By Joseph Diop
Copyright © 2017 by Joseph Diop
Nothing captures the truth of the sovereignty of God for me, quite like the memory of this scene from the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy’s little dog, Toto, had just pulled back the curtain and revealed this man, the wizard, putting on this spectacular display with his great machine. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to wizard, Dorothy and company look on, getting their first surprising glimpse at the workings behind the scenes. After this shocking revelation, Dorothy and company are on their way to having all their respective dreams and desires come true. They have seen and met the One in charge.
Like the wizard, God is really the One behind the curtain of life, flipping all the switches, throwing all the levers, pushing all the buttons, and pulling all the strings. He is the Grand Conductor who is scoring and directing the whole, dramatic symphony of life. Make no mistake, He’s the One who is Large-and-in-Charge. And, coming to be acquainted with the reality of this fact on a very real, personal, and autobiographical level, is the stuff and substance of life. We are commanded to pursue the knowledge of God, until the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about Him remains in our minds.
I well remember, about 1990, my wife had a faith crisis. The dichotomy and seeming contradictions of our Christian belief system became too much for her to bear. Then, she announced, “I can’t go on any further with you, Lord. You are supposed to be in charge of the universe. Yet, it seems like the devil is getting away with so much. It seems like he’s running through and just having his way. I can’t go on any further with you, until you clear this up for me.” After that pronouncement, came a time of personal, direct, divine revelation. She came out of that crisis of faith, with what was the substance of a whole new level of understanding and knowledge of God. That was when she made the resolute pronouncement, “EVERYTHING is moving by the power of God.” What that confession encompassed was a summary understanding of the whole doctrine of the sovereignty of God. God had made his daughter understand that He was God “all by Himself.” Nothing that happens is left to the whim and devices of Satan. God IS in charge, when we like it and when we don’t!!
Beloved, we don’t live in a divided universe. Neither is God a schizophrenic God. There is really NOT a battle between good and evil, except in our own finite minds. Satan is just a servant of God, like me and you. He is a wicked servant, but he’s still only nothing more than a servant. He’s just a role player in life. He can’t even get into the game, unless God calls his number. He’s just an errand boy of the Lord’s – a flunky, a pawn, a mere menial worker – destined to be “fired.” Sometimes, he’s a messenger of God’s displeasure, dealing out negative consequences to those who defy Him. Sometimes, he’s a drill sergeant, putting the children of God through various training exercises to get us ready to be fit soldiers for Christ. Sometimes, he’s an inspector helping to prove who is doing their duty to God and who is not. But, God moves the devil like he moves everyone and everything else in his universe. Because, in fact, he is not God, and certainly is no competition for God. The Apostle John is credited with having said, “The Devil is just God’s feeble left hand.”
God is the One making this grand, awesome, and mysterious display we call life. He has divided life up into chronological divisions, episodes, or theatrical acts known in theology as dispensations. Yes, this is the hard-to-fathom God, who bids us all to seek him (Psalm 27:8; Jer 29:13). Even after we become born-again Christians who know him in spirit, we are still on the path to get to know Him fully. Apostle Peter says, “As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby… But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (1Pet 2:2; 2Pet 3:18). So, acquiring the knowledge of God is like so many other things in this faith. It is now already, but also not yet. It’s a done deal, but also is still in the making. It’s a finished work, but yet is an ongoing process. And, the tension you feel inside your spirit, tells you that you can’t abandon the seeking, until that tension goes away – until it is swallowed up in the harmony and wholeness of God’s holiness, presence, and peace.
So, at this point, let us let the Word of God speak directly for itself a bit.
5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me…
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.
7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.
1 Samuel 2:6-8
6 “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. 7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. 8 He raises the poor from the dust. And, lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. “For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set the world upon them.
39 See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
Now, I have only cited a mere three passages out an entire Bible of such statements. The whole of the Bible’s account is telling us exactly this same thing. And, the most explicit declarations like this, comprise the chorus of the story that is repeatedly and consistently confirmed. God really wants us to know that He is running the show we call life – Him and Him alone.
But now finally, let me deal with a very popular heresy – a misconception so popular that even real, sincere Christians subscribe to it. It is the idea that after Jesus came, God changed his tactics. As the heresy goes, in the Old Testament, God was a very sever God of judgment and wrath. But, in the New Testament era, God has relented. Now, He is only dealing with the world through the mercies of Jesus Christ, a deity with a kinder, gentler spirit. Lie of lies, falsehood of falsehood, and error of errors!!! God does not change. God is the same, and Jesus Christ (God in flesh) does not change (Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8). Jesus is only “The [express] image of the invisible God” ([Heb 1:3]; Col 1:15).
The grand finale of history is all laid out in the Book of Revelation. There, we see God settling up the score of man’s deeds, and dishing out blessed rewards and dreadful punishments. God through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior, is directing a holy ceremony of judgment, featuring seven holy angels who assist Him – holy angels, mind you. Here, the seven holy angels blow seven trumpets, and pour out seven bowls of wrath. Jesus directs the whole thing. So, in its time, Jesus is the very One who executes “the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev 19:15). And, quite explicitly, Jesus is the one who deals out chastening, scourging, and negative consequences, even to believing Christians in this life – here and now. Read the inspired, inerrant, undisputed truth, and be advised. All these are words spoken directly to the seven (7) churches – representing the spirit of the Lord’s people throughout all ages – by the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
Revelation 2:1-7, Ephesus
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and REPENT, and do the first works; OR ELSE…
Revelation 2:12-17, Pergamos
12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; 16 REPENT; OR ELSE…
Revelation 2:18-29, Thyatira
18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; 22 Behold, I will cast [Jezebel] into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, UNLESS THEY REPENT of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the minds and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Revelation 3:1-6, Sardis
1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write… 3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and REPENT. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief…
Revelation 3:14-22, Laodicea
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and REPENT.
16 [OR ELSE]… I will spit you out of my mouth.
With those solemn warnings for everyone who would grow weary of the pursuit, or take for granted God’s goodness, or presume upon his grace, let us press on. Let us keep trying to see clearly the face of our God. When we see God’s face clearly, then all our problems will be resolved, and all our desires shall be granted. As Apostle Paul put it, let us “press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.” Philippians 3:14 AMPC
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