The Sovereignty of God - L.R. Shelton n.d. [Voice of Truth #408]
When we speak of the Sovereignty of God, we mean God exercising His supremacy. We mean that God is elevated infinitely above the highest creature, and that He is the Most High, Lord of Heaven and earth. When we speak of the Sovereignty of God, we mean that God is subject to none, influenced by none and is absolutely independent, that He does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases, and none can thwart Him, and none can hinder Him. He is absolute Sovereign. According to Isa. 46:10, He says, "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." Then He says again in Dan. 4:35, "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?"
When we speak of the Sovereignty of God, we mean that God is God in fact, in name, and that He is on His throne, the throne of the universe, and, according to Eph.1:11, He "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" as it pleases Him. The Sovereignty of God means that He does not take man into His counsel, or consult man about what He does, but that He is supreme Monarch and absolute Despot.
The Sovereignty of God was once understood and believed by the churches and the ministry, but today you very seldom, if ever, hear the phrase used in the pulpit, or see it in print in religious literature. Not long ago I received a periodical from one of our religious leaders of the South. In his writing he said, "God is not the only one who is sovereign, but man is also sovereign." Now, my friend, that is a misstatement; it is not a statement of fact. There cannot be two voices of authority in the universe; there cannot! Either man is sovereign which makes God subject to man, or God is sovereign and man is a servant of God. My friend, man is not sovereign; God is sovereign.
The Doctrine of the Sovereignty of God is the basic doctrine, or the foundation doctrine, of all the teachings of God's Word. All other teachings of the Word of God have for their foundation the Sovereignty of God. That's right. Name them. The Doctrine of Election is based upon God's Sovereignty. The Doctrine of Election is the foundation of the Doctrine of Blood Redemption. You cannot change that thing. All other doctrines in the Scriptures have the Sovereignty of God for their foundation.
When we speak of the Sovereignty of God, we mean the Supremacy of God, we mean the Kingship of God, we mean the Godhead of God, and according to Psa. 115:3 we mean that God is on the throne in Heaven and does whatsoever He pleases.
When we speak of the Sovereignty of God, we mean, according to Psa. 22:28, that God is "the governor among the nations," and that God sets up kingdoms, overthrows kingdoms, and determines the course of every nation. According to 1 Tim. 6:15, He is "the only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords."
When we speak of the Sovereignty of God, we find according to God's Word that He is absolute, irresistible and infinite; we affirm by the Word of God that He has the right to govern the universe which He has made for His glory, and do it as He pleases. We find that He has set the bounds beyond which no man can pass.
When we speak of the Sovereignty of God, we affirm according to God's Word in Rom. 9:20-22 that He has the right (as a potter over the clay) to fashion every individual as He chooses, whether to honor or to dishonor; He has a right to dispose of His creatures as He pleases in Heaven or Hell. Who is man that he should speak against his Maker! God is sovereign and on the throne as the Despot of the universe. And let me say here, every individual who is ever saved comes to recognize the Sovereignty of God. You are brought to the place where you sign your own death warrant, and you stand before God for Him to cast you into Hell or to save you as He pleases. You are at His disposal: He can save you or damn you. Now that is not the "god" of the average pulpit today. The "god?' of the twentieth century is a helpless, effeminate being whom man can push around and bully as he pleases. The "god" of the twentieth century pulpit is an object of pity rather than the God on the throne, who inspires reverence and obedience in His creatures. The "god" of the twentieth century pulpit is a disappointed, dissatisfied and defeated being.
The God of the Bible is sovereign, on the throne, doing as He pleases and directing the universe according to a set plan and purpose to a given end for His own glory, regardless of what man may think of Him. Man is as a grasshopper in the sight of God (Isa. 40:22); he is a worm in the dust (Isa. 4l:l4). When man pits his will against the will of the Almighty, it is laughable if it were not so tragical.
Let me say this, there is no attribute of God more comforting to God's child than that of the Sovereignty of God. To me the Sovereignty of God means that under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, the Sovereignty of God has ordained my afflictions, and the Sovereignty of God overrules them, and the Sovereignty of God will sanctify everything that touches my heart and life. I believe and accept God on the throne as the Master and Lord over all His creation and the Governor of all His creatures, and I accept His right to sit upon the throne.
On the other hand, the Sovereignty of God is the doctrine most hated by the world and unsaved religionists, and especially those of the pulpit. No doctrine of God's Word has been kicked around like a football more than has the Doctrine of the Sovereignty of God.
Now, let me say this and say it frankly -- men will allow God to be everywhere except upon the throne as Sovereign. They will allow Him to be in His workshop fashioning worlds, speaking planets into existence. They will allow Him to be in His treasury dispensing gifts to the needy; they will allow Him to hold the earth and the other planets of the universe in their places by the Word of His power. They will allow Him to rule the waves of the ocean; but the very moment God ascends to His throne, unsaved religionists everywhere will gnash their teeth and fly into God's face because they are not willing to bow in dust and ashes of repentance and own Him as Lord of lords and King of kings. But, my friend, it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon the throne whom we trust. We fall at His feet crying, "My Lord, and my God!" Thank God for His Sovereignty.
When we speak of the Sovereignty of God, we mean that He is sovereign in the manifestation, or the exercise, of His power. We read in God's Word, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18). We read again, "Power belongeth unto God" (Psa. 62:11). This means that God manifests His power as He wills, when He wills and where He wills. We see this fact written throughout the entire Word of God, and when He puts forth His power it is irresistible. No man can stand before Him.
Take, for example, Pharaoh who tried to hinder Israel from going forth from Egypt to worship Jehovah -- God manifested His power, His people were delivered, and their enemies slain. Then, on the other hand, when the Amalekites dared to make war with Israel for the purpose of destroying them, we see that God did not manifest His power in their destruction, but said He would "have war with Amalek from generation to generation" (Ex. 17:l6).
Then, when the Israelites faced the Red Sea, God stretched forth His hand, the waters divided and congealed, and the Israelites marched over on dry ground. Then, in the wilderness His power was manifested, when He fed them for forty years with manna from Heaven, brought forth water from the rock, caused the Jordan river to be divided and the walls of Jericho to fall down at His command. But, on the other hand, God never manifested His power in the overthrow of any other city after this manner. The Israelites had to take every other city by force in battle array.