Behold Our Sovereign God: All Things From Him, Through Him, and To Him

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Leah Wood Leah Wood. Offsider by Shayne P Carter. A Palace in Time by Abe Hollow. Abe Hollow writes understated bedroom-style indie rock, laying his gentle voice against muted guitars. This is foolish, to think that God could have a will and wouldn't be able to carry out that sovereign will because He was impotent, no power! But the third thing is this: He must be absolutely free. Now freedom is bandied about, it was the theme and the national anthem of the 60's and it still is today. Men want freedom, don't they? They want to be free from all restraints - and the sad thing is in their sinner-ship, when they look for that freedom they find that they bring themselves into more and more bondage to sin.

Freedom is hard for our minds to conceive and to imagine, because there is no absolute freedom in this universe - it just doesn't exist! God alone is all and absolutely free! Now, let's think about this: there is the expression 'as free as a bird', isn't there? And you know what that means, that a bird can just jump off a pinnacle and just float into the air and soar away. That bird is free!

But that statement 'as free is a bird' is foolish, and it's not an absolute statement because birds are not free! It's not true freedom at all, for that bird has instincts, that bird has fears that are built into it, that it will not run into danger, it'll fly away from predators, that bird has to be dictated to where it will go because of the weather - you'll not see the birds out in the rain and in the snow.

It's not absolutely free, it can't fly in air pressures that aren't suited to aviation, it can't go to a place where there is no food supply, it won't go there because it's not free - only God is free! That's what I want you to see, that in the natural realm, in our world all objects are dependent upon one another.

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This is a whole world - God has made it this way - of dependency. You can see it in the food chain, where we need our food - and there is that chain of the men eating the beasts, and the beasts eating the grass and so on. It goes round and round, and you can see the beasts free in the field, you can see me driving down the road free in my car - but we are not absolutely free, there are things that we are dependent upon, and if they are interfered with we will suffer.

Now, that's important to get that into our heads today: that we are not absolutely free. The only one that is free is the sovereign Almighty God! Now, why is it a problem to some to conceive of that? Well, of course, the obvious problem is that if God is all-sovereign, well that means they're not in control and they're not the final one to be answered to. Governments don't like you talking about the sovereignty of God, they laugh at it. Prime Ministers, and Presidents, and Kings, and Potentates don't entertain the idea - they want to believe that all authority rests with them! In every individual man and woman there is that little kingship of their own life, where they say: 'I will not have this Man to rule over me'.

It's the old problem of pride, isn't it? The mother of all sin. But we'll not deal with that for just a moment - I want to deal with what I believe to be the main problem: why people cannot, even Christians, accept the sovereignty of God. It is this: the presence of evil within our world. People ask the question: 'Why do the wicked flourish? Why is it that wicked people are getting on in the world, getting to the top of the world, yet the righteous are trodden under foot?

That leads to another question: has God got a part in men's sins? If God is sovereign and God is in control why does God let all these men do all these terrible things - has God ordained this in some perverse, strange way?

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You can understand those questions, can't you? The reason why we do understand those questions is we have minds like [that] ourselves. And we think of the Lord - and as the hymnwriter has said, as we've been singing: 'We judge the Lord in feeble sense'. Now, what we cannot do or allow ourselves to do, is deny what we have already established from the word of God because of the questions of men.

But what I want to do is bring some reasons why I believe that these are problems for people, concerning the sovereignty of God and the presence of evil. The first thing is this: often God's providences - and that's simply another way of describing His sovereignty - they seem to run contrary to His promises. Now, listen to that: God's providences, what God does and what God declares, at times in our lives seem to go against all that God is and all that God has said.

To put it in our language, we ask ourselves: 'This shouldn't be happening to me! I'm a Christian, why is God letting this go on my life? How can God let this happen? Now, if you'd let me I want you to cast your mind back to David - and you remember in the early stories of David when he was out in the field with the sheep, being a shepherd, and God was working with him and moulding him. Old Samuel came to his home and he anointed David King - after looking at all the rest of Jesse's sons, he then anointed the smallest one and the youngest one: David. He was anointed as King, and that was the providence of God, God had declared: 'This man shall be King'.

That was God's promise: 'David, you will be King' - but as the days, and the months, and the years went on we find that that promise, the providence of God seemed, in our eyes, to contradict it. What am I saying? I'm saying the promise of God was that David would be King, that he would have the crown - but we find Saul pursuing him, like a partridge over the mountains of the wilderness, ready to kill him. God's providence allowed that, God's providence permitted that - and there are times in our life that we have a promise from God, we read His word, we take it to our hearts, but everything that's around us seems to be going against that - but we need to realise today, if that's our situation, that there are times that that seems to be happening.

It seems that God's providence is running contrary to His promises, but that is not the case! It's not the case! If you think of Paul, remember in the book of Acts he was in the ship and God promised all the lives of those who were in the ship - but what began to happen? Imagine you as Paul, and God had given you this great promise, and then the ship starts to break up and you start to sink, and you think you're going to lose your life and the rest of the crew - yet every single one of them, God had promised they would be saved.

It seemed that God's providence was running against God's promise, but what do we read? We read that in the broken pieces of that boat every single one of those lives was brought to shore. That's the sovereignty of God! It may seem in our lives that things are running against God's promises and God's ways, but God overrules, God is sovereign, God is in control - and if your life's boat is broken in pieces, listen, this is God's message to you as you go into a new year: you can float ashore even on those pieces! God's promises will not be overruled.

Secondly, another reason why people find this difficult is because the way that we take in life can be bitter and it can be sweet mixed together. We wonder: 'How can we have bitter things in our life? How can God allow bitter things and odd things to happen when He only wants good for us? It's like a chessboard, black-and-white, and our way from one end to the other seems to be chequered. And we know that hell, where the damned reside, is a place of bitterness; we know that heaven is a place of sweetness - but we also know, all too well, that earth on which we live is mixed with both sweetness and bitterness.

It's like the rod and the manna that were in the Ark of God, the rod was for discipline and for leading, and the manna was for being fed - and it's like our earthly pilgrimage along the wilderness, that it's this mixture of bitter and sweet. But you must see, as David saw in the Psalms: 'I will sing of mercy and of judgement' - mercy and judgement! God overrules my life, no matter what is happening, God is in control - and like Joseph, even though he was sold into slavery, even though he was put into prison for a crime he didn't commit, even though he was down there in that dungeon and those that had promised him things reneged in their promise, this was said of him: 'But God was with him'!

That's it! Even when the providence of God seems, in our feeble sense, to go against His will - God is in control! Thirdly, one of the reasons why people have problems is this, as Thomas Watson the puritan said: 'God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick'. God can do anything, God can bring all things according to the counsel of His own will. What I mean is this: something that is evil from the hand of a sinful man, at the same time can be good from the hand of God.

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Now that baffles - don't ask me to explain that, because I can't explain it - but something that can be meant and motivated from the hand of a man for evil, God at the same time can be motivating it from His hand for good. That's powerful, but that is our sovereign God! Remember Joseph? His old brothers were envious, weren't they? They were jealous of the father's love and they sold him, they put him down a pit, and he went to prison - as I said - and got into all sorts of problems.

But what was the sovereign will of God, what was His invisible hand behind it all? He knew that there was a famine coming, he knew that the people of Israel and all Israel, Jacob's family, needed to be fed - and at the end of the day what did He want to do? He wanted to get all that family up into Egypt. Isn't that amazing? From the evil hands of Joseph's brothers, God was able - and God intended, and God ordained the good of the children of Israel. Remember Shimei's cursing of David? Remember he cursed him up and down?

It was evil and it was wicked, and it was a terrible sinful thing to do, it came out of a heart of malice against David - but at the end of the day God ordained that cursing to be used to humble David for his adultery and for his murder. And at the end of the day, we look to Calvary, we look to the Lord Jesus Christ - and wicked men, murderous men took Him, and hung Him, and put Him to death humanly speaking, Judas sold Him and betrayed Him - yet we are given redemption by His blood. Isn't that wonderful? Isn't that wonderful, the sovereign God that we have - and we can look at our lives, and it's like looking into a smith's workshop, isn't it?

And you look into the smith's workshop, and you see tools that are hooked - horrible things, horrid things, evil things, painful looking instruments whereby he does his work. But when we see the finished article, it's beautiful. Do you know why it's beautiful? Because of the master's hand.

That is the sovereign God! That is my God! That is the God we worship, a God who is in control - and the reason why He permits evil in this world, and the answer to the world's question - they're shouting it so loud that they can't hear God giving the answer. Why doesn't He take control?

Why doesn't He overrule the evil in the world that exists? Get A Copy.

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Paperback , pages. More Details Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Behold Our Sovereign God , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Behold Our Sovereign God. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Feb 14, Brian Pate rated it really liked it Shelves: Is your view of God too small?

Dec 31, Sean rated it liked it. This is a challenging doctrine from which many Christian churches shied away during the last century.

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  6. Fortunately, the work of the "young Calvinists" e. John Piper, Tim Keller, Sovereign Grace Ministries etc etc has revived discussion of this crucial doctrine for a new generation of North American believers. Mitchell Chase's book is not lengthy or obscure. He personalizes the subject of sovere "Behold our Sovereign God" is a brief yet readable exposition of the doctrine of divine sovereignty. He personalizes the subject of sovereignty by sharing his difficulties at reconciling his faith with this doctrine.

    Chase then asserts that the usual complaints about God's sovereignty - "why does God allow evil? Critically, Chase challenges our difficulty with the existence of evil by linking it to the central point of human existence - the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the ultimate atonement for man's sins. A Cross-centered consideration of evil does not lessen the deep sadness and tragedy present in our lives, of course, but at least it helps us to reconcile their existence with a truly loving God.

    I look forward to digging into them. I also appreciate that Chase shows how many of the common objections to predestination were already anticipated by Paul in his epistles. Contrary to what people might assume in Internet debates, the Fathers of the Church were well aware of the various difficulties and mysteries of the Christian faith a long time ago.

    Overall I recommend the work to Christians and Christian-friendly readers. Nonchristians will likely not appreciate the book, as it presupposes you already are a Christian who is looking to deepen his understanding of difficult doctrines. It is not an apologetical work directed at nonbelievers. Jan 25, Jeff Short rated it really liked it Shelves: doctrine. Excellent book. This book is the culmination of the study of God's sovereignty over the previous ten years of the author's life.

    It is brief, particularly considering the topic, and very readable. The subject is vast and Chase doesn't offer extensive, in-depth argumentation. I think that is a good thing in this case. He does touch on all the major categories of questions and difficulties and provides good, biblical answers. The strength of this book is that it will serve well to introduce someon Excellent book. The strength of this book is that it will serve well to introduce someone to the sovereignty of God or to help someone who has recently begun wrestling with this hard-to-comprehend truth.

    Every Christian needs to take this topic seriously and to humbly search the Scriptures for God's revealed truth.