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Gospel Gazette Online

Vol. 11 No. 8 August 2009

Page 7

Priscilla's Page Editor's Note

In Charge, But Not in Control

Marilyn LaStrape

In one of my devotional Bibles, this statement is made about the control God has over His creation. “The human race operates and all activity occurs within the predetermined parameters set by God.” Passages that declare this are throughout the Bible. Psalm 33:8-9 makes the universal supremacy and sovereignty of God perfectly clear. “Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”

Paul proclaims in Acts 17:26-27, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”

God made all things and controls all things in order to show us that we must be constantly seeking Him. God said through Jeremiah, “Am I a God near at hand, says the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?’ says the Lord; do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the LORD’” (Jeremiah 23:23-24).

We are currently living during a time when some are not too sure that God is still on the throne in control of everything and everybody. Those of us who believe God’s Word and have total trust and confidence in Him, know and believe what Jesus said when He made the statement, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will” (Matthew 10:29). Nothing and nobody is exempt from God’s inescapable awareness!

Yes, the various governments are in charge of the 200+ nations throughout this world, but they are in control of nothing! World leaders hold their positions because God has said so. In Daniel 2:20-21 we read, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”

Following his conversion, we have Paul’s first recorded sermon in Acts 13:17-47. As he recounts the early history of God’s people, he makes these statements in direct connection to the sovereignty of God in verses 21-22: “And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’”

Did we get that?! Nothing has changed! God is still carrying out His will as He pleases through those of us who are loyal to Him! Second Chronicles 16:9a tells us that. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” It does not matter how powerful and prominent this world’s leaders seem to be or think they are, or how many long years they have been in office. They are merely instruments God uses as He chooses to carry out His purposes, plans and promises. God’s ultimate goal is the redemption of mankind and nothing and no one will ever thwart that goal because Jesus Christ died to achieve it!

God was in control before we got here; God is in control now; God will be in control when we are dead and gone; and God will be in control when this world will be on fire! Habakkuk was one of God’s prophets who could hardly believe what was about to happen to Israel at the hand of its enemies. It left him wondering where God was in all this political and military upheaval.

Like all other followers of God, Habakkuk’s faith was made stronger when he again realized that God always knows what He is doing. In essence though the whole situation had completely fallen apart from his perspective, he said, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength…and He will make me walk on my high hills” (Habakkuk 3:18-19). He came to accept all he could do was sit back and watch God work it! The Chaldeans were in charge, but they were in control of nothing!

God told the prophet to Rehoboam very pointedly that the plans he had were against God’s plan. When ten of the twelve tribes of Israel rebelled against him and had left his realm of authority, he assembled warriors to fight against them, that he might restore the kingdom to himself. God put a stop to his plan in short order. Second Chronicles 11:1-4 says the word of the Lord came to the man of God saying, “Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: “You shall not go up or fight against your brethren! Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me.”’ They obeyed the words of the Lord and they turned back from their planned attack. Rehoboam was in charge, but he was in control of nothing!

When Peter and the other apostles had been put in prison and later brought before the council because they refused to stop preaching the Gospel, Gamaliel gave the council members the wisest counsel they would perhaps ever receive. In Acts 5:34-39 is the account of this warning and direction. “Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people…And he said to them: ‘Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men…And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing, but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it – lest you even be found to fight against God. And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.”

Peter speaking for himself and the other apostles had already told the authorities earlier that, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Verses 41 and 42 are crystal clear on their belief and the stand they had taken. “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” The leaders were in charge, but they were in control of nothing!

The fact that God’s divine and sovereign control is irrevocable must be paramount in our understanding of who He is and how He operates in this world. “The earth is the Lord’s and all of its fullness the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). Wisdom dictates that we embrace the power of this one verse dealing with God’s control. No matter how anything starts, or what happens along the way, God is always in control of the outcome. He keeps us in perfect peace when we are trusting in Him with and for it all!

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