God is in Control (Proverbs Sermon 7)
April 29, 2001 | Andy Davis
Providence and Sovereignty of God
The Book of Proverbs informs us that God is meticulously in control of everything. In this sermon, Pastor Andy Davis looks at all the ways Proverbs reveals different aspects of God's providence.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
Take your Scriptures, if you would, and open to the Gospel of Mark. We're gonna begin our study in Proverbs in another place, like we do every week. So I want to begin in Mark chapter 1. Do you all have sheets? I gave out some sheets so that when we get into Proverbs, you won't have to flip around. I know that some of you have more nimble fingers than others. But I wanted to give you these sheets. I'm not promising this every week, but I had time a little bit this week to give them out to you and... Is anybody missing one? Do you all have one? Okay. Do you all folks have, Barb and blue, you guys have 'em? Alright.
Alright, why don't we begin with prayer? Father, we thank you for the time that we've had tonight to listen to our brother and sisters as they sing about love for you. Father, it is indeed good to be alive, everything that you have given us is a gift. The Scripture says, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows. And we thank you, Lord, that you have given us not only physical life but eternal life in Jesus Christ. And Father, we can look around this beautiful world that you have given us, and we can thank you for it, but it's just a dim reflection of the glory that we will see when we're with you face-to-face in heaven. Father, now as we consider the topic of God's sovereignty in the book of Proverbs, I pray that we would come to rejoice in and to embrace your sovereignty, Father, that we might understand what it means. And that we might gladly bow the knee to you and submit our lives to you in every respect, realizing that everything you will is good. Your ways are perfect, your commands are life-giving, and that we are free, truly free to walk in the path of your commands and to know the eternal life you have for us. Thank you for these things, in Jesus' name, amen.
Look, if you will, in Mark chapter 1. In Mark 1:14 and following, it describes the beginning of Jesus' preaching ministry. And it says there in Mark 1:14, "After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the good news of God." What's another word for good news? The gospel. So he's going around proclaiming the gospel. So we're gonna learn a little something about the gospel. Now, what does it say in verse 15? It says, "The time has come," this is Jesus speaking now, "The time has come, the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news." So what is the good news in Jesus' message? It's the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the good news.
Now, we might think of the good news as being forgiveness of sin, the fact that Jesus died in our place so that we have eternal life, that he rose from the dead, all of that is good news, it's true. But here in this verse, the good news is the kingdom of God. Now, why is the kingdom of God good news? It's Sunday evening so that's not a rhetorical question. Why is the kingdom of God good news?
Audience response: "It's available."; "It's available through Jesus Christ."; "It's a lot better than this world."
It's a lot better than this world, that's for sure, that's for sure. At the center of the kingdom of God is a king. That makes sense, right? And he is powerful and he's awesome, and he is good, and therefore the message about his rulership, his sovereignty is good news, is it not?
What kind of universe would this be if there were an awesome sovereign potentate who was not good? This would be a terrifying universe, wouldn't it? Or, if there were a force of evil running free in the universe that were unchecked by God's sovereignty, would this not be a terrifying universe to live in? But none of those is the case, and we're gonna find that out in a surprising place, perhaps the book of Proverbs. I want for us as Christians to embrace the sense of God as king, that we are to live lives of repentance and faith in that king, and that obedience to his commands is freedom, joyful freedom. Disobedience leads to slavery. Jesus said, everyone who sins is a what? A slave to sin. But "if the Son makes you free, you'll be free indeed." Free indeed. Does that mean there's no king? Absolutely not. There is a king and nothing, no force in heaven or on earth is going to remove him from his throne. They're just is insufficient power to do that.
"I want for us as Christians to embrace the sense of God as king, that we are to live lives of repentance and faith in that king, and that obedience to his commands is freedom, joyful freedom."
He is powerful, he is sovereign, he is ruling, and we kinda need to deal with that, don't we? It's not gonna change. But it's nothing to deal with in that God is king, because he is good and he is loving and his ways are right. And so we're going to, I think, feel around the perimeters and kind of poke our hands into the extent of his kingship tonight in the book of Proverbs. There's some amazing Proverbs that speak of the sovereignty of God. But before we go there, let's see if we can understand it. If you were to look in Psalm 47, you can turn there in the Bible if you'd like, or you can just read what's printed on the sheet there. Psalm 47:2 says, "How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!" Isn't that marvelous? God is the great King over all the earth. That's pretty extensive. His reign over all the earth, he is the great King.
And then it says later in verse 7 through 9, "For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God." Isn't that powerful? The kings of the earth belong to God, he is greatly exalted. That's a great statement of God's rulership, of his sovereignty even over the kings of the earth. It is not for nothing that we call Jesus the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is great and he is sovereign, and he rules. Look at Isaiah 14:26-27. What would a king be if he never issued an order? What would a king be if he never gave a decree or made a law? He wouldn't be ruling, right? Well, God actually gives many decrees, many laws, he has many initiatives, he has many plans, his hand reaches out many times. He's not an inactive king, he's not a lame duck king, let's put it that way. He's moving, he's active, he has plans, he's unfolding that plan, and he's involved. His hand stretches out many, many times.
We'll look at Isaiah 14:26-27, "This is the plan determined for the whole world. This is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out and who can turn it back?" What's the answer to the question? When God's hand stretches out, who has the strength and the power to turn it back? The answer is no one. Were you to assemble all the forces that God created in heaven, on earth, under the earth, they would be insufficient to turn back his hand when it moves. This is the sovereignty of God, and therefore, we could define the sovereignty of God as the active exercise of his supremacy over all creation. The active exercise of his supremacy. He is supreme. He is high and lifted up. In the vision of Isaiah 6, he is high and lifted up far above all of his created beings, you see? And why is God depicted as high and lifted up? I don't really think that spatial reasoning means much, except that it shows a sense of God's supremacy, his sovereignty, his greatness over that which is below him.
And so the earth, he sits enthroned, it says, over the circle of the earth in the book of Isaiah, he's ruling. This is what it says, AW Pink wrote this, "Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature, He is the Most High, He is Lord of heaven and earth. Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him." This is the sovereignty of God.
Isaiah 46:9-10, and by the way, if you want a good section of scripture on the greatness and the sovereignty and the power of God, just 10 chapters on that, go to the Isaiah 40s, beginning in chapter 40 and up through 49, that's where it's at. Just chapter after chapter of, "I am God and there is no other. There is no one like me. All the idols, there is nothing. I can predict the future, and they can't... " Just God displaying his supremacy over and over. And mostly talking to Israel that had run after other gods and why somebody would choose a piece of wood and carve it into an idol and bow down and worship it? Half of it, he uses it to make his dinner and the other half he worships. How can this be? This is Isaiah 40 through 49, read those chapters, they're just majestic. Sometime this week, read Isaiah 40 through 49, you'll see what I mean.
But right in the middle of it, Isaiah 46:9-10, he says this, "I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'" Wow! What a God. What a God. "I say, My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." Is God free to do as he pleases in his universe? Absolutely. He is King and he is free to do as he pleases in his universe, and he does as he pleases, and what he pleases is good. And so Jesus, when he began his preaching ministry, he said, "Rejoice and repent for the kingdom of God is near." So as we look at that, we think to ourselves, "Well, this is a wonderful thing. A mighty God, sovereign over all things," and yet we have to realize this is not a popular doctrine. Why is this not a popular doctrine? What is the problem here?
We like our self-will.
We like our self-will. We want to say I am and there is no other, I will do as I please. Oh, now, come on, admit it. You like to say, "I am and I like to do what I want," That's another way of saying it. The essence of parenting, which we talked about last week, is to persuade them that there's another will in the universe and that they need to yield and submit. It's hard. Every child comes into the world saying, "I am and there is no other, and I will do all as I please." And so, we've got that essence inside us and it's hard to break from it, isn't it? We want to do what we want to do, and we think that that's freedom, and it isn't. Jesus said it's sin, it's slavery. Freedom is bowing gladly before God, that's freedom.
Now, that's kind of a paradox, isn't it? But the bottom line is, that there is a King and we need to submit to him, and he is good. Listen to what Charles Spurgeon said about this topic. "There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God's Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation, the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands, the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that Throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, no truth of which they have made such a football as the great stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne." Is that not powerful?
"Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow His bounties. They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean. But when God ascends His throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth, and we proclaim an enthroned God and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is that we are hissed and execrated. And then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne whom we trust." What a great quote, and yet so true.
The very thing that we don't want, the sovereignty of God, and yet it is the sovereignty of God that sweetens the bitterness of the trials we go through in life, is it not? Because sovereignty has overruled them for His own purpose, and when we're through with all of this, he will bring us home. Isn't that wonderful? And so, the sovereignty of God, both loved and hated doctrine. Let's see what Proverbs says about it. There's various topics I've just gone through and I've organized them, not in any particular order, but just pulled them out with headings. The first that I like to bring out is sovereignty over human hearts, minds, wills and actions. Let's go right to the heart of the matter, shall we?
Now, if you look at the Spurgeon quote, he's saying that God can rule over the waves, he can hold up the pillars of the earth, but when he ascends his throne specifically to rule over what? People, that's when we have problems, right? Well, all I'm going to do is just read the verses and you can make of them what you will. God is sovereign over human hearts, minds, wills and actions. First, he's sovereign over our words. Look at Proverbs 16:1, "To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue." So what is that saying? Well, it's saying, you can make your plans, but the words you speak were ordained by God. That's what it says, and I didn't write this, I'm just telling you what it says. Alright, look at the next one, He's sovereign over our actions. Proverbs 16:9, "In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."
Left foot, right foot, left foot... What should I decide next? Let's take a vote. Should I do the right foot next? Okay, right foot, left foot. The Lord directs his steps. What does that mean? I make my plans, and yet God directs my steps. Proverb 16:9, right after 16:1, so I put the two of them together. We make our plans but God works out what he wants. You see? I was talking to Jason early this week, he said, "So what? Are we robots?" Of course not. All I'm trying to do is understand these verses, and so even the very words that we speak and the steps that we step are under the sovereignty of God. We make plans, but God determines our steps. Proverbs 20:24, "A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" Are you telling me I don't even understand my own life? Yes, that's what the verse says. You don't understand your own life, not fully. Do you know that God knows your life better than you do? He remembers every decision you've ever made, we don't remember those.
You ever notice, "I forgot I did that. I forgot I said that." But you did. But whether you remembered it or not, God also understands the purpose behind it all, he understands why you said what you said and did what you did. And so, you put all these together, God is really involved and active in the decisions we make. I like, as I think about God directing or determining our steps, what it says in Ephesians 2:10, for it says, "We are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them." Wow! That means every day has a bunch of good works that he's laid out, like it's stepping stones across the river of that day? Absolutely. Step, step, step. Good work, good work, good work, good work. Go to bed. Wake up, good work, good work, good work, good work, good work, go to bed. Until you die. And he's got it worked out, doesn't he? You say yes, "But I have the choice to rebel." That's true. You do. We do it a lot.
We do good work, good work, rebel, repent, good work, good work, good work. You see how that goes? And that's kind of how every day is for us, right? Good work, repent, come back, good work, good work, good work. But God understands all of this and even our sin, even our rebellion ultimately works together for good. "God causes all things to work together for good, for those who love him and are called according to His purpose." Good work, good work, good work. And the point is that we step in them, that we walk in them; he's ordained them. And this is the beauty of it, is that at 10 o'clock in the morning, there's a sovereignly ordained good work for me to do. Somebody at work who needs a message of the gospel, somebody who needs help, we'd study the Good Samaritan this morning. There's going to be an opportunity to be a good Samaritan to somebody in some way. That makes life significant. And God has ruled it all. Ephesians 2:10.
And God is sovereign over a king's heart. Look at Proverbs 21:1, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, He directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases." Wow. Now, I've quoted that many times before, I think it helps us to understand the book of Daniel, for example. God is sovereign over Nebuchadnezzar, God is sovereign over Belshazzar, God is sovereign over Cyrus the Great, God is sovereign over Darius the Mede. He's sovereign over any and every king that comes along. He's sovereign over Alexander the Great, Caesar Augustus. One after the other after the other, he's sovereign over all of them.
And this verse says the king's heart. Now, what is the heart? It's not that part of you that pumps blood, we know that. What is the heart? What is he referring to? What does the heart do in the Bible? Seed of emotions, motivation, the reason why you do what you do, reasons, purposes, the will, decisions that you make. All of that is in the heart. And there are verses that talk about each one of those in Psalms and other places. That is in God's hand? What you choose, what you love, what you hate, what you are enticed by and what you're not, the decisions you make, the court, all that is in the hand of the Lord. And specifically for a king, the mighty rulers of the earth, the ones that are making big decisions and big things are happening... Yes, that is in the hand of the Lord. And he directs it like a watercourse, whichever way he chooses.
Now, it's very interesting about that. I know we're at the heart of deep theology here, but I think the point is this: The king has an inclination, he has a drive, a bent, perhaps if he's a wicked man, toward evil, God directs that evil toward a certain channel, and it flows that way, and some wheels get turned that God wants turned. And you say, "How in the world can God use wickedness and evil to accomplish his ends?" Let me ask you a question, in all human history, what is the most wicked thing that human beings have ever done? Crucifying Jesus Christ. Is there anything worse? The Son of God, the only truly innocent man that has ever lived, did nothing but love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and love his neighbor as himself every day of his life, and they killed Him, Son of God. And what came out of that wicked deed? Your salvation.
"The Son of God, the only truly innocent man that has ever lived, did nothing but love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and love his neighbor as himself every day of his life, and they killed Him, Son of God. And what came out of that wicked deed? Your salvation."
Now, that should prove that God is fully capable using wicked things to accomplish incredibly good ends, just like Joseph said in reference to his brothers, "You meant my attack here for evil, God meant it... " feel the weight of that, he intended it, he planned it, and he worked it out, God meant it for good. God can use wicked things to accomplish his ends.
Alright, God is sovereign over human hearts, minds, wills and actions. God is also sovereign over enemies. Look at Proverbs 21:30. He's sovereign over his enemies. Proverbs 21:30, "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord." Wow! You can't concoct something that gets ahead of God and overrules or overturns his purposes. You can't work something out that's going to succeed. This is Psalm 2, folks. Look at Psalm 2, "Why do the nations rage and the people's plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his anointed one, 'Let us throw off their chains and break their shackles?'" What are they saying there? "Let's rebel, I'm tired of this king who's ruling over us all the time." And the one enthroned in heaven, what does he do? He laughs. He laughs. And at the end of Psalm 2, he gives a warning, "Don't do that. Okay, don't rebel. Kiss the Son. Submit gladly and it will go well with you." That's the message of Psalm 2, and it's the message here.
You can't come up with a plan that will overthrow God's plan. You can't figure something out that will get ahead of God and say, "Oh, no! Salvation, the whole gospel thing, it had a weakness and I never saw it. Satan found my weakness, and the gospel will not advance to the ends of the earth, and the such and such tribe in distant Mongolia will not hear the gospel." It's not going to happen. There is no plan that will succeed against God.
The next one, God is sovereign over seemingly random events. "The lot is cast into the lap, but it's every decision is from the Lord." Again, I didn't write this. Now, we don't use lots anymore, do we? What is the modern equivalent of casting a lot into the lap? Rolling a dice. How many of you have played Monopoly in the last year? Or some game that involved the rolling of dice? Alright. I have. Actually on the computer these days, this computer dice roll program that they've come up with, alright. I don't know how they do the random number generation and all that, there's a whole math theory behind that. Huh? Oh, you know, alright. Anyone interested? Herbert Rivera is the man. Random number generation. It's very hard for humans to come up with random numbers.
Anyway, the point is, you take that dice and you roll it. I was talking to my kids about this verse last night, I said, "Around the world right now, how many dice do you think are being rolled? Right this instant, how many dice?" Some of them are coming up one, some two, three, four, five, and six. And what is this verse telling you about the ones, the twos, the threes, the fours, the fives and the sixes? Every decision is from the Lord.
Now, how in the world... You say, "Why does God care what it comes up?" I don't know, but this is what the verse says. He seems to care whether it comes up a four or three. Now, you say, "Is this a consistent teaching in the Bible?" Yes, it is. You remember Jonah, the story of Jonah, what happened with Jonah? There was a big storm and all that, they bring Jonah out on deck, they're trying to find out who's responsible, and so they cast lots. And where does the lot come up? On Jonah. Well, what do you know! Just by chance, if they've done it a different way, it would had come up on a different guy. No way. "The lot is cast into the lap, but it's every decision is from the Lord."
Now, what is the application of this? There is no such thing as luck. Can we get around that truth right now? Can we kind of gather around and say Christians should not believe in luck? What is luck? It's some random force running through the universe that no one has control over, not even God. Is there anything like that? No, there is nothing like that. Or the modern equivalent of luck is karma, people talk about karma, that is just Buddhism or eastern mysticism coming into American culture. You watch Buddhism, folks, it's making inroads. There's no joke, you watch it, and why? Because it's very comfortable along with the lifestyle we want, it fits well, it mushes in well. And the whole karma thing is this idea of just this kind of that's how it worked out and there's no sovereignty in it, there's no purpose or person in it, there's no king who rules over it. That is a false universe, it doesn't exist and neither does luck. So, "The lot is cast into the lap but it's every decision is from the Lord." He's sovereign over the outcome of battles. "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord." You can get your horse ready and you should. You should get everything ready to accomplish the thing you want to accomplish, but victory rests with the Lord, not with a horse.
Another verse that talks about this is Psalm 33:12-19, we'll take a minute and read this. It says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven, the Lord looks down and sees all mankind." That's a great statement of supremacy, isn't it? "From heaven, God looks down and sees all mankind, and from his dwelling place, he watches all who live on the earth. He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do... " Now listen, verse 16, "no king is saved by the size of his army." Wow! "No king is saved by the size of his army. No warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance. Despite all its great strength, it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love to deliver them from death."
What is God saying there in Psalm 33? It's not the horse that wins the battle, it's not the size of the army, it's what God wants to do with that, that's what matters. God is sovereign even over those battles. And he's sovereign over wicked people. Proverbs 16:4, "The Lord works out everything for his own ends, even the wicked for a day of disaster." This is a very deep verse, and we don't have time to understand it fully tonight, but I just wanted to read it. "God works out all things for his own ends, even the wicked man for a day of disaster."
Now, what did Jesus say of Judas who betrayed him? It would be better for him if what? He had never been born. Was he born? Who knit him together in his mother's womb? Psalm 139, who knit him together in his mother's womb? God did. So God chose something that was not better for Judas. It's deep, but God knit... I'm just putting verses together and putting concepts together. God knit him together in his mother's womb, and Jesus said of him, it would be better for him if he had never been born. It's deep.
Now, nobody compelled Judas to be a thief, nobody forced him to betray Jesus, those are things he stands responsible for on judgment day, and he will give an account. There was no forcing. None of that, but God knit him together in his mother's womb. And the Lord works out everything for his own ends. And then Proverbs 16:7, I love this, "When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him." Well, how does he do that? "Excuse me, enemies, will you come and sit down. I've got a friend over here, okay? And his ways are pleasing to me, and I want you to live at peace with him." Are the enemies in a good relationship with God? Absolutely not, not if the man's ways are pleasing to God, most likely the enemies are in rebellion against God. And yet, God makes them be at peace with him, God is sovereign over wicked people, and he can make your enemies live at peace with you. Isn't that a great verse? Say, "God, please make my enemies live in peace with me." There's nothing wrong with asking God for that.
And then Proverbs 20:22 says, "Do not say, I'll pay you back for this wrong. Wait for the Lord and he will deliver you." Let's turn the other cheek. Let God do it. God's much better at it than you are. Let God do it, don't take revenge, but leave room for the wrath of God, it says in Romans. And then God is sovereign to test hearts and to judge our ways. These are just easy to read through. Proverbs 5:21, "For a man's ways are in full view of the Lord and he examines all his paths." Wow! God watches everything you do. He examines your paths. Proverbs 15:3 says, "The eyes of the Lord are everywhere keeping watch on the wicked and the good." 15:11 says, "Death and destruction lie open before the Lord. How much more the hearts of men?" God reads your heart like a book, he knows you completely in and out. 16:2, "All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord." We all think we're innocent in everything we do. "All my motives were pure." Oh, don't be so sure.
I'm beginning to understand my heart, and I wonder if I've ever had a completely pure motive in my entire life. But God understands my heart, he knows completely. All my ways seem innocent to me, but God weighs my motives. And then 17:3, "The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart." God tests what's in your heart, and he's sovereign to do that, and he's sovereign to give rewards and blessings. Houses and wealth, 19:14, it says, "Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord." Isn't that beautiful? Praise God. A prudent wife is from the Lord. You get from your parents' houses and wealth, but God gives you the wife. What God has joined together, let man not separate. God is the matchmaker, and he brings that prudent wife into your life. 18:22 says, "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." And then 16:3, it says, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed." It said earlier, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths." This is a sovereign God, to bless all the things you do if you commit your ways to him. And then sovereign to judge sin, 15:25, "The Lord tears down the proud man's house, but he keeps the widow's boundaries intact." Oh, boy! How many houses have been torn down and nobody really knows who is behind it all, but God tears down the proud man's house, but he keeps the widow's boundaries intact. God is active, and he moves through the world bringing judgment when it's needed.
Now, the newspaper doesn't say, "Oh, this was an act of God," or, "That was an act of God." But God is active and he's working. And then Proverbs 22:22-23, it says, "Do not exploit the poor because they are poor, and do not crush the needy in court for the Lord will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them." God is patient, and he waits for repentance, but for those that desire to attack the poor, they're taking God on, in effect, and God will act on their behalf.
Now, we've been through some deep things, and I've given you these verses so that you can study them on your own, try to understand them. There's one final aspect of God's sovereignty that I wanna talk about, and that is that God is sovereign to hide secrets. He's sovereign to understand this when we don't. And this is what it says, 25:2, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter. To search out a matter is the glory of kings." So we said we should search out this doctrine and try to understand it, we should search out the roots and the depths of the sovereignty of God and try to understand it, but we'll never be able to understand it fully. And it is the glory of God to conceal things. When we see him face-to-face, 1 Corinthians 13 says we will know fully, even as we have been fully known.
But in the midst of all of this and our yearning for freedom and our thinking, "Oh, what does this mean?" and all that, realize that these verses that we read tonight, these are holy Scripture, this is the teaching of God on the issue of sovereignty. We can rebel or fight against it or we can say, "Praise God! We can understand why Jesus said the kingdom of God is good news. I'm glad that the lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. I'm glad about that." And why? Because I don't want some random wicked thing running through the universe that he has no control over, that can wipe out me and my family, and for him to say, "It wasn't me. It wasn't me, I had no control, I couldn't stop it. There was nothing I could do." Now, to me, that's even more terrifying. What I want to do is I want to find God in his sovereign activities and gladly worship him for what he's doing. Why don't we close in prayer and ask him to bless our week as we go out, we commit our ways to him.
Father, we thank you for the time we've had tonight to look at these verses, they are deep and they teach a God who is active, and powerful, and almighty, and sovereign. And God, we love you for that. We're grateful, O Lord, that nothing could stop your actions in Christ, that you were going to send Christ into the world, he was gonna live a certain length of time, he was going to die on the cross at Jewish and Roman hands alike, and on the third day, he was going to rise again and nothing could stop that plan. And I'm grateful, O Lord, that the salvation which we know in Christ has advanced, and powerfully and forcefully through the world for 2000 years. And now it's come here to America as it's come to other places of the world. What was at one time distant shores from Palestine, the gospel has come to us and we've heard it and believed it, and we say thank you for it. God, I pray for my brothers and sisters here that each one of us would walk in the steps of the good works that you have laid out ahead of us, that we should walk in them. Help us, O Lord, to be faithful to do those good works you have for us to do. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.