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God is Sovereign, Part 2
Characteristics of God, God is Sovereign
What Does God Rule Over?
Everyone has their own kingdom that they rule over. For some, it’s just their own little family and home. Or maybe for you, it’s just yourself. For some, it may be a business or organization. For others, it might be a state or country. For God, it’s everything.
Psalm 103:19: The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Last week, we looked at the idea of God as King. God sits on his throne and rules over his kingdom. That kingdom is eternal and is characterized by righteousness, joy, and power. This week, we’ll look in more depth at what God rules over in his kingdom.
God Rules Over Creation
As the Creator and Sovereign King, God rules over all of creation. He created it, and he makes sure it keeps running exactly the way he intended. This ranges from changing the seasons to growing plants and providing for animals. He even controls the weather. God owns everything in all creation and is King over it all.
Deuteronomy 10:14: To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.
Psalm 24:1-2: 1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
Acts 17:24-25: 24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.”
Colossians 1:16-17: 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
God’s rule over creation starts with the act of creation itself. God spoke every single part of creation into existence. Therefore, every part of creation is under his command. You can read about this in Genesis 1 or in the Bible Essentials lesson on Genesis 1.
Once he got creation started, he gave man charge over the plants and animals (Genesis 1), but the ultimate responsibility for life and death of all living creatures is in God’s hands.
Job 12:7-10: 7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
9 Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.
In addition to anything with life, God also rules over the sun and the moon, the seasons and the weather.
Nehemiah 9:6: You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.
Daniel 2:21: He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
Leviticus 26:4: I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.
Isaiah 30:23: He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows.
Zechariah 10:1: Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime;
it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms.
He gives showers of rain to all people,
and plants of the field to everyone.
He even controls the hydrosphere (the total volume of water on earth, as well as the cycling among the different parts of the hydrosphere, like the oceans, the surface water, and the atmosphere).
Jeremiah 5:22: Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord.
“Should you not tremble in my presence?
I made the sand a boundary for the sea,
an everlasting barrier it cannot cross.
The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail;
they may roar, but they cannot cross it.
Job 12:15: If he holds back the waters, there is drought;
if he lets them loose, they devastate the land.
Job 38:37-38: 37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together?
In Job 38, God is asking Job rhetorical questions, with the assumption that only God has the wisdom and power to do those things.
To get a sense for the scope of God’s rule over creation, I encourage you to read Psalm 104. It’s fairly long, so I won’t include it here, but it’s worth reading. It touches on many points that we’ve discussed in this section.
God Rules Over People
Along with the rest of creation, God rules over people, the greatest of all his creation. Similar to what we saw with the rest of creation, God holds life and death of humans in his hands.
Job 33:4: The Spirit of God has made me;
the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Job 14:5: A person’s days are determined;
you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed.
Acts 17:25-26: 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.
Psalm 139:16: Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Along this same line, God has power over disease and sickness. This one can be hard for us to understand because we see so many people who are sick who aren’t healed, no matter how hard we pray and believe. But we also have to remember that the introduction of sin into our world also brought death, and death often results from disease and sickness.
Exodus 15:26: He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
Psalm 41:3: The Lord sustains them on their sickbed
and restores them from their bed of illness.
Matthew 4:23: Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
In his rule over people, God has a hand over all history. On a large scale, he sets up kings and rulers and thus guides the course of history for countries and nations.
Romans 13:1: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Daniel 2:21: He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
Isaiah 40:22-23: 22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
Psalm 33:10-11: 10 The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
11 But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.
God even guides the migration of people from one place to another!
Genesis 11:8-9: 8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
Exodus 13:17-18: 17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
On a smaller scale, God guides the lives of each individual person.
Job 42:1-2: 1 Then Job replied to the Lord:
2 “I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
Proverbs 16:9: In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.
Proverbs 19:21: Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
James 4:13-15: 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
We often think of God using his people for his good, but God even uses the wicked to carry out his purposes.
Proverbs 16:4: The Lord works out everything to its proper end—
even the wicked for a day of disaster.
These verses show us that God has control over all aspects of the lives of humans—life and death, health and disease, rulers and migrations, even down to the plans for the life of an individual person. God rules them all.
God Rules Over Satan
Not only does God have control over creation and people, he has control over all beings—even Satan. Satan was once an angel in heaven, and he determined that he was going to be as great as God. Because of this, he was cast out of heaven to earth.
Isaiah 14:12-15: 12 How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
to the depths of the pit.
Revelation 12:7-12: 7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Satan was given freedom to roam the earth and persuade it for evil. But even in Satan’s freedom to cause evil on the earth, he still has to have permission from God to carry out his plans, as we see with the life of Job. I have verses from Job 1 here, but the story goes on in Job 2.
Job 1:6-12: 6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
In the end, the Bible tells us that God will conquer Satan, sin, and death for all eternity, and Satan and all his followers will be cast into hell forever.
1 Corinthians 15:24-26: 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Hebrews 2:14-15: 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Revelation 19:19-20: 19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
Revelation 20:10: And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Satan tried to take over as ruler of everything, but God put Satan in his place. God allowed Satan to roam the earth for a while and persuade it for evil, but in the end, Satan will be destroyed. Because no matter what, God still reigns.
As a human, sometimes I want to believe that I’m in control of my own life. And I am to some extent. But it’s also nice to know that no matter what choice I make, God ultimately holds everything in his hands, including my life. No matter what I do, God’s plan will prevail. I know that God’s plan is the one where ultimately good wins over evil in the end.
Come back next week to read part 3 of this lesson. We’ll look at Jesus as King. Without Jesus as King, the path to salvation would be vastly different.
Each individual characteristic of God study will come with two resources: a word search just for fun (including an answer key), and a list of verses for if you want to investigate that individual characteristic of God more completely.
You can access these resources by clicking here: God Is Sovereign Resources
Or you can download them here: