Years ago, I used to think God was up in Heaven, sitting by, essentially inactive as Satan ruled the world. I didn’t know him as El Elyon, God Most High. For he is active, and he is present. He is Sovereign and rules over all things and over all powers.
In the book of Job, Satan had been roaming the earth and approached God:
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.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied… “You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (Job 1:8-12)
Some might take a passage like this and conclude that God is, therefore, evil. God gives permission for Satan to destroy everything of Jobs. Job ends up losing servants, livestock, his children, and even his health after Satan has another encounter with God (Job 2:6).
And Job cries out with the same question that we cry out with today, “Why?”
Job never got an answer from God as to why he endured all the suffering and loss, but he did hear from God. And in God’s response, God declared his sovereignty. He reminded Job that he is Lord over all, that he is the One who controls all things and whom all creation reports to. And when we cry out El Elyon, God Most High, we will get a response, too. Because we have access to God. The gap between the created and the Creator has been bridged.
While God certainly allowed Satan to destroy things in Job’s life for a certain amount of time and under certain limitations, God did not stretch out his hand and harm anything of Job’s himself. But he did stretch out his hand and lay out his wrath and judgement on his son.
On the cross, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
Except when Jesus committed his spirit to the hands of his father he was crushed. He took the punishment for our sin, the hand of God’s wrath, that we might take the hand of his leading and counsel.
God Most High is not a distant power of arrogant force. He is a God of supreme authority and complete control, and who is also so compassionate and so loving that though it cost him everything, he would come down and restore the relationship between himself and his people.
There is no one like this God, El Elyon. There is no religion like the Good News of Jesus Christ. And there is no understanding of ours that will ever grasp the greatness and majesty of this King, God Most High.
He is our God and our Savior, and we can trust the One who holds all things together because he has proved his love towards us.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. – Job 42:3
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:9
I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. – Psalm 17:6-7
Would you discredit my justice? – Job 40:8a
This verse really hit home for me as I wrestled with God’s sovereignty and the injustice in this world. It seems so unfair. I was discrediting God’s justice. While God is Sovereign and in complete control, he is also Just and entirely fair. Sin will not go unpunished.
As I went through scripture and took note of specifics that God is sovereign over, I made a list. God is Lord over:
- Everything that happens, all worldly and personal events (Daniel 4:34-35, Isaiah 14:24, 27, Isaiah 46:9-11)
- Seasons and time (Daniel 2:20-23)
- Kings, leaders, rulers, presidents (Daniel 2:20-23)
- Weather (Isaiah 5:5-7)
- Safety (Isaiah 5:5-7)
- Hearts (Isaiah 5:5-7, Mark 4:3-9, Ezekiel 36:26-27)
- Life, death, conception (Deuteronomy 32:39, 1 Samuel 1:5-6, Revelation 1:18)
- Wealth and poverty (1 Samuel 2:6-10)
- Status and fame (1 Samuel 2:6-10)
- Achievements (1 Samuel 2:6-10)
- Light and darkness (Isaiah 45:6-7)
- Peace and chaos (Isaiah 45:6-7)
Take some time to go through these verses. What is God teaching you about himself? Talk to him about it. What is easy to accept, what is hard to accept? What do you try to maintain control over? Ask God to reveal why and to help you trust him in that area.
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