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Weekly Devotion: God, Sovereign Over All

God, Sovereign Over All
Pray: Ask God to strengthen your faith by His Word.

Text: Isaiah 45:1 - 8 (ESV)

[1] Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped,
to subdue nations before him
and to loose the belts of kings,
to open doors before him
that gates may not be closed:
[2] “I will go before you
and level the exalted places,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron,
[3] I will give you the treasures of darkness
and the hoards in secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the LORD,
the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
[4] For the sake of my servant Jacob,
and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
I name you, though you do not know me.
[5] I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
[6] that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
[7] I form light and create darkness;
I make well-being and create calamity;
I am the LORD, who does all these things.
[8] “Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the LORD have created it.

We know, in our heads, that God’s sovereignty is meant to calm our fears and fill us with faith in Him. But how do we square the knowledge of God’s sovereignty and goodness with challenging circumstances? This passage captures God’s address to King Cyrus, a pagan king ruling over Israel, regarding His plans to use Cyrus to bless His people. We learn a great deal about God, and the outworking of His sovereignty in human affairs from this address: God accomplishes His good purposes in unexpected ways. Our friend, Ray Ortlund, wrote the following concerning this passage:
God does not just allow darkness and calamity and then blame someone else. He creates the problems of human history. How could it be otherwise with the Sovereign of the universe? Isaiah is not saying that God sins. That’s our problem. But the strategies of God include within their scope everything that happens as God pursues his redemptive purpose in this world. Evil is not outside God’s control. He uses it without being dirtied by it. Therefore, nothing, however evil, deprives God of one particle of his intended outcomes. Again, how could it be otherwise? What’s the most vicious evil perpetrated in history thus far? The murder of God’s own Son by our guilty hands. But Isaiah says, “It was the will of the LORD to crush him” (53:10). The Apostle Peter preached that Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23; cf. 4:27, 28). When Peter said that, he was not excusing himself for denying Jesus. He was saying that the worst evil we have ever committed God turned into his fountain of salvation. “I am the LORD, who does all these things.”...The very thing we perceive as a problem, God perceives as his glory, namely, God owns the dark moments of life. He bends everything around for a saving purpose….It’s what we love about God. Not even evil can frustrate him. And his surprising strategies are our assurance.
God is sovereign. He is in control of our present circumstances. He has a good and redemptive purpose for everything. He is working for the good of His people. In light of this, we can trust him and we are moved to pray that we would see the fulfillment of verse 8 in the midst of this trial.

[8] “Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the LORD have created it.

For Thought/Discussion:
  1. What is your favorite passage of scripture that speaks of God’s sovereignty?
  2. How does the knowledge of God’s sovereignty over evil and calamity encourage your faith during uncertain times?
  3. Identify one fear with which you are currently struggling. How does the knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all things and redemptive purposes in all things address that fear?
Pray: Thank God that He is in control of all things. Praise Him for the power and goodness He has demonstrated throughout history. Rehearse specific examples of His power and goodness throughout your life. Ask Him to give a spirit of humility and wisdom to our leaders as they respond to this season of trial. Ask Him to strengthen the faith of God’s people, and to give the gift of saving faith to the lost.