National Sovereignty and God – Revelation 21:10-12,25-27

God Reserves The Right To Exclude Those Who Can Enter His City

10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel…25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Why Walls?

Many have wondered why, if we are all created equal and in the image of God, we should build walls, defenses, obstructions, barriers, or any other kind of impediment to people who wish to enter the borders of a nation.  For example, let’s choose a nation in particular, the United States of America.

The President of this nation as of this writing, Donald J. Trump, has made the very bold suggestion that a wall be built to separate the national borders between itself and its Southern neighbor, the country of Mexico.  Many have spoken out and said that building walls to keep people out of a country is RACIST, BIGOTED, and ANTIQUATED.

Yet, we see that GOD HIMSELF has built walls for His city, The New Jerusalem.  Let’s take a moment to look at the CHARACTER of God to see if God is RACIST, BIGOTED, and ANTIQUATED:

  • Is God RACIST?
    • There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:28
    • Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:11-12
  • Is God BIGOTED?
    • And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls. – Joel 2:32
    • And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. – John 12:32
    • For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
    • You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13
    • But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. – 2 Peter 3:8-10
  • Is God ANTIQUATED?
    • All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16
    • What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 1:9
    • He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything [continually*] new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:5

These are just a few passages from God’s holy word about HIS character.  From what can be gleaned here, it would not appear that God is RACIST, BIGOTED, nor ANTIQUATED.  If that is the case, then building a wall around a sovereign area is NOT RACIST, NOT BIGOTED, and NOT ANTIQUATED. Therefore, when a leader of a nation, such as Donald J. Trump, POTUS, desires to build a wall around a sovereign nation, he is not RACIST, BIGOTED, nor ANTIQUATED (for wanting to build a wall around the sovereign nation that God has appointed him in his position of governance).

These arguments are instead a deceitful, emotionally charged, slanderous and/or libelous attempt to defraud, defame, and otherwise impugn the character of a leader of a nation for the purposes of influencing public opinion on a particular subject.  This type of distraction is very effective when directed towards people who have been trained to think with their emotions rather than logical and ethical/moral reasoning.

Guardians at the Gates?

God has placed angels at the gates.  The word angel is used to denote a messenger.  But angels have had specific duties in addition to delivering messages to people.  Usually these involve protection, or destruction.  In this case, although the Bible does not clearly say so, it is most likely protection (when taken together with the verses that are after it).  Why place guardians at the gates of your city?  Should we not allow EVERYONE to have complete, unrestricted, access the city, its people, and it treasures?

Access Allowed?

God has, in His sovereign decree, restricted access to His holy city, The New Jerusalem, to ONLY those who names are written in the Book of Life.  By sovereign decree, God is specifically EXCLUDING some who may desire to enter His city.

Viable Vetting?

God is in the process of vetting those who can access the city.  For instance, only those whose names are written in the Book of Life can enter.  So, what is the exclusionary criteria for barring entry into the city?

  • impurity
  • shameful acts
  • deceitfulness

Why would God specifically exclude anything impure, or shameful, or deceitful?  After all, isn’t God “inclusive” and “wanting everyone to come to Him” and “wanting no one to perish”?  Why would God NOT allow some people access to the city?  What possible motivation could God have that would even place the thought of being “EXCLUSIVE” into His thinking?

  • God is HOLY
  • God is RIGHTEOUS
  • God is PURE

God cannot stand wickedness in His presence.  God’s very nature abhors that which is antithetical to the truth.  And those who cannot accept that there is truth (a measurable and quantifiable definition of the absolute nature of reality) will not understand the concepts of HOLY, RIGHTEOUS, and PURE, because to them, these are all RELATIVE TO THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE PERSON VIEWING THEM, rather than objective and concrete and universal.  Sin is like yeast.  It alters and distorts that which it comes in contact with.

“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do leaders have the right to impose restrictions of entry to people within the sovereign borders of their nations?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are merciful and gracious.  Yet You are also holy, righteous, and pure.  Thank You for having the iron fist with the velvet glove.  Blessed be Your name.  You and You alone are able to completely, without error, rule in correct judgment all created things, including me.  Help me to understand Your position on National Sovereignty.  If my views do not align with Your views, please change my heart to align with Your heart.  Break down every stronghold in my mind that the world, the flesh, and the devil have erected to stand in opposition to Your revealed word.  Help me to embrace Your character and Your heart, that I may draw closer to You as the last day approaches.  Help me witness with my actions, but more importantly, with my words, about who You are and what You believe.  Strengthen me as I encounter opposition to You and Your word.  Remember me in my efforts to faithfully tell about Your Son and what He has done for everyone.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


Notes: This blog has been edited for clarity

*The Greek verb here for making, poiO, does not have a direct English single-word translation.  Strong’s notes on this verb indicate that it is:

  • apparently a prolonged form of an obsolete primary;
  • to make or do (in a very wide application, more or less direct).

The implication is that God will, for all eternity, be making His creation continually new.  Imagine being in a finite place that never changes and is always the same.  Many people call that JAIL.  God, understanding that He has imbued us with His creativity and curiosity, will be forever subtly or drastically altering the very Universe He created so that we will not become bored.  His glory, majesty, power, and dominion will be continually demonstrated and experienced by us for all eternity.

God is Sovereign – Isaiah 40:21-24

God Is Responsible For Installing Rulers Among Men As Well As Removing Them

21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
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.
24 No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

Forgotten Foundations

When events in our lives trigger great emotional distress, we are often at risk of forgetting our foundational beliefs.  For many people, the recent election of Donald J. Trump to the office of President of the United States has caused great anguish.  It was reported that upon hearing the news, many people wept openly and bitterly.  Others cheered and rejoiced.  Both were emotional responses to a desired outcome that either was fulfilled or frustrated.

When we experience this type of deep emotional response to something, we should take a step back, and check it against our core values.  We should then ask ourselves some questions:

  1. Why am I feeling this way?
  2. How should I respond?
  3. What is God doing?

In our emotional condition, we can often forget a most important aspect about God – that He is Sovereign.

Supreme Sovereignty

God is seated on His throne in Heaven.  He and He alone is sovereign over all of the universe.  God is the one who raises rulers up and takes rulers downThere is no authority on Earth except that which is established by God, either currently ruling, in training to rule, or being removed from their rule.

Disciples of Christ have a tendency to forget that we are merely ambassadors for Christ here on earth; our true home is in Heaven with Jesus.  And while the world around us is amazed and bewildered by the seemingly random and odd circumstances that they find themselves in, disciples of Christ should realize that God is sovereign, He has a plan, He is working His plan, and we have nothing to fear because God works out everything to good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Royals Removed

God is the one who topples rulers.  We are like a mist; here for a short while, and then gone.  There is no position of authority that we place men and women in rule above us that is not overseen by God. We think that because we have voted someone in or out of office, or they have been assassinated, or they are disgraced, that somehow we have done these things.  It is instead God who has allowed them to happen.  Nothing happens in this universe without the express prior knowledge and approval of God.

To think that we are solely responsible for the removal of persons in power is mere arrogance and pride.  God is able to protect His rulers from all harm and evil if it suits His purposes.  It was said that the American Indians realized that George Washington was blessed and approved by the Great Spirit.  Indian warriors of renown who never missed their prey with their arrows reported that their aim was true when they would fire upon Washington, but the arrows would not find their mark.  Even now, shells fired from rockets that get through the Iron Dome in Israel are sometimes blown out to sea by great winds that suddenly arise after the shells penetrate Israel’s defensive perimeter (much to the chagrin of those who fire them at Israel).

Deep Distraction

God’s people have allowed politics to cloud their vision of Him, His power, His will, and His way.  Many disciples of Christ set their hopes, fortunes, paths, and joy on the outcome of elections rather than the goodness, mercy, grace, holiness, and righteousness of God.  We place God in a second-tier position, as though God is the one who is responsible for executing our commands and fulfilling our every desire.

We treat God like a genie, and send prayers up to God (“rub the genie’s bottle”) every time we need something, only to shove the genie back in the bottle and cork it when we have our wish and don’t need Him anymore in our lives.  We relegate God to our slave and desire Him to only be sovereign in our lives when WE want something changed.

We have forgotten that God is sovereign.  We weep and wail when we don’t get our way.  James gently chides us for this:

1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people!  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Instead of sorrow at our circumstances, or who is pulling the switches and levers of power in this Earthly realm, let us set our eyes upon Him who is in the Heavenly realm, and petition Him according to His will.  Let us submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, and watch as the enemy flees*.  Let us rejoice that our Creator is in charge, and that leaders come and go at His behest.  Let us set our hearts upon the commission that we have received, and let God take care of our provision and care.

Was God able to rescue Joseph from the hands of his brothers and Potiphar?  Was God able to rescue Daniel from the lion’s den?  Was God able to rescue Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the flaming furnace?  Was God able to rescue Peter from being chained in jail with guards?  Was God able to rescue Paul from those who sought his death?  Was God able to rescue Jesus Christ from eternal death?   If He is able to do that for them, why would you think that He is unable to do that for you?

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I more concerned about politics or God’s will?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You and You alone are sovereign over all.  Help me to remember that I am merely a visitor here on Earth, and that my place is with Christ in Heaven.  Help me to have a proper perspective on all that occurs in life, so that I may not be shaken or swayed when events do not go my way, and especially when then do go my way.  Father, help me to have a heart that is always centered on You, and to accept Your sovereign rule in the lives of men.  Give me peace in the choices that You make in the rulers over my life, and help me to be a faithful witness of Your Son regardless of the circumstances I find myself in.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


Notes: This blog was edited for spelling errors.

  • Jesus was comforted by angels after his encounter with Satan in the desert.  When we submit ourselves to God (the rest of these sequence of events is PREDICATED upon this primary principle), resist the devil (which may come at a very high cost in money, emotional distress, and/or difficult circumstances), it is only then that he will flee.  Don’t think that this is going to be easy.  You have signed up for a war.  Many of the combatants don’t even know they are engaged in it.  Be wary, and listen to your Commander-in-Chief, who will provide all necessary instruction to win the battles (Jesus already won the war on the cross…).

Order vs. Chaos – 1 Corinthians 14:26-33

God Infused Order Within Everything In The Universe

26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

Crazy Chaos

Paul was addressing the use of the spiritual gifts in worship in this passage.  The children of God were eager to use their gifts, but their eagerness tended to cause chaos when they gathered together.  Rather than build up the body, the gifts were causing chaos through cacophony.

Imagine a busy airport with everyone talking to each other.  The noise would have been deafening and confusing.  Or imagine being in a room with two hundred televisions, all set to different broadcasting stations, all at the same volume, all at the same time.  It would be nearly impossible to focus on just one of them with so many other streams of visual and audio information bombarding us, each demanding that we pay attention to them.

Chaos would be the rule.  The author of chaos and confusion is Satan.  God is truth, and the truth does not seek to cause confusion, but clarity in thought.  Truth takes the chaos and puts it into order.  Chaos can drive us crazy.  Truth pulls us out of the maelstrom and places us upon the solid Rock of Jesus, where the buffeting of chaos cannot touch.

Power in Peace

Paul attempted to address this with order in worship.  By limiting the number of people speaking at one time, it would be possible for the body to focus on what was being said, and that would result in the body being built up.  When the body is built up, working together in harmony, and focused upon the singular goal of yielding themselves to the Holy Spirit, order comes out of chaos, and the power of God is manifested through his people acting in unison.

Sovereign Signature

While we might say that these things are good for us as we relate to one another, what about the rest of creation?  Did God deem it proper to include order in the rest of creation? How about the things that exist outside of the physical universe?  Let’s take a look at the universe first.

The Golden Ratio

There is a special number, a ratio, that appears to exist in just about everything.  From the way that DNA spirals, to the way that plants’ leaves grow on the stalk, to the spiral arms of the galaxies, to the formation of crystals, and the spins of subatomic particles, there is a commonality in all of it.  The number is known as the Golden Ratio.  You can see it everywhere you look.  It appears in all of nature.  It is believed that the Golden Ratio may play a part in the human perception of beauty.

God left us a huge clue in both visually observable and non-visually observable (that which is too small to see with the naked eye) nature of all things.  God left us a signature that everything was created with purpose, and that it was the result of an ordered, intellectual pursuit rather than just random happenings.

Hierarchy of Angels

Paul clues us in to the structured order of ranks of angels, in this case, fallen angels:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The Trinity

There is structure in the Trinity.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God, yet each one has purpose and responsibility within their relationship to each other.  The following is not an exhaustive list of this order, but a very primitive overview to show that there is order within:

  • The Father oversees and judges
  • The Son creates and redeems
  • The Holy Spirit indwells, empowers, exhorts, consoles, convicts, counsels, exalts and points us to Christ

Each are co-equal as God, but each have different assigned roles.  And in this, there is great order and unity.  There is no dissension in the Trinity, only unity and order.

Course of Collapse

Careful observation of nature shows that there is another order.  There is a universal tendency for all things to move from an ordered state to an un-ordered state.  In other words, all matter moves from order to chaos.  Iron, in the presence of water, will always rust.  Rust, without some extraordinary measures, will never “degrade” back into pure iron and whatever other elements are released.  Bodies decompose after death.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if we poured chemicals into a vat, and slowly the chemicals interacted and formed a new body!

God has designed the universe to have universal, observable laws.  Laws like gravity, inertia, mathematics, and truth.  Each of these, without outside interference, will always give the same answers when they are probed.  Two plus two will always equal four, all things being equal (no outside interference).  Matter is attracted to planets (as opposed to being repelled by them).  An object in motion will stay in motion if there are no other forces exerted upon it.  We accept these as laws, and rely upon their very dependable, repeatable nature.

Imagine what would happen if the Earth no longer orbited the sun.  Imagine what would happen if the laws of inertia and gravity were nullified.  Imagine if gases, like our atmosphere, were to suddenly and without notice, change temperature and volume, with no discernible pattern.  There would be pandemonium and chaos.  Our world, and everything in it, on it, and above it, would be in constant flux.  We would be in constant panic, perishing left and right, with no ability to control or predict how the very things that we rely upon to live would contribute to our eventual, and very swift, destruction.

Love and the Law

If we look at the Law of God, the Law that God gave Moses for the people, each of the Ten Commandments deal with our relationship with others – our interactions with God and each other.  Whether it is obedience to God, or righteous conduct with others, these Commandments should guide our interactions.  Each of them is based in love.  In (agape*) love, there is peace and harmony.  This brings order into our lives.  Love fulfills the law because the law is designed to point to Love as the principle that governs perfect order in the universe.  Love brings order to chaos, and provides the right environment for the flourishing of relationship and conduct between us all.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Does order or chaos occur when I get involved?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are glorious in all of Your ways.  Please help to bring order to my chaos.  Teach me what I can do to help stand strong in the waves of difficulty that occur when the enemy sows discord and anarchy in people.  Keep me strong, and guard me in all my ways.  Help others to see Your love through the order that occurs when disciples of Christ act in unison.  Help me to be a part of order rather than chaos, and to be yielded to the Holy Spirit as Your Son, Jesus Christ, was yielded to Him when Jesus walked the Earth nearly two thousand years ago.  Thank You, Father, for instilling order in Your creation and Your commands, that I would have structure and stability in my ways.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


  • The word agape is one of four Greek words that describe love (agape, eros, philia, storge).  This type of love has three defining characteristics – it is unconditional (no strings attached), sacrificial (requires that the giver make personal sacrifice over self to show love to another), and volitional (an act of the will, not emotion).  This is Godly love – love that is born from the desire to see another person prosper, grow, be nourished, and succeed ahead of our own selfish desire.

The Sovereignty of God – Psalm 104:10-16

God’s Love Is Displayed In His Sovereign Provision

10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate-
bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
oil to make their faces shine,
and bread that sustains their hearts.
16 The trees of the Lord are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

Sprouting Springs

Water is an interesting substance.  It sustains life through hydration.  When heated, it can be used to generate electricity, and when frozen, it is the only substance known to mankind that expands in size, rather than contract into a smaller space.  By forming ice, God protects the creatures beneath the seas and oceans from being crushed beneath the very fluid that enables them to survive.  Ice also protects the waters beneath from the ravages of cold weather.  Even the Eskimos use ice to protect themselves from the harsh winter winds.

Water apparently has a mind of its own.  In Genesis, we see the waters covering the face of the Earth.  It is not until the Lord God Almighty tells it that it must recede that it goes where it should underground.  It is the Lord who determines where the boundaries of the waters are by saying where they can go and go no farther.  Wisdom bears witness to the sovereign creation of God, and that God has set boundaries on the waters of the Earth.

And it is God who brings forth water from the Earth to provide for all of creation.

Creatures Content

The beasts of the field are provided with the liquid that keeps them alive.  The birds above build their nests around water to ensure that they have easy access to the life-sustaining liquid.  God shows his love by providing for the needs of every creature on Earth.  He does not withhold his blessing upon them, except when He is rebuking man through drought.

Even creatures in the desert, where water is scarce, are provided for by Almighty God.  He has given them the ability to survive in these areas and even to thrive.  His provision continually demonstrates His love for all that He created.  He shows wisdom in the careful planning that went into the design of all creatures that live during their appointed times and at their appointed places and provides for their every need.

Sovereignly Satiated

The Psalmist also indicates that the land itself is satisfied with the sovereign provision of the Lord God Almighty.  The mountains are watered by His hand and command.  The land is satisfied with water.  If you ever doubt this, go somewhere after an intense drought has ravaged the land.  The land forms deep cracks and looks terrible.  But once the Lord waters the land again, it softens and gives up its nourishment to the plants that God had placed upon it.  And when God continually provides for the land, the plants thrive, and the creatures abound.

Furnish Food

It is the Lord God Almighty that provides the grass for the cattle.  He continually provides the water that allows the plants to survive and thrive.  It is He who gives them their sustenance.   But God is the one who also provides us with plants for our food.  Prior to the flood (say, where did all that water come from, anyway?), God had given all of the seed bearing plants as food for man.  He is the one who provides for our every need and desire.  It is God who furnishes us our food, and satisfies us with nourishment from His Earth.

Supplying Sustenance

God does not only provide for our minimal needs of existence; He also provides for those things that make our hearts glad.  In the picture provided here, the Psalmist shows that it is God who provides us with wine to gladden our hearts, and oil to protect and soften our skin.  He also provides bread that fills our stomachs and noses with aromas and flavors that far exceed the minimum required to sustain life.

Imagine that the only thing available to eat was gruel with no salt (now imagine the Israelites eating manna for forty years without spices or herbs…).  Imagine eating that for every meal, day in and day out.  It is God who provides the seasonings for us to make wonderful meals.  The flavors and aromas of the vast cornucopia of produce and grains, let alone the spices and herbs, can provide a potential plethora of palatable provision.  And it is God who shows us how to make all of these different variations of meals to satisfy our hunger and thirst.

God does not merely want us to survive; He wants us to thrive, and to experience the majesty of all that He created so that we, in wonder of the work of His hands, would give Him all of the glory and praise that He so rightly deserves.

Provision for Plants

God not only provides for the land, and all of the creatures on it, He also provides for the plants.  Every time it rains, especially when we have more rain that we think we need, and while we long for the weather to break, and the sun to shine upon us again, God is providing the vital liquid that sustains the life of every plant.  And every time we see rain, we are seeing the supernatural provision of Almighty God for His plants, His creatures, and His land.  God waters His plants just as we do when they are thirsty.  And God replenishes the water in the rivers and lakes for all of the teeming life that He placed in them.

In everything, God is constantly providing for the needs and desires of all that He created.  He does not turn His back on us, His land, His creatures, nor His plants.  He continually refreshes them with the fruit of His labors, and watches in contentment as His creation thanks Him and returns praise for the mighty works of His hands.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do I see the mighty provision of God in all that He does?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, the heavens declare Your glory, power, infinite wisdom and knowledge.  And I praise and rejoice in You that You have provided so much for me to have.  Even when I am destitute in money and worldly possessions, I have You, and with You I am rich beyond blessing.  Help me to recognize, as I contemplate the workings of Your creation, just how much You love me and all that You have made.  Help me to gain deeper insight into the greatest aspect of Your character that You display for everyone to see – that You love all that You have made, and rejoice in it.  Help me to remember that You and You alone are sovereign over all You have made, and that You do not abandon that which You start, but rather see everything through to its very end.  Give me wisdom that my eyes might see, and ears might hear, all that You are communicating to me through Your word and Your world.  This I ask in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

 

 

National Sovereignty and God – Nehemiah 2:2-6

God Approves Of Walls Built To Establish The Sovereignty Of Nations

2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

6 Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.

A Terrifying Truth

At that time in history, no one dared enter the king’s presence with a sad face.  Everyone was required to smile.  To do otherwise could possibly result in a person’s immediate and very public execution.  God had placed Nehemiah in his position in the king’s service to further His purposes.  He has done this with many others, including Joseph, Daniel, and Esther, to name a few.  Even though Nehemiah tried, he could not hide his distress from the king.

Facing Fear

Over three hundred and sixty times in the Bible, God’s people are told, with differing words and the same message, “fear not”.  Nehemiah had just heard from Hanani, one of his brothers, that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and the gates were burned by fire.  Nehemiah was the cup-bearer to the king.  He had immediate access to the highest human authority in the land.  God was placing a very heavy burden upon Nehemiah’s heart.  It so distressed him that he had sat down and wept, then mourned, fasted, and prayed to God for days.

So when the king noticed Nehemiah’s glum appearance and brought it to his attention, Nehemiah faced his fear and told the king of the burden that he felt upon his shoulders and his heart.  It should be noted that just prior to telling the king everything that was on his heart, the Bible records that Nehemiah prayed.  This is a great pattern for all of us to follow.  When we have fear in our hearts, our first (not last!) resort should be to consult and petition the highest authority possible – The Lord God Almighty.  We should do this even (and especially) when faced with the possibility of certain death, for this is the correct path to follow.

A Royal Request

Nehemiah, burdened by God with crushed heart concerning the situation that his people found themselves in concerning the land which God had sovereignly gave to them after the Exodus from Egypt, prayed to God and asked the king for a personal leave of absence to go to Jerusalem, his homeland, to rebuild the wall.

Not only did he request the time from the king, the Bible shows us that he was even more bold.  He had asked for the king to give him letters of passage across all of his lands so that no one would stop him or impede his progress – he needed safe passage.  He also asked the king to provide him, from the royal park, the necessary timber to both rebuild the gates of the city as well as the house that he would need to build once he arrived to stay in.  Now that takes courage!

Granted by God

Nehemiah notes that the gracious hand of his God was upon him.  And he was absolutely correct. Not only did king Artaxerxes provide him with the time off, lumber, and letters of safe passage, God sovereignly placed it upon the king’s heart to provide Nehemiah with a royal escort – something Nehemiah had not asked for.  This would absolutely guarantee that everyone would believe and comply with all of the requests that Nehemiah would make of them on behalf of the king through his written orders.

When we are burdened by God to do something, God will absolutely ensure that we have everything that we need to do what He has sovereignly assigned for us to do.  And sometimes when we forget to ask for something that is critical to our mission, God will provide what is necessary to ensure that His will is accomplished.

And in this case, God sovereignly approved of a wall that established as sovereign the city of Jerusalem.  God approves of national borders, and the right of nations to determine who is permitted to enter their sovereign soil.  If God believed that everyone should have the right to enter any place on Earth anytime they wanted to, He would have stopped Nehemiah in his quest to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.  Those who believe God and His Son, and whose faith is credited as righteousness, should take careful note of God’s view on the sovereignty of nations and His approval of walls to regulate the flow of people into their lands.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  When faced with certain danger, what is the first thing that I do?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, there is nothing that surprises You.  You are the one who sets up kings and rulers in authority.  All authority in Heaven and on Earth is Yours and Yours alone to delegate to whomever You choose.  Grant my heart wisdom and discernment as I read Your word so that I would know and understand Your position on national sovereignty.  Help me to reconcile any thoughts, attitudes, or opinions that differ from Your thoughts, attitudes, and opinions.  Help me to align my heart to Yours, and to accept, regardless of how I feel, that Your ways are above my ways, and Your thoughts are above my thoughts.  Father, I do not have the proper perspective of seeing the end from the beginning, nor knowing the disposition of every bit of matter in the universe at any point in time.  Help me to accept what I don’t understand, and give me peace in my heart when You do not desire to provide me with answers so that my heart may be at peace when my emotions are trying to overrule Your divinely inspired word.  Thank You Father for all things.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Transition of Power – 1 Chronicles 11:1-3

The Whole People Should Recognize The Leader That God Has Chosen

1 All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. 2 In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord your God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.'”

3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, he made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel, as the Lord had promised through Samuel.

A Great Gathering

After Saul died, all of Israel came together as a group.   This was important, for it showed unanimous consensus among God’s people that they recognized the transition of leadership to David.  Samuel had anointed David’s head with oil as the next king over a decade prior.  And now, that promise of God was being fulfilled.

Royal Recognition

It is important that all of them recognized the transition of power.  Rather than refuse to acknowledge the new king, they embraced him as God intended as one people.  It is very difficult when questionable circumstances overshadow the transition of power.  That can divide a nation and cause irreparable harm to the unity of the people.  It has been said, “United we stand, divided we fall.”

The enemies of peace have long understood this concept, and work tirelessly in opposition to unity in order to foment discontent and resentment towards the leaders that they do not like.  When a nation is torn in two this way, the nation is being set up to be financially pillaged and eventually overrun.  There is great profit in confusion.

In this particular case, the people pulled together to recognize David as their new king.  The ardent followers of Saul supported David.  They did not try to stage a coup and insert their own candidate for king.  This served to unite the people even more.

A Climatic Covenant

David not only assumed the throne, he made a covenant with the people.  He did not merely take a verbal oath, he made a promise that carried with it the penalty of death should it not have been held up.  David was a servant to the people.  He shepherded them as God intended, rather than seek His own glory, power, and recognition apart from The Lord God Almighty.  This solidified his position with the people and gave him the accountability necessary to ensure that he would take promise and responsibility towards the people with the gravest of attitudes.

The Powerful Promise

By uniting the people, recognizing his role, and taking the necessary steps to ensure his accountability, the promise that God had made to David was fully secured in the support of the people.  Samuel’s anointing of David’s head as the next ruler of the people of Israel was complete, and he was able to rule them in joy and with God’s protection and power.  God demonstrated His choice of David as His chosen vessel of authority over men in that He increased David’s power and influence among them.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I willing to accept the leadership that God has placed over me?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have placed leaders over us for our protection and to bring about Your will.  Help me to be supportive of Your decisions, and to do my very best to submit to leaders who are yielded to You.  Father, I ask that You would strengthen and encourage the men and women You have chosen as leaders over me to yield themselves to You.  Help them to become the servant-leaders that You desire them to be.  Give me the strength to endure wicked leaders when You send them as judgment upon a nation, and to encourage all to pray for the people who are under difficult leadership that they would call out to You, and seek Your face, and turn from their wicked ways, that You would heal the land.  Bless the leaders that You have chosen with wisdom, restraint, and advisors that would honor and glorify Your name.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Authority by God – Daniel 2:19-23

There Is No Authority Except That Which Is Established By God

19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Riddle Revealed

Have you ever had a mystery in your life that neither you nor no one else could figure out?  Daniel was in that exact same place.  The king had asked a question of the wise men of his time that no one had ever asked before – to rightly divine what the king’s dream had been, and its proper interpretation.  In previous times, the king would reveal the dream and ask for the interpretation.  However, being clever, the king asked the wise men not only the interpretation to the dream, but also the dream itself.  For only the truly wise person would be able to divine both the interpretation as well as the dream.

The Lord God Almighty knows all things.  What is done in darkness is as clear as light to Him.  He is omniscient – knowing all things.  Nothing is withheld from God.  In order for God to be sovereign over all of creation, He would need to know everything that was going on in creation all of the time.  And this time was no exception.  When Daniel and his three friends prayed to the One who knows all things, God was faithful and provided the knowledge to Daniel, His chosen instrument, to deliver the message to the king.

Despots Deposed

Daniel then prayed a prayer that glorified God and reveals some interesting aspects of the character of God.  Daniel rightly proclaims that it is God who removes people from positions of authority.  While the reasons for this are the purview of God for His plan, this revelation should give us hope and assurance.

When faced with unholy rulers who oppress people rather than serving them in submission to the Lord God Almighty, those who are faithful to God should bend their knees in fervent prayer that God would remove such a one from office.  When the true disciples of God cry out for justice and Godly leadership over them, repenting of their sins and the sins of their nation, turning their faces back towards God and away from sin (in that order), humbling themselves in prayer and fasting, God will hear their prayers and heal their land.

Authority Authenticated

It is God and God alone that places leaders in their positions of power.  For God and God alone has all authority, and He delegates that authority to whomever He chooses.  For some, He delegates it in righteousness for His glory.  For others, He delegates it to bring about the discipline of His people.

Habakkuk, in an apparent prayer of despair,  cried out to God in an attempt to understand why the righteous were held back, and the wicked prospered on Earth.  God said to Habakkuk,

See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright — but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness

We must remember that it is God’s purview and His alone that allows the wicked to prosper and to be in leadership over others.  While we have every obligation to ensure that we are living righteously and living in a just manner before God, it is God and God alone who will raise up leaders and lay them low.  This is a divine attribute of God, that He and He alone has all authority and can do with it what He wants for His purposes.

Information Imparted

Since God is all-knowing, it is God’s responsibility to provide that knowledge to others.  Many try to seek wisdom and knowledge through other channels, such as divination (tarot cards, Ouija boards, palm reading, tea leaves, and any number of other methods including seeking out those who traffic with Demonic beings.  Any method of revelation of true hidden knowledge is through God and God alone.  Others may guess at the nature of truth, but only God knows it for sure.

The sad aspect of the seeking of wisdom and knowledge outside of God is that these methods lead a person down a very dark path away from God.  Whether it be Saul and the medium of Endor trying to (and from what scripture says, apparently successfully at the attempt) channel the spirit of Samuel from the dead, or others who traffic in demons, any attempt at divination is evil and hated by God.

When someone goes to a real medium (a person who is being imparted with knowledge from demonic beings impersonating the dearly departed), they may get some real information that no one else could possibly know because no other human being was present.  However angels and demons are among us.  And they communicate with each other.  The knowledge that you get may have just enough truth in it to hook you into believing that the person you consulted really does know the future.  Once a person is hooked, they will depend more and more upon the medium or method of divination rather than depending upon God for knowledge and assistance.  Our God is a jealous God, and will not allow us to serve two masters.  Free will has been given to us, and we can choose whom we will serve.  We can choose to serve God, or serve anyone or anything else.  The choice is ours.  And every choice has its consequences.

The one who goes to a medium to see if they got the job after the interview may very well be told the truth.  A demon may have been present when the HR official authorized the paperwork or verbally approved the hiring.  Perhaps there is something that only the mark knows (the person seeking information from mediums) that is told to the mark.  After all, if no other human being had been present, how could this medium know the truth of the situation (such as where the serial killer buries the bodies or disposes of them, etc.)?

For the spiritual safety of God’s people, God and God alone should be consulted for wisdom and truth.  If it is to the glory of God that it not be revealed, so be it.  If we need to wait upon God’s timing for it, so be it.  It is the impatience of man that leads us to seek knowledge and wisdom apart from God and His word.  If you are ever presented with that temptation, remember what happened to king Saul because of his impatience with God’s timing (offering up the burnt offering to God, and seeking out the medium of Endor).

Wisdom Welcomed

Daniel welcomed the wisdom that God had provided, as should we.  Regardless of the word of knowledge that we are given by God, we should treasure it and act upon it, for God has seen fit to provide us with understanding and wisdom.  God loves it when we move in obedience to His revealed word.

And when we have received the answer to our prayer, we should praise the Lord God Almighty for what He has done.  God is worthy of all praise, honor, glory, power, strength, and dominion.  Let us give great praise to the One who provides for our every need, and gives us that which we have requested.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I able to be content when waiting for God to act upon my requests (especially with the outcomes of who is in authority over the nation I live in)?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have revealed Yourself to us through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  You have given us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and to lead us into the way everlasting.  Give me patience this day as I wait for You to act, and help me to be content with the outcome that You have decreed.  Regardless of my circumstances, help me to never take my eyes off of You.  Grant me peace in my heart, and bring me around to Your way of thinking so that I can be better prepared when difficulties occur in my life.  Help me to live by faith and faith alone in You when You send wicked rulers to be over us, and help me to rejoice when You relent and send leaders that will follow You to be over us.  This I ask in the glorious name of Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?