“Thus says the LORD: ‘But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight.’ Says the LORD.’” Jeremiah 9:23–24

The subject of the sovereignty of God may evoke images of dusty, puritan preachers waxing eloquent about unregenerate souls being in jeopardy of eternal hellfire. The image is certainly accurate, as far as it goes, to the reality that the doctrine of the sovereignty of God serves as a brazen reminder that every unsaved soul will give account and suffer punishment for his unbelief.

But the subject of the sovereignty of God holds nothing but hope and joyful promise for every believer! Due to the infinite vastness of God, the subject of His sovereignty will never be exhausted, completely comprehended, nor evaded by men. Since the Bible is God’s vehicle of self-revelation, and in seeing His Son we see the Father, every corner of Scripture has something to teach us about the mysteries of God’s sovereignty.

Sovereignty does not imply God is stoic, willful, and lacking compassion. Our passage in Jeremiah reveals His nature is good, just, loving, holy, faithful, and righteous. God is not some sort of “artificial intelligence” devoid of personhood, feeling, and care. His sovereignty is not synonymous with “fate.” Realistically and honestly accepting the truth of God’s determinations, counsel, decree, and purposes is vital to knowing Him and delighting Him.

The sweeping majesty of God’s sovereignty may be discerned in every human realm. First, God is sovereign over creation. Just one chapter over, in Jeremiah 10:12–13 we read, “He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens: and He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”

The Bible recounts many times that God is in control of the weather, floods, the earth, and the universe. He controlled the sun in Joshua’s time and Hezekiah’s time, He controlled the rain in Elijah’s time, etc. Amos 4:7f reads, “I also withheld the rain from you, when there were still three months to the harvest. I made it rain on one city. I withheld rain from another city. One part was rained upon, and where it did not rain the part withered…yet you have not returned to Me.” Later, in verse 13 God states, “For behold, He who forms mountains, and creates the wind, who declares to man what His thought is, and makes the morning darkness, who treads the high places of the earth—the LORD God of hosts is His name.”

The awesome power of God over wind and weather is the reason His Son is able to still the storm and make calm the sea (Mark 4:39ff). God’s sovereign power is not lessened by the passage of time, by the shift from the Old Testament to the New, or is it eroded with the turning of the 20th century to the 21st! His sovereignty is not a doctrine to be relegated to childhood Sunday School lessons, but its powerful reality grows ever nearer and dearer to a believer’s mind as old age weighs increasingly upon him.

God is not just sovereign over the stars, the storms, and the sea, He is sovereign over the animal kingdom as well. Daniel testifies to this in verse 6:22 when God shut the mouths of the lions. God used ravens to feed Elijah, and who can forget the great fish God prepared for Jonah! I believe His sovereignty does not stop with the animal kingdom, but extends to all living creatures. This includes vectors of diseases and the diseases themselves (the miracles of healing in both Old and New Testaments provide adequate proof).

His sovereignty over the animals is illustrative of His sovereignty over men. One of the great mysteries of the sovereignty of God is that He orchestrates among men without being culpable for mankind’s sin, or that of any man. Man is free so far as his fallen nature allows, but the Bible provides many instances of God’s control and intervention concerning acts of evil. Exodus gives us insight into the exercise of God’s sovereignty and the complicity of Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 7:12; 8:15, 32; 9:12). Similarly, Peter preaches about the wicked hands that crucified Christ, yet it was according to “the determined purpose even foreknowledge” of God (Acts 2:23). The story of Job sheds much light on God’s sovereignty over Satan. The Holy Spirit also functions during the Church Age as a restraint upon evil right up to this very day (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

The Bible teaches that God is sovereign over seemingly random things. Proverbs 16:33 states, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” Even a man’s steps are taken under the sovereignty of God, as Proverbs 20:24 says: “A man’s steps are of the LORD; how then can a man understand his own way?” Politics are also under His sovereign control, Proverbs 21:1 reads, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Your days are numbered by the Lord and your death is an appointment with Him! Live in light of God’s sovereignty (James 4:13ff) in willing submission to His plan, glorying in Him, and you will be His delight! Trust and obey.