank God today for the good authority figures he’s placed in your life.

3. How ought you confess, repent, and change the way you wield your authority over others in your life?


Who Is This God?

The Attributes of God

Our God is Sovereign, Day 3

“No purpose of mine can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)

How would you feel if you could be sure that something you were planning was going to work out right? Exactly the way you planned it? Everything and everyone in their proper place, doing the proper thing, at the proper time? That’s not an experience any of us have ever had, sadly, is it? Even when our plans work out well, there are always some bumps or hiccups to deal with. Unexpected things turn up and we have to accommodate them.

As the one, true sovereign being, that’s not God’s experience. Everything God intends to bring about happens. Whatever God wills, he does. Nothing surprises him (he’s omniscient, or “all-knowing) and no power can stop him (that’s omnipotence).

  • “I do according to my will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay my hand or say to me, ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:35)

  • “There is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 43:13)

When God decided to free his people from Egypt (read all about it in the book of Exodus), he decided he was going to show the world what kind of a God he was--sovereign. So, he permitted his people--the Israelites--to live captive in the land of Egypt under the most powerful human sovereign the world had ever seen (we just call him Pharaoh). Pharaoh had no one above him and the kingdom of Egypt was so powerful that all other nations around it paid them tribute. No one could tell Pharaoh what to do--no one, except God.

God sent a humble, stuttering shepherd named Moses to tell Pharaoh that God said, “Let my people go.” Remember, nobody--and I mean nobody--ever told Pharaoh what he was or wasn’t going to do. So, when Pharaoh (and therefore, all of Egypt) refused to free the Israelites, God dismantled their kingdom: their way of life, their power, and even their many gods, piece by piece. What God intended to do, he did, and not even the most powerful king or kingdom could slow him down--in fact, their stubbornness and pride actually served God’s purposes! God had accounted for everything and everyone beforehand. He laid out his will and accomplished it--at the proper time, in the proper place, in the way he wanted it done.

1. As you consider your plans for your life--career, relationships, money, time, health--have you considered whether these things line up with sovereign God’s plan?

2. Do you have reason to believe that you’re living according to or opposed to God’s sovereign purposes? Why do you think that?

3. When something doesn’t work out right--how will you bring that to God, trusting that he “works all things for the good of those who love him,” even in your failed plans and broken dreams?


Who Is This God?

The Attributes of God

Our God is Sovereign, Day 4

“I have scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; I have brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate.” (Luke 1:51–52)

Every Christian, at some point, asks, “What’s God’s will?” We all want to know what he’s going to do. We all want to know what he wants us to do. There might not be a question more asked by Christians than this one.

The joy of the Christian hope is that our God is sovereign and it is his will--his plan, which can’t be thwarted--to bring down the might of evil and to raise up the lowly and weak. Preaching a sermon from a hill near Jerusalem (Matthew, chapter 6), Jesus says that those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” will be blessed. Those who are lowly and poor in spirit will be blessed. Those who want peace with God will be blessed. Those who need and want and call on God will be blessed. That’s God’s will!

Our God is sovereign and in control over all things and all people, at all times and in all places. Though the most powerful and proud of humans or demons oppose him, no one can stop him or hinder his plans. God’s overarching plan for humanity is to show his glory by defeating the proud, self-righteous, self-sufficient people who don’t believe they need God, nor do they believe they ought to obey him. He plans to show his glory by raising up and exalting those who recognize their weakness, their sin, their shame, and their need of a good and merciful God.

We see this plan play out throughout the pages of the Bible (and through all of human history!):

  • Mary, a marginalized Galilean peasant, was chosen to bring the Son of God, Jesus into the world.

  • Moses, a stuttering, humble shepherd, was chosen to bring God’s people out of slavery.

  • Peter, a headstrong, weak-in-faith, blue-collar fisherman, was chosen to preach the first sermon and initiate the New Testament church.

  • David, the smallest and last of his father’s children was raised up to be the greatest King of Israel (besides Jesus, of course).

  • Ruth was a homeless immigrant and Rahab was a prostitute--nevertheless, God chose them to be ancestral mothers to the Messiah.

This God--our God--is sovereign, and it is his plan to raise up, exalt, and turn all things for good upon those who have been rejected, cast aside, failed, exposed, abused, and even murdered. He plans to do this for those who have failed, sinned, fallen short, and broken down. Satan can’t stop him from his plan, demons can’t, presidents can’t, your parents can’t, your boss can’t, your enemies can’t--no one can stop God from raising up the lowly. That has to sound like good news if you feel lowly, poor in spirit, or foolishly sinful!

1. Do you find yourself to be lost or lowly in spirit? Sad, forgotten, or failing? Pray and ask the Lord to help you trust in his sovereign plan to restore you, rescue you, forgive you, and stay with you.

2. In the fearsome face of proud, powerful people, how can you pray today, trusting in God’s superior sovereignty and unfailing plan?

3. Meditate on and keep thinking throughout today: God’s plan is to defeat the high and mighty and to raise up the lowly. Which one am I trying to be? How can I live with God’s plan, rather than opposed to it?


Who Is This God?

The Attributes of God

Our God is Sovereign, Day 5

“On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6-7)

“...for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:8-10)

“If God’s sovereign and he’s going to do whatever he wants to anyhow, then why should I even try to do anything? Why even pray, if it’s all gonna happen anyhow?” It’s a fair question, honestly. If God’s got a plan and nothing can stop him...what happens to my motivation to pray? Why should ever even try to take steps of faith in obedience?

Why even evangelize?

Let me get the first response out of the way: because our sovereign God commands our prayer, our obedience, and our evangelism. We ought to because our sovereign God--in control and authority over everything and everyone--says to. God commands his people to pray all day and all night--take no rest and give him no rest! Pester him! Keep going, don’t stop praying and obeying. Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 6 that God already knows what you need before you ask him--and then he commands us to pray, asking God for what we need!

Secondly, God isn’t merely sovereign over what’s going to happen--he’s sovereign over how he intends to bring it about. Not that God can’t or never does, but it’s not his normal pattern to just “make things happen,” suddenly and with no cause or explanation. God tends to use tools, or, agents. God employs people and creation to bring about his will. When he wanted to bring his Son, Jesus, into the world, he orchestrated all the circumstances, people, and times:

  • He used an emperor, drunk on his own power and pride and thirsty for more taxes, to declare a census, counting all of his citizens…

  • ...which brought Joseph out of Nazareth and back to his hometown of Bethlehem…

  • ...and the whole town was packed with travelers for the census, so Joseph and his teenage bride Mary had to stay in a stable…

God leveraged an entire empire to execute his plan of birthing the Messiah in his appointed time and place. God intends to bring about his will through the prayers of his people and by their obedience. He intends to “work all things for the good of those who love him” and to raise up the lowly and to save the sinner...and we must obey in our mission of praying. We, his people, are his strategy for how he’s going to do what he’s going to do. What a blessing to be included in God’s sovereign plan!

1. We pray because God is sovereign and in control--who else would we go to with our needs and desires?

2. Have you been praying for things you believe you can do yourself, or do you find yourself praying for things you’re really going to need God to come through on?

3. What impossible thing or person have you been hesitating or failing to pray for? Trust in God’s sovereignty--pray and then obey.

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