weekly word – 9/23/21

Beyond Sovereign

You may be asking yourself, “Is there such a thing?” “What does that mean?” We all recognize that God is indeed Sovereign. He is the supreme authority over all of creation. He is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere, at the same time). Nothing catches Him by surprise. He doesn’t have to “react” to something, as a chess player does in response to a move by their opponent. 

Sometimes I forget that God exists in a realm of time that I cannot fully comprehend. As I live out my life and as it unfolds before me, I must remember that God knew exactly what I would do, when I would do it, and how I would do it. 

It is not my intent to try to get you to comprehend all the intricacies of God’s attributes. This is just a reminder to help us understand what our role and responsibilities are in our lives and the lives of others around us and what responsibilities belong to God. One of the things (among many) that Rick’s message brought to my attention this past Sunday was read in Daniel 11:36. It says, “The king will do whatever he wants. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and he will say outrageous things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed,” and then the final part of the verse is what got my attention, “because what has been decreed will be accomplished.” I often times forget that God not only knows and allows things to happen, He, in fact decreed it. 

There is enough craziness going on in the world today to cause us to get anxious, upset, and in some cases, generate a desire take action in order to “help”, “prevent” or “fix” problems. I forget to realize that everything happening around us, what has already happened in the past, and what will happen in the future, has been decreed by God and will be accomplished exactly according to His will and plan and for His purposes. 

Try applying this thought to some of the events in biblical history. During the Babylonian captivity of the Israelites, how many of us would have liked to try and sneak out to the lion’s den and feed the lions so that they wouldn’t have an appetite when Daniel was put in there? How many of us would want to help by petitioning in order to get the king to change his mind about throwing Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace. Throughout Joseph’s life that we read in Genesis, could we have done anything to keep him from sharing his dream with his brothers, to help him get out of the pit and return him to his father, Jacob. What about helping him escape from the caravan that took him to Egypt, to help prove that he was innocent and shouldn’t have been sent to prison. I think you get the point by now. As much as Joseph was wronged and the many ways that we could come up with to help make things right, would we really be helping? Or better yet, would we really have been able to change what was already decreed by God?

I say all of this to help remind me that we are right where we are today, as individuals, as a church, and as a country, according to God’s plan. What He had decreed, from eternity past, will be accomplished exactly according to His timing. 

For me, personally, this means that I stay in the lane that God has created for me and stay focused on what He puts before me. What things do I have responsibility over and what really is under my control? As a pastor, as a husband, as a father, as a neighbor, I am charged with certain things, Shepherding the flock; pointing everyone to Christ, helping them grow in their faith and their relationship with Him, loving Rona as Christ loves the Church, reaching out to the lost and sharing the Gospel. When I have completed those perfectly, then I can go on to other things. I say that with tongue in cheek. I think we all have enough things that God has called us to do which will keep us busy until He calls us home. We don’t need to come up with a new list.

I encourage you to also stay focused on what God has called you to do. Don’t get caught up in what the media presents or the frenzy of protests and campaigns. Don’t pursue the urge to try and get others who think differently from you regarding politics and other cultural differences to “get on board”. Instead, take all of that energy and apply it towards things that lift up and edify your brothers and sisters in Christ. Let God deal with the things that we know, or at least acknowledge that He is in charge of; things that He has decreed, even before we were born. The very things He will accomplish.

So, what’s a good starting point to help us stay in our lane and become more like Christ? How about Hebrews 10:23-25, “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.”

1. Hold on to our faith in Christ, without wavering. Grip it for the precious thing that it is.

2. Watch out for and take care of each other.

3. Provoke one another to love and to do good works.

4. Seek and desire fellowship with one another.

5. Encourage one another.

6. Keep gazing towards Christ, looking for His return.

Pastor Bryan