Friday, May 25, 2012

Trials, Tragedy, Death, and a Sovereign God

Today I was looking for some word for a friend concerning trials. I knew I had something put together that I had written long ago. I found it (Thank God for external hard drives!). I thought I would share it here also.

In Job, we learn that God allows suffering for His own purpose. Satan is not another divine being dueling it out with God. He is a created being, more powerful than us but he is not omnipresent, omniscient nor omnipotent. He is defeated and has no power that God does not allow him to have. God is not sitting on His throne wringing His hands about what is happening on earth, this is a common error in theology in this day. It is a heresy. People put so much emphasis on the love of God that they stop taking into account all of God’s other attributes. In essence, taking their little scissors and cutting out all the verses that tell us about the whole of God’s character. Look below for that list of verses concerning all of God’s attributes.
God is not subordinate to the universe that He created. The infinite cannot be finite.
Another common error in this age is giving Satan way too much credit and making God way too small. We need to be in the scriptures, all of them, learning who God is and how we are to bring glory to Him.

From Webster’s 1828
OMNIPRES'ENCE, n. s as z. [L. omnis, and presens, present.]
Presence in every place at the same time; unbounded or universal presence; ubiquity. Omnipresence is an attribute peculiar to God.

OMNIS'CIENCY, n. [L. omnis, all, and scientia, knowledge.]
The quality of knowing all things at once; universal knowledge; knowledge unbounded or infinite. Omniscience is an attribute peculiar to God.

OMNIP'OTENCE,'OTENCY, n. [L. omnipotens; omnis, all, and potens, powerful.]
1. Almighty power; unlimited or infinite power; a word in strictness applicable only to God. Hence it is sometimes used for God. The works of creation demonstrate the omnipotence of God.
Will Omnipotence neglect to save the suffering virtue of the wise and brave?
2. Unlimited power over particular things; as the omnipotence of love.

Here are a handful of verses about the sovereignty of God:

Psalm 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, he does,
   in heaven and on earth,
   in the seas and all deeps.

Job 42:2 "I know that you can do all things,
   and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

Gen. 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,

Psalm 115:3 Our God is in the heavens;
   he does all that he pleases.

Eph. 3:11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,

Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Ephesians 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Matt. 3:9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

*An easy way to look up the following list of scripture is to copy and paste the reference into

God exercises dominion over great and small alike.
1 Kings 22:19
Is. 6:1
Ezek. 1:26
Dan. 7:9
Rev. 4:2
Ps. 11:4
Ps. 45:6
Ps. 47:8
Heb. 12:2
Rev. 3:21
Ex. 15:18
Psalm 47
Psalm 93
Psalm 96:10
Psalm 97
Psalm 99:1-5
Psalm 146:10
Prov. 16:33
Prov. 21:1
Is. 24:23
Is. 52:7
Dan. 4:34-35
Dan. 5:21-28
Dan. 6:26
Matt. 10:29-31

God sovereignly overrules human action as a planned means to His own goals
Gen. 50:20
Acts 2:23
Acts 13:26-39

Job 30:23  For I know that you will bring me to death
   and to the house appointed for all living.

Job 14:5  Since his days are determined,
   and the number of his months is with you,
   and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,

Death for Christians is honorable, death for the non-Christian is a tragedy.
Here is beautiful sermon on death by the great theologian Spurgeon:

The verse: “the thief who comes but to steal, kill, and destroy”, John 10:10, taken in context, is talking about the false messiahs that came before Jesus v.8.

Psalm 91, is a great comfort to us about God’s love, care, comfort, compassion, and so on. God is love as it tells us in 1 John 4:7-8. God does not promise us health, wealth, pleasure, safety and happiness as this world sees it. When we look at the whole of scriptures we see that God is in control and He allows bad things to happen. We don’t know why in our limited reasoning. God is so much bigger and greater than we are, there will always be mysteries concerning this. God does not change, there is no “shadow of turning”, He hides us in the cleft of the rock. Yet, tragedies occur. I am reminded of the Christians in North Korea and Sudan that are under intense persecution. Why does this happen? Where is the God of Psalm 91? What I do know, from the whole of scripture is that God is in control “and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”. It is very difficult to understand and we must have trust in that realm of mystery. God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, He is working things ultimately for good, to bring glory to himself. We must hang on to the word ultimately. That is the part we cannot see with our human eyes and reasoning. I think that Psalm 91 is speaking of spiritual comfort more than anything else. I imagine that Christians everywhere, in every sort of circumstance, and in every time period since David wrote it find comfort in it. Think of Corri ten Boom in the concentration camp and her God-given super-natural ability to love and forgive the guards (one of them became a Christian!). Think of Stephen being stoned.

55But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." 57But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together[a] at him. 58Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

And think of Jesus at His crucifixion.

Luke 23:34  And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Luke 23:39-43  One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 40But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 42And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

We cannot remove one bit of the scriptures. We must take them as a whole, study and understand to the best of our ability, and trust God for all of that in the realm of mystery. We are not the Creator, we are the created and we must bow to Him. We know that God is in control and that somehow things are working for His glory. We take comfort in the spiritual protection of Psalm 91 and have the true hope that only Christians have when facing anything. God is good and ultimately everything is for His glory.

“If God told me to eat the dung from off the streets, not only would I eat it, but I would know it was good for me.” –Martin Luther

Psalm 25:8-10 Good and upright is the LORD;
   therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9He leads the humble in what is right,
   and teaches the humble his way.
10All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
   for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

1 comment:

  1. So true! Too often we get caught in pop culture/1 verse Christian theology. We forget to look at the whole book or chapter in context. While all scripture is good and useful we still need to avoid "cutting" out the verses that serve us best and even dive into the scriptures and make sure if you are being taught something that it is correct. It amaxes me how many people never realize that Abraham Lincoln was quoting Christ when he said "a house divided against itself can't stand". Thank you for sharing these beautiful scriptures. We serve a mighty God!


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