Monday, August 26, 2013

Sovereignty of God - Unwanted Results - Power Craving

The Sovereignty of God
Unwanted Results of an Inordinate Emphasis on the Exercise of Sovereignty
There is an unwanted result of an inordinate emphasis on the exercise of sovereignty which is excessive desire to see God unleash power. Because men equate sovereignty with action, lack of performance diminishes the validity of the claims of sovereignty.
Luke 9:54–56
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
Sadly, many, as James and John, believe sovereignty must have expression in order to be of value, and any limitation of action is a loss of sovereignty. In fact, the harsher the expression of God the more valuable and certain is sovereignties’ existence. In other words, God must act so men can believe it exists. We are all too much like the Son’s of Thunder who know the record of Elijah and long to personally experience the unleashing of God’s overwhelming power so men can see sovereignty and fear.
This is a fatal flaw in the thinking of many because God is sovereign apart from expression. Sovereignty is not an action but a state of being. It is an established jurisdiction. If God remained totally inactive He would still be sovereign because expression does not make one sovereign. Expression only gives opportunity for men to experience the sovereign state. Sovereignty is rank and supreme sovereignty means supreme rank.
Sovereign rank is a state of authoritative jurisdiction in which a sovereign may act unopposed. Sovereign authority or jurisdiction is based in the sovereign’s ability to enforce and maintain all expressions of will. However, there are degrees of sovereignty.
In absolute sovereignty, as with God, the Sovereign is the ultimate power enforcing the jurisdiction of his actions and may disallow any possibility of dispute or opposition according to His personal ability to enforce His sovereignty. This being stated, the sovereignty of God rests firm because God is singularly omnipotent.
In a lesser degree of sovereignty the sovereign may be subject to a higher sovereign establishing a limited authoritative jurisdiction such as in the Magna Carta.
In the case of God, His Person is the only temperance for His sovereignty. He will never in His absolute state of sovereignty violate His Person. God alone determines the expression of His sovereighty; no one else has that ability. God may limit himself by His own sovereign choice to do so. He may revoke His self-imposed limitation as it pleases Him, and only Him. He may grant to His creation any authority He wishes, even if for a time allowing freedom of will. He may rescind such allowances at any time He wishes without destroying His sovereign state of Being or diminishing Him as God.
God, the sovereign, gave men the freedom to choose or reject his gift of salvation. At no time, does this, in any way, diminish the sovereign state of God. Freedom of choice does not diminish sovereignty, but demonstrates the unfathomable confidence of God in His own sovereign state.

The Sovereignty of God - Saul's example of Un-tempered sovereignty

The Sovereignty of God

Saul’s Example of Un-tempered Sovereignty
Samuel warned the children of Israel that a king would have sovereign claim over Israel for his own needs, protection, and comforts, including the military. Samuel warned them that the king’s sovereignty would be exercised at their expense with no limitations.
1 Samuel 8:11–12
11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
The sovereign God only asked for the tithe, but the human king would not have such limitations. The fulfillment of this warning has been the demonstrated history of Israel in Saul and other human kings of Israel.
1 Samuel 14:24
24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food.
In verse 24, Saul’s un-tempered sovereign commands extended beyond the written laws of God. The Torah did not give instructions such as the solemn warning and demanded oath that Saul gave and required of the soldiers of Israel.
Saul’s required oath with dire consequences for failure led to great distress of the men of Israel. The capricious demand brought the soldiers to eat meat with blood, and Jonathan, the innocent, unaware of such an oath, was immediately under sovereign curse of execution.
1 Samuel 14:26
26 And when the people were come into the wood, behold, the honey dropped; but no man put his hand to his mouth: for the people feared the oath.
This is not how God exercises his sovereignty. Man irrationally uses un-tempered sovereignty leading to complete disaster and un-wanted suffering of others.
Judges 11:30–32
30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, 31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. 32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands.
Christianity over the centuries has been encumbered with un-wanted teachings due to teachings of capricious acts of God. Teachings, such as arbitrary election of individual men to hell, are a result of good-meaning theologians wishing to prop-up God’s image with an inordinate emphasis on His sovereignty.

The Sovereignty of God Un-tempered

The Sovereignty of God

Un-tempered Sovereignty

1 Samuel 14:24
24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food.
With regret, un-tempered sovereignty becomes abusive in the hands of sinful man as demonstrated in the passage selected. Thank God, that all His sovereignty will always be used in the light of His holiness, His love, and all other attributes of God. In 1 Samuel, believers are provided an example of how God would never use his sovereignty. We will in the next few devotions engage this passage for understanding of how God uses the grand sword of sovereignty.
Sadly, sinful men often, brandish God’s sovereignty like a battle sword completely un-tempered by the other attributes of God which is definitely not God’s will. No man should use God’s sovereignty as though they have an exclusive understanding of the mind of God. This is dangerous.
Romans 11:33–36
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how heunsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
The context of the passage above is clearly the redemption of Israel in the light of the Gentiles acceptance in the gospel. It is hard to image the grafting in of the Gentile, but this is God’s doing, and no one can stay his hand in this matter or completely understand His mind in order to instruct him in any way.
The first principle in dealing with the sovereignty of God is that it is always tempered by all His attributes as God. Improper teaching or abuse of God’s sovereignty is men teach God’s sovereignty apart from Him being God. They begin to teach it almost as though God resembles them.
The believer will always err on a moderate position of God’s sovereignty because of God’s attributes tempering each and every attribute.

The Sovereignty of God - Defined

The Sovereignty of God
The sovereignty of God is simple to state. God who is sovereign can and may do anything that pleases him.. God can do anything he pleases because he has the ability to do so. God may do anything that pleases him because he has the authority to do so.
Psalm 115:2–3
2 Wherefore should the heathen say,
Where is now their God?
3 But our God is in the heavens:
He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
Psalm 135:5–6
5 For I know that the Lord is great,
And that our Lord is above all gods.
6 Whatsoever the Lord pleased,
That did he in heaven, and in earth,
In the seas, and all deep places.
Daniel 4:34–35
34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlaThissting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
Job 42:1–2
Then Job answered the Lord, and said,
2 I know that thou canst do every thing,
And that no thought can be withholden from thee.
God’s sovereignty is demanded, if in truth, He is God. To be less than sovereign would be to be less than God.
However, God’s sovereign acts are always tempered by His nature. Adherence to His stated nature is demanded, if in truth, He is God. Each attribute of God works in harmony with all other attributes of God.
Numbers 23:18–21
18 And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear;
Hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor:
19 God is not a man, that he should lie; Neither the son of man, that he should repent: Hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
20 Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; And I cannot reverse it.
21 He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, Neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: The Lord his God is with him, And the shout of a king is among them.
God although sovereign would not act contrary to his stated nature which would make him less than God and like man. Non-God-like behavior would impugn His nature. Although God is sovereign; He does not please to act in discord with his stated attributes as God.