“For if God is not sovereign, if He is not in control, if all things are not under His dominion, then He is not the Most High, and you and I are either in the hands of fate (whatever that is), in the hands of man, or in the hands of the devil.”1I clearly remember trying to come to terms with God’s Sovereignty in a way I could understand, especially in the face of evil. How could a good God, a loving God allow evil to happen to the innocent? I would try hard to rectify in my mind, and my heart, man’s free will , God’s goodness and His sovereignty. It seems impossible. Maybe He was good, just not to me. Maybe I was sinful and deserved it? Maybe God not only wouldn’t interfere with man’s will but couldn’t? Maybe God wasn’t all that powerful and good after all?
I was confused. I believed lies about God’s character. The enemy had power over me since I did not know the truth.
Then I studied His name El Elyon -The Most High God -It expresses the extreme sovereignty and majesty of God and His highest preeminence. This name tells me that He comes before all others in importance. He is the highest in authority.
This name, El Elyon, tells us that all things are under God's rule and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission. He works not just some things but ALL THINGS according to the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11). His purposes are all-inclusive and never thwarted (Isa. 46:11). Nothing or no one takes Him by surprise. The sovereignty of God is not merely that God has the power and right to control all things, but that He does so, always and without exception. In other words, God is not merely sovereign in principle, but sovereign in practice.
To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is "The Governor among the nations" (Psa. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the "Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible."2Our El Elyon rules over all things in my life. He has been in control over the good and the bad. He took what man (and Satan) meant to destroy me and used it to draw me to Him. I don’t understand it all. And I certainly do not have all the answers, but I do know my God is supremely sovereign over all things. Not just things, but me and all that has happened in my life.
I have learned to give thanks for ALL things, knowing and trusting in a God who promises “to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28) How can I do that in the face such pain? Because I know that “out of evil He will create beauty. Out of ashes He will create a garland.” ( see Isaiah 61)
I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me. (Ps 57:2)I am reminded of Joseph in the Old Testament. (his story is told in Genesis 37-50) His brothers hated him. They threw him in a pit and was going to let him die there. Then they sold him as a slave and told their father that he was killed by a wild animal. Once Joseph arrived in Egypt, as a slave, he was chased by the wife of Potiphar and accused of rape. Potiphar had him thrown in prison and pretty much left him there do die, totally forgetting about him.
It could have been easy for Joseph to ask God “why”? Joseph was in prison for a crime he did not commit. His brothers hated him and abandoned him. ”But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there.” Gen 39:20-22)
God was with Joseph. God would use everything in Joseph’s life so that Joseph would be in the right place at the right time in order to persevere the life of his family. What his brothers meant for evil God meant for good.
That same God that worked in the life of Joseph also worked in my life and works in your life. There is evil in this world and Satan will stop at nothing to use the evil in men to destroy the children of God. But our God is sovereign working out and using all things in order to accomplish His purposes for us. Not only for just us, but for our families and people around us as we proclaim our trust in God Most High!
1 Kay Arthur, Lord, I Want to Know You (Colorado Springs, Waterbrook Press 2010), 15
2A. W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, Chapter 1.