Wednesday, October 24, 2012

He who sits in the heavens

Worry is one of my besetting sins. It can cover a wide range of subjects - immediate family concerns, the election in less than 2 weeks, or what's really happening in Tehran. I begin to worry because I don't like unknowns, and I don't like feeling out of control. To compensate, I often try to keep tabs on all the possible variables that could affect the outcome, deluding flattering myself into thinking that I can at least be mentally prepared for what could occur. But this is cold comfort. There are too many factors beyond my scope, and as I consider what is outside of my control, the needle on the worry meter goes up.

I have a less-than-robust background in the absolute sovereignty of God, so I could use that as an excuse. But even wholeheartedly embracing that doctrine, my thoughts of God are often "too human"1, as if He is equally perplexed, sitting in the heavens, laughing nervously, and wringing His hands in confusion.

If I dig deeper, there's a showdown taking a place - a face-off between the Bible's claims of God's supremacy versus my fallible thoughts and feelings. Who do I listen to? My worries? Or do I take my soul by the scruff of the neck, so to speak, turn off the news or whatever is feeding my anxiety, and turn back to the Scriptures?  Feelings go up and down. Circumstances change for good or bad. But neither feelings or circumstances are the arbiter of truth. God's Word is, and here's what it says about His authority over all things:
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” Psalm 2: 4-6
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chron. 29:11-13
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, Ephesians 1:11
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:1-3
The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting...Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore. Psalm 93:1-2,5
From A.W. Pink:
The absolute and universal supremacy of God is plainly and positively affirmed in many scriptures... Before Him, presidents and popes, kings and emperors, are less than grasshoppers.3
God's supremacy over the works of His hands is vividly depicted in Scripture. Inanimate matter, irrational creatures, all perform their Master's bidding.4
God's supremacy is also demonstrated in His perfect rule over the wills of men... His own eternal "counsels" are accomplished to their minutest details. 5
I don't know about you, but this gives me great comfort. This answers my fear of the unknown because there are no unknowns to an omniscient God. He does not react to future events because He has already ordained what will take place by His decrees. We have a foundation that will never shift under any circumstance because we rest on the unchanging character of God Himself.

Let every man or, in this case, woman be a liar. The Lord reigns.
Here then is a resting place for the heart. Our lives are neither the product of blind fate nor the result of capricious chance, but every detail of them was ordained from all eternity and is now ordered by the living and reigning God. 6
1. The Attributes of God, Chapter 5 The Supremacy of God, A.W. Pink, Baker, 1975, pg. 28.
2. Thanks to Zack for his open theist "version" of Psalm 2:4.
3. The Attributes of God, Chapter 5 The Supremacy of God, A.W. Pink, Baker, 1975, pg. 29.
4. Ibid. pg. 30.
5. Ibid. pg. 30-31.
6. Ibid. pg. 31.

17 comments:

  1. Amen and Amen; excellent thoughts. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Lyn. SDG!

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  2. Yes, such comfort in these truths! Great encouragement here, Persis. Thank you.

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    1. I'm glad you were encouraged, Trisha.

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  3. I love how you said "God does not REACT". That really struck me a little nugget of wisdom to keep with me - God is never surprised, he has ultimate power and is not only prepared for but has prepared all things.

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    1. Thanks, anon. And amen to "God is never surprised."

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  4. My brother was unexpectedly killed in a car accident last Sunday. Just like you, I have spent much of my life trying to prepare myself mentally for such an event. There was absolutely nothing I could have done to prepare myself. My family and I have been devastated. Your words and the words of others you listed are very comforting. My brother had faith in Christ but it is still so hard to accept that he is not with us.

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    1. Michael, I'm so sorry. Praying the Lord will comfort you and your family.

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    2. Michael, I pray that the joy your brother is experiencing in the presence of God would bring you comfort during your time of sorrow.

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  5. "Before Him, presidents and popes, kings and emperors, are less than grasshoppers."

    Great post Persis. What comfort knowing God is the one turning the hearts of kings however he chooses.

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    1. Thanks, Diane. Pink's line about presidents, popes, etc. is certainly appropriate right now.

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  6. Great Post, thanks Persis. I love that God is over all. Otherwise, we would be nothing but lost.
    Grace and Peace, my Sister,
    Jojo

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Jojo. Praise God, He is over all!

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  7. Hey there sister,

    These great words come from a heart and life greatly influenced by the loving God of the Scriptures. I am so glad to have come across this blog and hope that you are encouraged knowing that your words of truth and comfort have done wonders to another weary worrier down in New Zealand!

    Grace and peace to you my sister. May the God of hope fill you at all times with joy and peace in believing His gospel.

    Cody Knox

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    1. Thanks for your comment and the encouragement, Cody. God bless!

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  8. Excellent, Persis. There is such wonderful instruction and comfort in the Scriptures you posted, and in the quotes from Pink.

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    1. Thank you, Rosemary. Thank God for His Word and the writings of these godly men who have gone before us.

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