A company’s organizational chart explains the interrelationships within the company, the name at the top is the one in charge! That person has authority over all the others, dictating how things are to function and the various roles of his subordinates.
When it comes to the universe there is only one at the top and that is God. The Creator rules over all. Unlike earthly leaders, God rules with absolute authority, possessing all power and knowledge, with complete freedom to exercise His will and to fulfill His purposes.
While there are many excellent reasons to be joyful over this truth, this doctrine is difficult for us to understand. For example, one might ask, if God is sovereign, why did He allow sin, death, evil, pain and tears into this world. A. W. Tozer had this to say, “While a complete explanation of the origin of sin eludes us, there are a few things we do know. In His sovereign wisdom God has permitted evil to exist in carefully restricted areas of His creation, a kind of fugitive outlaw whose activities are temporary and limited in scope.”
Another question often raised has to do with the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. If God is sovereign over all, how can He hold man responsible for the sinful choices he makes? This question has not only been the source of much debate in the church through the centuries, it also led to the forming of two different theological camps, Arminianism and Calvinism. There’s a tendency to emphasize either side of this puzzle to the negation of the other, but It should not escape our notice there are examples in Scripture of God working through the sinful choices of men to accomplish His predetermined plan (see for example Genesis 50:20 and Acts 2:23).
Joel Beeke used this helpful illustration to explain, “Just as the rails of a train track, which run parallel to each other, appear to merge in the distance, so the doctrines of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, which seem separate from each other in this life, will merge in eternity. Our task is not to force their merging in this life but to keep them in balance and to live accordingly.”
Having said all that, it is easy to get caught up in the theological details and miss the glorious point. What a comfort to know the ship of humanity is not sailing off course to some unknown destination! God is the captain and the ship is headed exactly to where He has purposed for it to go. As A. W. Tozer has said, “We know that God will fulfill every promise made to the prophets; we know that sinners will someday be cleansed out of the earth; we know that a ransomed company will enter into the joy of God and that the righteous will shine forth in the kingdom of their Father; we know that God’s perfections will yet receive universal acclamation, that all created intelligences will own Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of God the Father, that the present imperfect order will be done away, and a new heaven and a new earth will be established forever.”
Heavenly Father. All praise and thanksgiving belongs to You. Lord, You work all things according to the counsel of Your will. It is a great comfort to realize all power and authority is vested in You, the One who is good and has our best at heart. There is so much angst and confusion in this broken world. Lord, help us to always remember “though the wrong seems oft so strong, You are the ruler yet,” and always will be. Amen.”