The way it looks to me, the American empire is in its twilight years. Our civilization is imploding politically, socially, and economically. The handwriting is on the wall: “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin,“
When King Balshazzar saw that hand writing on the wall in Daniel 5… “The king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.”
The prideful king had taken sacred vessels from the Jewish temple and desecrated them; he “drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.”
“Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.”
God weighed Balshazzar and his kingdom in the balance, and he was found wanting. That was the end of Balshazzar and the Neo-Babylonian empire. Next up, Cyrus the Great and the Persian empire. That was some 2,500 years ago. I can give you the history of the world in four words: Empires rise and fall.
America has become something akin to the Babylonian empire. As a nation, we have profaned God’s law and desecrated the sacred. Biblically-based righteousness, which was once universally respected and protected by our laws has now been soundly rejected by our nation’s leading institutions. Rebellious depravity now reigns under the protection of law. Such a situation begs God’s judgement on the nation.
Now, mind you, I could be totally wrong. I’m not a prophet. The fact of the matter is that God does as He pleases, and it may please Him to ordain a revival of righteousness in this land before He lets us self-destruct. God’s grace and mercy may bring us back from the brink. Grace is, you may recall, getting something you don’t deserve, while mercy is not getting something you do deserve.
Whatever the final outcome, I think it’s safe to say that Americans are in for a rocky ride. We may, figuratively speaking (if not literally), find our knees smoting one against another in the days ahead. And that brings me to the most comforting doctrine of the Christian faith, which is the sovereignty of God.
Many years ago I read, The Sovereignty of God, by A.W. Pink. It is a remarkable book. I keep it by my bedside and read from it often. This excerpt serves to introduce the basic Christian doctrine of the sovereignty of God…
The Sovereignty of God is an expression that once was generally understood. It was a phrase commonly used in religious literature. It was a theme frequently expounded in the pulpit. It was a truth which brought comfort to many hearts, and gave virility and stability to Christian character. But, today, to make mention of God’s Sovereignty is, in many quarters, to speak in an unknown tongue. Were we to announce from the average pulpit that the subject of our discourse would be the Sovereignty of God, it would sound very much as though we had borrowed a phrase from one of the dead languages. Alas! that it should be so. Alas! that the doctrine which is the key to history, the interpreter of Providence, the warp and woof of Scripture, and the foundation of Christian theology should be so sadly neglected and so little understood. The Sovereignty of God. What do we mean by this expression? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the god-hood of God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Psa. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible.
A.W. Pink wrote The Sovereignty of God during the chaos of World War 1. Turmoil and uncertainty were on everyone’s minds…
Without a doubt a world-crisis is at hand, and everywhere men are alarmed. But God is not! He is never taken by surprise. It is no unexpected emergency which now confronts Him, for He is the One who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11). Hence, though the world is panic-stricken, the word to the believer is, “Fear not!” “All things” are subject to His immediate control: “all things” are moving in accord with His eternal purpose, and therefore “all things” are “working together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” It must be so, for “of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). Yet how little is this realised today even by the people of God! Many suppose that He is little more than a far-distant Spectator, taking no immediate hand in the affairs of earth. It is true that man is endowed with power, but God is all-powerful. It is true that, speaking generally, the material world is regulated by law, but behind that law is the law-Giver and law-Administrator. Man is but the creature. God is the Creator, and endless ages before man first saw the light “the mighty God” (Isa. 9:6) existed, and ere the world was founded, made His plans; and being infinite in power and man only finite, His purpose and plan cannot be withstood or thwarted by the creatures of His own hands.
Another pertinent excerpt…
Who is regulating affairs on this earth today-God, or the Devil? What saith the Scriptures? If we believe their plain and positive declarations, no room is left for uncertainty. They affirm, again and again, that God is on the throne of the universe; that the sceptre is in His hands; that He is directing all things “after the counsel of His own will.” They affirm, not only that God created all things, but also that God is ruling and reigning over all the works of His hands. They affirm that God is the “Almighty,” that His will is irreversible, that He is absolute Sovereign in every realm of all His vast dominions. And surely it must be so. Only two alternatives are possible: God must either rule, or be ruled; sway, or be swayed; accomplish His own will, or be thwarted by His creatures. Accepting the fact that He is the “Most High,” the only Potentate and King of kings, vested with perfect wisdom and illimitable power, and the conclusion is irresistible that He must be God in fact as well as in name.
The sovereignty of God is the foundational doctrine of the Christian faith. When properly understood and fully embraced, it brings a soul-deep peace to believers in the midst of personal suffering and societal chaos. It has been one of the calming balms of Christian martyrs down through history. It is a doctrine well worth meditating on.
Here is the fundamental difference between the man of faith and the man of unbelief. The unbeliever is “of the world,” judges everything by worldly standards, views life from the standpoint of time and sense, and weighs everything in the balances of his own carnal making. But the man of faith brings in God, looks at everything from His standpoint, estimates values by spiritual standards, and views life in the light of eternity. Doing this, he receives whatever comes as from the hand of God. Doing this, his heart is calm in the midst of the storm. Doing this, he “rejoices in hope of the glory of God.”
A.W. Pink’s writings are shunned by many evangelicals. He is labeled a “hyper-Calvanist,” Well, call him what you will. Pink certainly did believe in the absolute sovereignty of God. Personally, when it comes to my own doctrinal belief about the extent of God’s sovereignty, I’m with Pink. But it’s not something I care to debate. The doctrine has been debated by people far smarter than I for centuries. I think this old adage applies… “In the essentials, unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”
Here’s more from A.W…..
Sovereignty characterizes the whole Being of God. He is Sovereign in all His attributes. He is Sovereign in the exercise of His power. His power is exercised as He wills, when He wills, where He wills. This fact is evidenced on every page of Scripture.
Learn then this basic truth, that the Creator is absolute Sovereign, executing His own will, performing His own pleasure, and considering nought but His own glory. “The LORD hath made all things FOR HIMSELF” (Prov. 16:4). And had He not a perfect right to? Since God is God, who dare challenge His prerogative? To murmur against Him is rank rebellion. To question His ways is to impugn His wisdom. To criticize Him is sin of the deepest dye. Have we forgotten who He is? Behold, “All nations before Him as are nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity.
The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. His government is exercised over inanimate matter, over the brute beasts, over the children of men, over angels good and evil, and over Satan himself. No revolving world, no shining of star, no storm, no creature moves, no actions of men, no errands of angels, no deeds of Devil-nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed. Here is a foundation of faith. Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil, but the Lord Almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, the words of A.W. Pink that I’ve shared here have resonated with you. The full reality of God’s sovereign control over His creation should encourage you greatly in the midst of life’s personal hardships and the world’s troubles.
In the final analysis, our lives are not ours to do as we please with. We live to serve our King. It’s not about us. It’s about Him. When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in Luke 11, he said: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…”
How often do Christians pray that God’s will be done here on earth? It is more often that we pray for what we want to happen. We prefer that our will be carried out by our sovereign God. But it doesn’t work that way.
So it is that God, the almighty sovereign that He is, will do as He pleases for His own good purposes. And we can rest assured that nothing happens that is not part of his sovereign, providential orchestrations.
That being the case, our responsibility as sons and daughters of the Most High God is to do what we have been instructed to do in scripture, regardless of civilizational chaos and possible collapse… That is, to be obedient to His leading. To pursue holiness. To do battle daily against our own sinful natures. To think and act in ways that are pleasing in God’s sight. To choose wisdom over foolishness. To bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ by our attitudes and actions. To pray without ceasing. In short, to play our part in history (His story) well.
Most Christians throughout history have done this by living simple, quiet lives. That is, in fact, what the Apostle Paul instructed 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12…
“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
There you have it. The most comforting doctrine for Christians is the sovereignty of God. He is in control. Nothing happens outside of His ordained will. Perhaps civilizational collapse is part of His plan for America, along with economic depression, and Marxist Revolutionary takeover. It could get bad. Real bad. Or maybe it won’t. I sure don’t know. Whatever happens, it will, in the sovereign plans of God Almighty, serve His higher purposes. I’m okay with that.
I’m okay with that because, in part, as a follower of Jesus, I have God’s promise in the midst of any difficulty. The promise is that He will never leave or forsake His people. No matter how difficult life might get, God gives His children the grace to endure to the end. Knowing this, we can run the race He has set before us with patience (Hebrews 12) and we have the same hope of eternity; the joy that was set before Jesus as he endured the cross; when he played his part in God’s sovereign plan of redemption.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you”Deuteronomy 31:6
I will leave you with one last bible verse. King David was well aware of the sovereignity of God when he dedicated the Temple in 1 Chronicles, Chapter 29…
Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.