Musings on Sovereignty 3

The late deservedly celebrated Dr. Young, though he affected great opposition to some of the doctrines called Calvinistic, was yet compelled, by the force of truth, to acknowledge that “there is not a fly but has had infinite wisdom concerned not only in its structure, but in its destination.” Nor did the late learned and excellent Bishop Hopkins go a jot too far in asserting as follows: “A sparrow, whose price is but mean, two of them valued at a farthing (which some make to be the tenth part of a Roman penny, and was certainly one of their least coins), and whose life, therefore, is but contemptible, and whose flight seems giddy and at random; yet it falls not to the ground, neither lights anywhere, without your Father. His all-wise Providence hath before appointed what bough it shall pitch on, what grains it shall pick up, where it shall lodge, and where it shall build; on what it shall live, and where it shall die.” Our Savior adds, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. God keeps an account even of that stringy excrescence. Do you see a thousand little motes and atoms wondering up and down in a sun-beam? It is God that so peoples it, and He guides their innumerable and irregular strayings. Not a dust flies in a beaten road but God raiseth it, conducts its uncertain motion, and, by His particular care, conveys it to the certain place He had before appointed for it; nor shall the most fierce and tempestuous wind hurry it any further. Nothing comes to pass but God hath His ends in it, and will certainly make His own ends out of it. Though the world seems to run at random, and affairs to be huddled together in blind confusion, and rude disorder, yet, God sees and knows the concatenation of all causes and effects, and so governs them that He makes a perfect harmony out of all those seeming jarrings and discords. It is most necessary that we should have our hearts well established in the firm and unwavering belief of this truth, that whatsoever comes to pass, be it good or evil, we may look up to the hand and disposal of all, to God. In respect of God, there is nothing causal nor contingent in the world.       Augustus Toplady

It may be that the word “sovereignty” does not communicate what it used to. The fact that God is sovereign does not mean that He rules at a distance and controls the big things or controls things when He is pleased to do so, but that from all eternity He has ruled over the smallest of details and will do so for all eternity future. Not the smallest thing can escape Him as He is in full control of it and it can not move or do anything that He is not in full control of. Nothing can happen apart from His plan and apart from His permissive will. Even more, nothing can happen apart from His concurrence with it and apart from His giving energy to the movement of His creatures. The presence of God is simply everywhere and as such nothing can happen apart from His wisdom and His power. While many want to protect God from such control since there is so much evil, God does not need our help. He is and always will be sovereign.

When we think of the thinking of Bishop Hopkins on the sparrow, it brings our thinking closer to where it should be. There is nothing that the sparrow can do but go according to the will of God for it. While the sparrow is nothing or less than nothing in our way of thinking, yet it is under the supreme Ruler and His sovereign care and guidance for it as it carries out His sovereign plan for it. In the sovereign care and plan of God, that little sparrow and all little sparrows have branches planned from them to rest on and food planned for them to eat. God has planned lodging for them and has it planned where they will build a nest. He has planned where it will live and how long it will live. He has also planned the precise moment it will die and how it will die. The Lord God omnipotent reigns and He reigns over all things at all moments and in all places.

When we turn to think of the children of God, it is no small thing to recognize that the very hairs of all men are numbered regardless of how much hair they have and regardless of how curly or knotted it is. In terms of His particular sovereignty over each of His children, we must bow in utter humility and reverence before Him. He is perfectly in control of each aspect of our being, even to each blood cell and each subatomic particle our bodies are made of. Our every breath is in His hand and apart from Him we could not lift and drop our arms. Our chief and really only real business is to deal with the living God. We are in His hands to do with as He pleases as the clay is in the hands of the potter to do with as the potter pleases. Apart from Christ we can do absolutely and utterly nothing spiritual or good, which means we must receive it from Him first. The glory is His and His alone and when man tries to stick his so-called ability and freeness in then man is intruding upon the very nature of God. God will be God, so we must seek Him to give us hearts to bow to the supreme glory of His sovereign rule.

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