Close-up on God’s Sovereign Will
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. —Proverbs 16:31-33
Historically and biblically, God’s will has been divided into three categories. We’re taught that there is God’s sovereign will, God’s moral will, and God’s individual will. Now first, there is no refuting biblically—God has a sovereign will.
What is God’s sovereign will? The word sovereign means, “supreme in power; without equal; superior in position to all others.” Sovereignty cannot be resisted or refuted or detoured. Does God have a sovereign will? He sure does. Nothing can stop God from doing what He’s going to do.
Proverbs 16:33 talks about the idea that God controls outcomes. God’s sovereign will is God’s secret plan that controls the outcome of all matters in the universe. God controls outcomes—from wars and elections, to weather patterns, and down to things as specific as the throw of a dice. God controls outcomes. That’s His sovereign will.
But here’s what the Proverb means. You’re playing Monopoly and you roll boxcars, and the verse says, “The lot is cast into the lap but its every decision is from the Lord.” God controls outcomes. God didn’t decide you should play Monopoly, but when you roll the dice, God controls the result. Not the decision, not the way you went about it, but God controls outcomes. Nothing thwarts his purposes. That’s His sovereign will.
Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he wills.” Every president, prime minister, king, mayor, every ruler on the face of the earth rules by God’s permission. Whatever choices he makes, some of them do righteous things, some of them do wrong things—whatever they choose, God sovereignly, by His will, makes sure that the outcome contributes to His ultimate purposes in the world. That’s God’s sovereign will.
Daniel 4:35 is the classic Old Testament passage on the sovereign will of God.“All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will . . .” That’s what God does—God does what He wants. All through history, “. . . he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and none can stay his hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’”—James MacDonald
· What do I find most comforting or challenging about the fact that God’s sovereign will means every outcome in my life has passed under His review?
Prayer - This is Your world, Father, and I’m part of it. My life is folded into Your plans and I long to be fully surrendered to You. Help me to learn the wisdom of Your Word so that I can apply it in my small corner of the world where I get to live for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.