Sovereign. What exactly does that word mean? We use it often, we see it scattered all over the Bible. But do we really know what it means to acknowledge that God is sovereign?
Here’s the dictionary definition of the term:
: a supreme ruler
: possessing supreme or ultimate power
Well that sounds about right. God is the supreme ruler, the Creator of this whole universe. He wields ultimate power over everything in this world. So if we know that He is supreme, if we know that He has the power to accomplish anything and everything, why do we still give our hearts over to fear and worry? Why do we still doubt that He will really come through for us? Why do we only half-heartedly believe that the Lord will indeed fight for us (Exodus 14:14)?
Well much of that can be attributed to our human nature. We are prone to feeling doubt, worry, stress, fear. It’s simply easier to give into those things. Anyone who has experienced periods of difficulty knows that as the struggle continues, it gets harder and harder to stay positive. With each new day spent in the struggle, our faith takes another hit. To put it simply, we get worn out. Imagine this: you get into a car accident and get sent to the ER. You find out that you have a couple bruised ribs. They keep you overnight for observation. And then every hour, on the hour, someone comes to your room and punches you. Soon those bruised ribs will become broken ribs. In the same way, going through hard times in this life can break us down. With each blow, the struggle gets more intense, and life gets harder, and we lose hope. This is the normal human response.
But we’re not normal humans. We are children of the one True King, the Creator of the Universe. We have access to the Great Physician, the Comforter, the greatest Counselor to exist – and all for FREE, might I add. We have security under the shelter of His wings. We are protected by the impenetrable fortress of His love. We are guarded by His angels (Psalm 91:11-13). Every single one of our needs is met by the One who owns everything we see before us (Matthew 6:25-34). We are children of the Lord. And He is sovereign.
That means He has the power to heal, restore, protect, provide. And then there’s that other word we use so often in Christian conversation: faithful. The Lord is always faithful. What does that mean?
Here’s another dictionary definition for you:
: steadfast in affection or allegiance
: firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty
: given with strong assurance
: true to the facts
This definition also fits what we know to be true about God. He is loyal to us and He loves us with an unbreakable, unconditional, out-of-this-world kind of love. He is true to His word, true to His promises. He is honorable in His dealings with us – more than honorable, really, because we deserve nothing but death and destruction. Instead, He gives us life abundant (John 10:10). So what does this mean for us? It means that when God tells us He’s going to do something, you can bet He’s going to do it. It means that when He says He will protect us, He really will. When He says He will provide for us, He really will. When He says He hears our prayers and sees our struggles, He really does (Exodus 3:7-8a; Psalm 116:1-9).
Our God is sovereign.
Our God is faithful.
The Lord’s sovereignty tells us that He has the power and ability to act for us. His faithfulness ensures that we can trust what He says. These two divine attributes of our God are what allows us to hope in Him. To rest in Him. This is how He offers us peace unlike anything we’ve experienced before (John 14:27).
So in the midst of all our struggles, through the teenage heartbreaks, the sorrow of a loss, the frustration of financial hurdles, the unpleasantness of the workplace, through the fear of the unknown, the doubt of a secure and hopeful future, the LORD your God is not only able to help you, but is more than willing to act on your behalf. He will rescue you from your situation.
Release from the struggle may not come today or tomorrow, but it WILL come. How do I know that for sure? Because I know my God is sovereign. Because I know He is faithful – even when I’m not.
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
5 Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
6 I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
11 I, I am the Lord,
and besides me there is no savior.
12 I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God.
13 Also henceforth I am he;
there is none who can deliver from my hand;
I work, and who can turn it back?”
14 Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I send to Babylon
and bring them all down as fugitives,
even the Chaldeans, in the ships in which they rejoice.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
the Creator of Israel, your King.”
16 Thus says the Lord,
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
17 who brings forth chariot and horse,
army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
18 “Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:1-7; 10-19