We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery … which none of the rulers of this world hath known … the natural man cannot know them. 1st Corinthians 2:7-14.
The cross is the greatest display of God’s power on the planet in overcoming the darkness of evil and sin. Unfortunately, on the one hand the Pharisees that represents the highest religious order of the day were celebrating the elimination of Jesus Christ, and on the other hand were the un-illuminated followers of Jesus Christ who ought to be celebrating the triumph of light over darkness, crestfallen and hiding themselves in shame and for fear. While the heaven was filled with light over mission accomplished; an ignorant devil was equally celebrating the death of his chief tormentor, ignorant that he simply became the high priest who killed the sacrificial lamb that sealed the plan of the redemption of man and thus sealed his own doom. We can be mourning over a resounding victory handed over to us by God because of lack of elevated sight. Similarly, we can be celebrating a state of defeat, falsely assuming that to be a victory and a breakthrough from God. Selah!
A New Sight of a Sovereign God! (Adapted Marlon Jameson)
Habakkuk had to negotiate his way into a new place of seeing God in his day. As a prophet, his operational context is supposed to be one of partnership with God. Therefore, God’s interaction with Habakkuk was designed to produce an enhanced capacity inside of him to partner with God as He acts in the earth. God identified within Habakkuk a concept limitation in his understanding of God.
Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7
When Habakkuk complained and described the depraved context in which he found himself with respect to events taking place in the nation, God’s response to Habakkuk was even more perplexing:
Habakkuk: v2. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and you will not hear? Even cry out to you, “Violence!” And you will not save. 3 Why do you show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. 4 Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore, perverse judgment proceeds.
Amazingly God then proceeds to describe a set of worse conditions to come for which He claims full responsibility (v6 – 10). The rise of a thoroughly evil empire – terrible; dreadful; violence; taking of captives; wreaking unrestrained global havoc at will. If the defining characteristic of the relationship between God and Habakkuk is supposed to be a partnership, then there is a problem here that needs to be resolved. CONCEPT LIMITATION of his understanding of God and His dealings with the nations of the earth needed to be resolved.
GOD: (NIV) v5. “Look at the nations. Watch them. Be totally amazed at what you see. I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe. You would not believe it even if someone told you about it.
Habakkuk: v13. You are of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look on wickedness. Why do you look on those who deal treacherously, and hold your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?
Habakkuk has here a set of assumptions in his mind about God and His operations that obscures his sight of how God was about to further act. If these assumptions were not adjusted, it would have made him an ineffective partner with God as He manages the earth to its pre-ordained end-state.
An assumption is a belief or conviction that is so internalized as fact that it has become an unquestioned basis for action and interaction with the world around us. Some assumptions are correct while some are inaccurate borne out of deficient sight of God.
Habakkuk’s Final Position: 17 Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. Hab. 3:17-19
How did he arrive here? He caught a new sight of a Sovereign God. This is precisely the objective of this article – that we might catch a NEW SIGHT OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD!
God is Sovereign
‘Sovereign’ means having undisputed ascendancy; Possessed of supreme power, unlimited in extent. The meaning of the word suggests an absolute reality. There is no such thing as being partially sovereign. Understanding God’s sovereignty is an essential platform for an accurate Kingdom perspective. The concept of God’s sovereignty is not new to us but the actions and reactions of most believers to events in the earth contradict our acceptance of this. This is exactly my contention with respect to how the majority of believers conduct themselves towards the events in our nation in the last 10 years and presently, towards this presidential election.
Some Wrong Concepts of God’s Sovereignty
- The sovereignty of God as a ‘Veto’ Facility:
The big underlying problem with all these misconceptions about the sovereignty of God is the limitation they impose on Him because of our lack of sight. As a veto facility, it implies that whenever something doesn’t sit well with God, which maybe He never thought of before and was not explicit as to whether it is His will or not, He simply vetoes it because He has veto power. However, ‘known to God are all His ways from the beginning’! God is not arbitrary, and He is not inconsistent with His plans and actions. Therefore, He doesn’t need a veto facility to arbitrarily make up for the gaps in plan and action when things didn’t go according to His plans. HE knows the end from the beginning; and He has no gaps in His plans and actions.
- The sovereignty of God as a Counter-Response to the Enemy’s Actions:
Known to God from before times are all the actions and inactions of the devil! God allows the devil to operate within certain permissible boundaries and parameters whether the devil likes it or not. Job’s issue is one such instance. Besides, the devil services the purposes of God in more ways than we can imagine or love to accept. He killed Jesus Christ who was ordained by God from the foundation of the earth to be slayed as a sacrificial lamb and thus atone for the sins of the whole world. Therefore, the sovereignty of God cannot be evoked as a counter response to the enemy’s actions. The devil knows too well as not to cross the line which God has set for him. The devil simply takes advantage of our ignorance like every smart lawyer does. Well, the devil has never been a threat to God and His plans for the planet. God’s actions are never a counter response to the devil’s actions; it is the other way around. If our prayers are always a counter response to the plans of Muslims fundamentalism, then something is lacking in our sight of God. Our prayers always should be initiated from ABOVE and not from events of the earth. Do not get me wrong; we pray about events happening around us. But our interpretation of the events around us must be piloted by our understanding of what heaven is saying about them else we will get into a place as we are in today where the devil hijacks and control our spiritual activities. No activity of the devil takes God unawares, He knows them long before the devil undertakes them.
- The sovereignty of God suited only to the Purposes of the Church:
The sovereignty of God is not limited to the affairs of the church only but extends to all His created universe. The power of God is not only seen and manifested inside the church, but His power is seen as He administers the nations, the global economy, the weather, and in science and technology. He rules in the affairs of men and He is the Governor of the Nations. He is solely in charge of times and seasons of the earth, the rise and fall of kingdoms and who comes to power within a geographical sphere and at what point in time. He spoke about Cyrus, Alexander the great and his four generals, Julius Caesar in the book of Daniel long before they were even born. He is presently still administering the nations of the earth as He ushers them to the threshold of judgment; because He is the Sovereign God. He is still determining who comes to power over the nations of the earth, and at what point in time, despite our political systems and the manipulations of men.
When we cannot see the power of God in the affairs of the nations of the earth (and Nigeria) for whatever reasons, it is a CONCEPT LIMITATION of our understanding of God. When we can recognize the Power of God in the activities of the church and cannot recognize same in Science and Technology, then it limits how effectively we can partner with God to finish His purposes for the earth. The ONE SINGULAR PURPOSE OF GOD for the earth is presently exerting a very tight grip in the ‘Trump phenomena’ of the USA, the BREXIT of the UK, the yellow vest movement of FRANCE etc. and it is equally exerting a very tight grip on the political affairs of Nigeria. If all we see is the dominance of Muslim Oligarchy (which is an earthly reality) in Nigeria, then our sightline of God’s Sovereignty is deficient. [More of this later]!
- The sovereignty of God as Agent of ‘Beneficial Outcomes:
God directs every event of providence as He administers times and chance, however, He faithfully sends us rain as well as the sun in their due seasons; night seasons as well as mornings of joy. But His sovereignty is far bigger than this narrow bandwidth of activity that Pentecostals sees as everything. He remains sovereign even when outcomes are not personally beneficial as we expect them or ‘beneficial’ to the church.
More Accurate Perspective of God’s Sovereignty!
Isaiah 6:1- In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”
In the year that King Uzziah died (Earthly crisis in the Nation of God): Uzziah was a very godly king that had so much of God’s favor and built a mighty military complex that brought so much glory, fame and superiority of Israel to the surrounding nations. He overreached himself and God struck him with leprosy and thus died prematurely.
I saw the Lord sitting on a throne (Certainty of rulership): Negative outcomes in the earth didn’t impinge on His Sovereignty. He was still seated on His throne. Still in charge.
High and lifted up (Undisputed ascendancy): He was still in full control and still had full options on what to do with the crisis situation in Israel. After all, He was the One that killed Uzziah for overreaching himself.
And the train of His robe filled the temple (Unlimited scope and reach of authority): The devil and the enemy nations of Israel did not suddenly have an advantage over them, even though Israel and Isaiah were mourning over the loss of the shining light of their nation.
Earthly crisis in the very nation of God still saw the certainty of God’s rulership superintending indisputably not only over the affairs of Israel but over the nations of the earth. The reach and scope of His undisputed ascendancy is borderless. An earthly crisis should never question the certainty of His sovereignty in our hearts. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” Sight from the earth was, ‘crisis and confusion’; but in contrast, sight from above was, “the whole earth is filled with the glory of God!
Matt. 13:24-30, 37-43
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 “but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 “But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 “So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’28 “He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 “But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 ‘Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”
37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 “The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 “The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 “Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 “and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
v.30- “Let both grow together until the harvest” was an executive decision that affects the maturation of both good and evil.
vv.38,41– “The field is the world”! yet, “they will weed out of His kingdom”
The above parable outlines a scope of authority to act that makes no distinction between the world and the kingdom, between wheat and tares. All that seems to matter is God’s purpose which encompasses and governs all.
We must divest ourselves of wrong concepts about God that we hold, about His rulership authority and the nature of His involvement in the affairs of the planet if we must be able to partner with Him and represent Him accurately as HE wraps up the age. A firmly negotiated understanding of His sovereignty is the platform upon which we must stand to complete His purposes.