I ended my last blog by saying that nothing happens by accident. God is not only sovereign, but he is meticulously sovereign. By that I meant that he not only controls the large, macro events, but that he is meticulously in charge of all things.
This view of things is difficult for many people to accept. For one, they wonder that if this is true, would that not make God the author of evil?
And yet, the Bible continually emphasizes that God not only rules when things are good, but he also rules when it seems that evil has its way. Consider but three scriptures on this matter. Amos 3:6 says,
“Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?”
“I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.”
And Lamentations 3:37-38 says,
“Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?”
A great many people are deeply troubled by these verses. Reading them alongside of the current tragedy in Ukraine, at least in their view, makes God the author of atrocity. But is the belief in the meticulous sovereignty of God troublesome? I think not.
First, let’s acknowledge that God controls the evil that is done. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph tells his brothers that they intended it for evil, but God intended it for good. In Exodus 4:21, we are told that God hardened Pharoah’s heart, so that he would not let Israel go. In Exodus 9:16, we are told that God raised up Pharoah, to show his power in him. In Joshua 11:20, we are told that it was the LORD’s doing to harden the hearts of the Canaanites, so that Israel would utterly destroy them in battle. After David’s sin, 2 Samuel 12:11-12 tells us that God would raise evil up in David’s house. In 1 Kings 22:23, we are told that God would put a lying spirit into the mouths of the false prophets. In Habakkuk 1:12, we read that God ordained that the wicked nation of Babylon to mete out punishment on unrighteous Judah. The examples go on and on.
Second, lets acknowledge that God actively works to restrain evil. We find multiple examples in scripture of just that. The account of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11; God restrains the wickedness of a human super-society and scatters them in order to limit their power. God is still restraining evil in a multitude of ways today.
Third, let’s acknowledge that God has reasons for withdrawing his restraining hand at certain times. During these times, God allows evil a fuller and more robust expression than at other times. Armies go to war, and God does not restrain them. Or human corruption becomes oppressive, and God actively decides not to restrain it.
Finally, let’s acknowledge that God does so, to allow us to see that the great choice that lies before us, is nothing less than heaven and hell. What should occur if God should restrain his hand? And furthermore, should we not be crying to God for mercy? And ultimately, is this not evidence that we cannot rely on the arm of the flesh? What folly to believe that goodness is to be found anywhere else but in God.
God is meticulous in his care of all things. The wicked things that happen remind us what life is like when it is devoid of his mercy. God, in his grace, has allowed us to see a glimpse of life lived without dependence on him.
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