Caleb, Joshua, Ruth, Hannah, Samuel, David, and others are shining examples of obedience and blessing. Their amazing stories point to God’s infinite wisdom and sovereignty in lovingly working out his redemptive plan for Israel and the world. But none of these stories occurred in a vacuum of trouble-free bliss. Each of these characters struggled with his or her own sins and the sins of others, sometimes with great obstacles to overcome, yet God faithfully continued to work out His plan for them as individuals and for Israel as a whole.
What do we do when we receive the phone call about cancer or health problems—problems of your own or that of a friend or family member? What about when your life is thrown upside down because of unexpected events? Or when you hear heartbreaking news about someone? Or when your day or week doesn’t go as planned, making it hard to recalibrate and function?
I’ve had some phone calls like that recently, and my family’s regular routine has been a bit jumbled for various reasons. In thinking about and responding to scary health news, heart breaks, and waylaid plans and routines, I’ve meditated on God’s sovereignty.
In Daniel 4:34–35, Nebuchadnezzar makes the following conclusion about God’s rule:
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”
Is Nebuchadnezzar’s conclusion correct? Are we inhabitants of the earth accounted as nothing? Does God just do whatever according to his will? Can none of us stop him or question what he has done?
My thoughts moved next to Psalm 138:8:
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Nebuchadnezzar emphasizes the unquestionable nature of God’s sovereignty, and the Psalmist adds to it: The Lord fulfills His purpose for individuals, not as a careless Sovereign, but as a Sovereign with steadfast enduring love for us.
As I contemplated these passages, I was assured of their trustworthiness. I’ve experienced these truths to a degree in my own life, but what settled me most is seeing them played out in the Bible. The stories of the Old Testament in particular have grounded me firmly in God’s steadfast, loving endurance to his sovereign plan.