When you look at nations that have a considerable amount of power, they are considered to be ‘sovereign nations.’ America, Russia, China, and India are a few of the nations in our world that are of sizeable populations, and they have influence within their specific regions of the world. What makes a nation ‘sovereign?’ For one, a nation must have some sort of authority to maintain self-sufficiency apart from the overwhelming interference of others. Secondly, a nation that is sovereign is one that can enact authority within its own parameters meaning that the nation can govern itself.
It is the concept of sovereignty that incorporates the idea of supremacy. However, when you look at every nation that considers itself to be ‘sovereign’ in the worldly sense, there isn’t a nation on Earth that is completely supreme in its existence. Sovereignty may include the realm of being able to self-govern, but even in our past and current history of humanity there have been organizations (NATO, The U.N.) that have established buffers against complete sovereignty. There is only one who reigns supreme over all and that is God Himself.
God’s sovereignty far outweighs what is considered to be sovereign in our world. While the definition of the word has some traits that apply to God, the difference is that God is supreme above every entity that humanity has put into place. In the book of Romans Chapter 9, the sovereignty of God is expressed by the Apostle Paul.
In this scripture, the Apostle Paul explains how God chose Israel, and the fact that God’s choice of those within the line of the Israelites was not always understandable from the human point of view. Paul makes mention of his Jewish heritage in verse 3. He goes on in verses 4-10 to say that within the line that God chose (from Abraham up until Jesus Christ) there were those who were not considered to be ‘children of God.’ You can view the full scripture here.
Paul’s point in those verses was that God’s purpose was carried out regardless of who was in the Israelite lineage. Just because someone was a descendant of Abraham for example, did not mean that they were a child of God which meant that God used those who were not necessarily in a relationship with Him. It was only those who were children of God’s promise who were considered, ‘children of God.’ Paul even mentions the birth of Issac through Sarah and Abraham in verse 10. Issac later married Rebekah and had twins. Notice what Paul says in verses 11-12:
(NLT) “But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.”
(NLT) “In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.” Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.”
What Paul is truly saying is that God will use anyone and shows mercy to anyone that He chooses. The sovereignty of God involves His supremacy but also His selective will to do what He desires or to use anyone He desires. To the mind of someone who is looking through human understanding, the question of fairness may be raised as Paul asserts. He asks, “Are we saying that God was unfair?” This question was asked in reference to Jacob and Esau. It was God’s will that Esau give up his birthright to Jacob rather than Esau the eldest keeping what was by birthing order, rightfully his. In the mind of most, this would seem unfair, but in God’s mind it was purposeful.
In verses 17-18, Paul even uses the example of Pharoah in Egypt. During the time of Moses, Pharoah was a corrupt and cruel leader who held the Israelites in bondage. Scripture also points to Pharoah’s heart being hardened by God. However, it was in God’s plan to use Pharoah to show the glory of God despite what seemed like a precarious and horrid situation for the Israelites.
Paul’s point is made clear in verses 18-19:
(NLT) “So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen. Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”
Not only does God choose to give mercy to those He desires, but He also decides who He will choose in terms of the hardening of the heart. Again, Paul asks what seems like a question asked in our humanity. However, Paul gives further explanation:
(NLT) “No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this? ”When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?”
The most important point to be made is that humanity is not in control. God has the power and the sovereignty to choose who and what He desires to use and to do so for the purposes of His will. So many have asked questions about tragedies that occur daily, and how the most evil human beings could exist. The truth is, that no one but God Himself has the answer to such questions.
In the mind of God, He knows what is best because He is God. It is also true that God can and does use what we think to be uncomfortable situations to bring glory to Himself, and to bring a better ending result within our lives. Who are we to question God in His supreme wisdom? There are many who are atheist and others who do not believe in God, who feel as though they have all of the answers. There are even those who blame God for all of the sinfulness and tragedies that occur. However, we who are the creation, do not have a right to tell the creator what to do.
As humans, we are to submit unto a Holy God and understand His Holiness and reverence Him based on who He is. The problem is that in our sinful nature, we are prideful. So, to most who are operating in sin, they are unwilling to even fathom the art of submission or obedience unto an authority, especially one that they cannot see. However, the sovereignty of God is immutable regardless of whether one chooses to believe or not.
Paul continues in verses 22-23 by saying:
(NLT) “In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory.”
The great thing about God is that He is patient. Even in our sin, He still waits for us to choose Him and to forsake our pride. Ultimately, God wants His purposes to be accomplished which will give Him glory. In turn, when we are obedient and follow Him, His glory is manifested in our lives making life more enjoyable.
Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins. If you don’t know Jesus Christ in the confession of your sins, you have an opportunity to know the God of grace, patience and mercy. Accept Christ, and see God’s will be made perfect in your life.