The Sovereignty of God Over the Nations

True or False?

God’s sovereign rule over nations is dependent upon the leaders of those nations submitting to His authority.

If you answered true, then you have a low view of God. The God who commanded the universe into existence(Psalm 33:6-9) and who sustains the universe(Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2-3) does not depend on the leaders of nations, i.e. presidents, kings, etc. to carry out His sovereign decreed will.

“The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.”

Psalm 33:10-11

God is sovereign over all, including all nations and all kingdoms. If He is not sovereign over all, then He is not sovereign at all. At the end of his life(1 Chronicles 29:26-28), king David knew this very well as he blessed the Lord.

“Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor 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.”(emphasis added)

1 Chronicles 29:10-12

As the one who who is exalted as head above all and as the one who rules over all, God is truly and undeniably the Sovereign Lord…of all. And that includes nations and leaders of nations.

“who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.”

Isaiah 40:23-24

With the legalization of same sex marriage, the LGBT agenda and the upcoming election, it doesn’t take an expert to understand that our nation is in a spiral moral and spiritual decline of epic proportions(Romans 1:18-32).

So with the dire situation our nation is in, we need to look to the all-sufficient Word of God. The following 3 case studies from the Scriptures will demonstrate that indeed God will carry out His plans and purposes no matter how ungodly the leaders are.

Case Study Study #1: Nero

This Roman emperor came into power 54 A.D. at the age of 17. At the age of 31 he committed suicide. He was a homosexual. It was under Nero’s reign that Peter was martyred.

When Peter wrote his first epistle to the “elect exiles”(1 Peter 1:1), Nero had burned Rome including all its cultural and religious artifacts and put the blame squarely on the Christians. So to say the least the persecution these Christians were already facing was suddenly intensified. Peter makes direct reference to this persecution when he refers to their trials(1 Peter 1:6-7), being spoken against as evildoers(1 Peter 2:12) reviled(1 Peter 3:9) and slandered(1 Peter 3:16) and suffering(1 Peter 4:12-19).

According to Tacitus, the Roman historian, Nero rolled Christians in pitch and then set them on fire while they were still alive and used them as living torches to light his garden parties. This was the emperor Peter was referring to when he wrote the following.

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,…”

1 Peter 2:13

How could he command these suffering Christians to be subject to such a maniac of an emperor? Because the Lord is sovereign. You see, the term “institution” in the Greek text is used exclusively of God and His work and His enterprises. It is never used of man.

“ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God,…”(emphasis added)

2 Corinthians 5:17-18a

The Greek for the term “creation” is, you guessed it, the same Greek word that Peter uses for the term “institution”. Just as the new creation is from God, so every human institution is from God. Why? Because God is sovereign over every human institution.

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

Romans 13:1

“He removes kings and sets up kings;”

Daniel 2:21

Case Study #2: Nebuchadnezzar

No less than 3 times the decree of God is made plain, so that Nebuchadnezzar would “know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will”(Daniel 4:17, 25, 32). Nebuchadnezzar was so proud that in arrogance he believed that he himself had built Babylon by his own power for his own glory(Daniel 4:30). So to show him that the Most High alone gives kingdoms to whom He wills, God brought him down to the lowliest of places, the kingdom taken from him, living with the beasts, eating grass, and “his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws.” God had said this would happen to Nebuchadnezzar.

“this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, 25 that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.”(emphasis added)

Daniel 4:24-25

Note that God’s decree is always God’s  “shalls”. It will undoubtedly happen. And so the word of the Lord was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar, and that immediately!

“All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.”(emphasis added)

Daniel 4:28-33

Eventually Nebuchadnezzar came to realize the sovereignty of God over all kingdoms!

At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for 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?”

Daniel 4:34-35

Nebuchadnezzar came to the reasoned conclusion that Isaiah the prophet echoed.

All the nations are as nothing before him,
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

Isaiah 40:17

Christian. Are you nervous about this upcoming election? Remember that God does according to His will and none can stay His hand because God’s sovereignty rules over the nations and over the ungodly leaders of those nations!

Case Study #3: Cyrus

Yet another case where the word of the Lord is fulfilled from an ungodly king.

“In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: 2 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem.”

Ezra 1:1-3

You ask, “How can this be?” Very simply.

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will.”(emphasis added)

Proverbs 21:1

“declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.”(emphasis added)

Isaiah 46:10-11

Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.

Psalm 115:2-3

 

 

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By | 2017-04-03T20:34:41+00:00 August 27th, 2016|Articles|Comments Off on The Sovereignty of God Over the Nations

About the Author:

Hariton Deligiannides
Pastor Hariton Deligiannides is the head of the elder board at Bethlehem Bible Church in West Boylston. Born in Greece, Hariton has a love for his culture and language. But his greatest love is the Lord Jesus Christ and serving Him. Married to Meta in 1996, they have 3 children, Isabella, Elizabeth and Zachary. Saved in 1985, Hariton attended Bethlehem Bible Church during his college days at WPI. He graduated Dallas Theological Seminary in 1992. He was on staff with the Navigators from 1993 to 2001, ministering in NY city. Then in 2001 he moved to Boston to church plant with the Southern Baptists. He was ordained to gospel ministry on June 21, 2003. He pastored Compass Community Church from 2001 to 2010. He joined Bethlehem Bible Church in 2010. Hariton‘s passions are theology, expository preaching and discipling men.