Day 16: May 19, 2017: Our God Rules over All
2 Chronicles 20:5-8: And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, 6 and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. 7 Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying,
There is no greater foundation for our faith in times of crisis than the truth that our God rules over all. Foreign nations had assembled together to invade and conquer Judah, but Jehoshaphat knew that the God of Judah was the “ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations.” He knew that God possessed supreme power and that no human foes could stand before Him. He knew that God had given Israel the land of Canaan by driving out the nations before them. And he knew that this mighty ruler God had placed his very presence in the temple in Jerusalem where the people of Judah were now gathered together to pray for deliverance.
When hardships come into our lives we too can trust in our sovereign God. Today God is still the Lord of the nations, and the Lord of the events in our lives. Today God is still all-powerful and there is nothing we can encounter which can stand before him. Today God has chosen and blessed us, his church, just as he had chosen and blessed Israel before us. Today God has placed his very presence, not in the buildings in which we worship, but rather in our very bodies. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17, 6:19-20).
So, car problems are not too big for God. Medical bills are not too big for God. Marriage problems are not too big for God. Conflict with your teenager is not too big for God. Depression and anxiety are not too big for God. Loss and grief are not too big for God. The Lord of heaven and earth rules over all of these things.
God allows trials of these kinds into our lives for various reasons. He wants us to learn to trust and depend completely on him (see Hebrews 11, where the ‘heroes’ of faith experienced great trials). Through our weaknesses, sufferings, and trials God reveals his glory, power, and grace (Ex. 14, Jn. 9, 2 Cor. 12:1-10). God uses hardships to discipline and prune us that we might come to be Christ-like and share in his holiness (Jn. 15:1-11, Romans 8:18-30, Heb. 12:3-17, James 1:2-18, 1 Peter 1:3-9 and 4:1-6). This combined Scriptural witness means that we can trust our sovereign God to not only be our shield and defender in times of attack and trial – as Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah did – but that also we can trust God to use the hard times in life for our good and his glory.
Therefore there are three important ways to pray when trials come: 1) Pray for God’s deliverance and protection, 2) Pray that God will teach you and mold you through the hardship to become more like Jesus and more fruitful for his kingdom, and 3) Pray that God will use your hardship to reveal his glory and power, and advance his kingdom.
Take time now to acknowledge and trust in God’s sovereignty. This prayer can help you get started: “O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, you are the sovereign ruler of all things. Might and power are in your hand, and none can stand before you. I confess my fear and anxiety over the troubles I am facing, but I also acknowledge that you are in control and that nothing is too big for you. Lord, according to your will deliver and protect me. Teach me through these trials and mold me to become more like Jesus. Reveal, O God, your glory and goodness in and through what I am facing. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”