Our most recent solar eclipse is a cosmic event that you can only hope to experience a few times in your life. Personally, I can remember back in grade school creating a pinhole solar eclipse device with my class to be able to watch the eclipse, but we won’t go into how long ago that was.
This time around, August 21, 2017, I made sure I was outside and once again, my hope was to get a glimpse of the eclipse through my own personal pinhole device. Unfortunately, my device proved inadequate and I didn’t get to see anything because I messed up on making the device!
When Christians talk about the sovereignty of God, we are referring to God’s all-encompassing rule over the entire universe.
Obviously, it would appear I learned nothing from my grade school attempt years ago. The next total eclipse for North America is set to happen on April 8, 2024, so hopefully this time I will be better prepared.
Regardless of what you believe or disbelieve about God, it’s hard to believe that one can watch such a highly tuned and precise event such as a solar eclipse, and not at least consider the sovereignty of God.
When Christians talk about the sovereignty of God, we are referring to God’s all-encompassing rule over the entire universe. If such a monumental cosmic event such as a solar eclipse doesn’t grab your attention, consider this:
The earth moves in at least six different ways, and yet we on earth are not dizzy. The movements are:
- The earth spins on its axis, like a top, at the speed of 465 meters per second, or 1,675 kilometers per hour. If it were 160 kilometers per hour, the earth would alternately freeze and burn.
- It weaves slowly back and forth on its axis, tilting to an angle of 23 degrees, then swinging slowly back, twice a year. This gives us our seasons.
- The earth with the moon is swinging around the sun, once a year at the rate of 30 kilometers per second. And it never varies 1/10,000th of a second on this annual trip.
- The sun, with all its planets, is on a trip, rushing northward at 19.3 kilometers per second.
- The nearby stars, with our planetary system, are revolving at 230 kilometers per second around the Milky Way’s centre.
- The Milky Way, our galaxy, with all its millions of stars, is on a tremendous journey, plunging through space at a terrific speed. Who knows where? God guides and controls them all.
(Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 350). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.)
Hang on Blair! That’s all good and everything, but where was this sovereign God when I lost my Mom or significant loved one? Good question! This is the very question I found myself asking when I lost my Mom. All of a sudden, what I knew in my head was ringing differently than what my painful heart seemed to be telling me. There are times when it’s hard to reconcile what we go through in our day-to-day lives with an all-knowing and all-controlling God. But God isn’t just a sovereign God, he is a good God, a loving God. The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “We see his smile of love even when others see nothing but the black hand of Death smiting our best beloved.”
The truth is, even in our pain, God never ceases to be who he is – sovereign and supreme.
In the midst of pain, we can sometimes only see God through the lens of our pain and think it is indeed the “black hand of Death smiting our best beloved.” However, the divine sovereignty of God is a central theme throughout the Bible. God delegates authority, establishes kings and kingdoms, and brings to ruin any king or kingdom that fail to submit to his authority.
The Bible presents Yahweh as the Creator God, with a sovereign right to rule over all creation (Psalm 104). The sovereignty of God is a beautiful portrait of a loving God.
The truth is, even in our pain, God never ceases to be who he is – sovereign and supreme. God has absolute and un-disputable authority over all creation.
Here is what the Scriptures say about God’s sovereignty extending over all things:
- He is sovereign over creation
“Worthy are you,
our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
See also Psalm 93:1; Isaiah 40:22; 41:18-19
- He is sovereign over human life
Part of David’s prayer on the occasion of gifts being brought to the temple:
“Both riches and honour come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” (1 Chronicles 29:12)
See also 2 Chronicles 25:8; Luke 1:51-53; Acts 18:21; James 4:15
- He is sovereign over the minutest details of life
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:29-30)
See also Luke 12:6-7
- He is sovereign in electing his people
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11)
See also Romans 8:29; 9:11,18
- He is sovereign in the life and salvation of his people
“And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,” (1 Corinthians 1:30)
See also Jeremiah 18:6; 1 Corinthians 12:11; Philippians 2:13; James 1:18
- He is sovereign over the sufferings of believers
“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29)
See also 1 Peter 3:17
- He is sovereign over world history
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” (Proverbs 21:1)
See also Exodus 9:16; Psalm 22:28; Jeremiah 18:7-10; Daniel 4:35
Solar eclipses will come and go, and every one of them will happen by the hand of a sovereign God who holds the universe, including our pain, in his grip, according to his will, and to his glory alone!
One mark of spiritual maturity is the confident acceptance, even when your emotions might say otherwise, that God is in control. When you don’t understand the why’s and when’s of the happenings in our lives, or the happenings in the world, for that matter, we know we can trust him.
The prophet Isaiah reminds us, “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making’?” (Isaiah 45:9)
There is such beauty in being able to trust the one Sovereign God. As R.C. Sproul has famously said, “If there is one single molecule in the universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.”
Something to think about for today.