Did you know that pastor John MacArthur recently celebrated his birthday?
Those of us who are of the school of Reformed theology boast about the sovereignty of God, as highlighted by the following two verses.
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”
“ In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,”
So the sovereignty of God is that God does all that He pleases and works all things according to the counsel of His will.
But we believe the total sovereignty of God, that He is sovereign over all things, not the partial sovereignty of God, meaning that He is sovereign over just some things. After all, by definition, God is sovereign OF all or He is not sovereign AT all.
David’s final words express the total sovereignty of God, as seen by the repeated use of the term “all”.
“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. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all.”
1 Chronicles 29:11-12
So all that is in the heavens and in the earth is God’s.
He is exalted as head over all.
He rules over all.
Note the following 4 areas God is sovereign over.
1) Pouring of rain on the earth – that is nature
“He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.”
2) Princes of the earth – that is rulers of nations
God is sovereign over who rules
‘The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’’
God is sovereign over how long they rule.
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. 21 He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;”
“who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. 24 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.”
God is sovereign over rulers’ decisions
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”
“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:”
3) People – even when they intend evil against you
“But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
“Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?”
At this point, you may be thinking to yourself, “Pastor Mike needs to recant his decision and find another blogger for NoCo. This guy does not know how to blog. His thoughts are disconnected. He started by mentioning John MacArthur’s birthday and then he went into the sovereignty of God. What does John MacArthur’s birthday have to do with the sovereignty of God?”
Glad you asked. The answer: Everything.
You see, even in reformed circles people seem overly concerned, if not anxious and worried, about who will replace John MacArthur, as he recently turned 75. Now, don’t get me wrong. We are to honor and respect and submit and obey our leaders. In the words of Hebrews 13:7, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”
Pastor John MacArthur has had a major influence on my life, and I told him so at the 2012 TSC. No, I did not attend the Master’s Seminary, but his influence on me remains unabated because of his sermons and books.
So if you are Reformed, trust that God is sovereign over this even, and stop worrying about who the next John MacArthur will be. The very next verse says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”(Heb. 13:8) In other words, leaders come and leaders go, but the head of the Church, Jesus Christ, remains. He will raise up the next generation of leaders who will not compromise biblical truth.