The Sovereignty of God

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The Sovereignty of God

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Who, according to the Bible, is the ultimate ruler over the nations?

“O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?” (2 Chronicles 20:6 2 Chronicles 20:6And said, O LORD God of our fathers, are not you God in heaven? and rule not you over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in your hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand you?
American King James Version×
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How does the Bible compare the power of God to the power of nations?

“Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; . . . and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless” (Isaiah 40:15-17 Isaiah 40:15-17 15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he takes up the isles as a very little thing. 16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. 17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.
American King James Version×
, compare Isaiah 40:22-23 Isaiah 40:22-23 22 It is he that sits on the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in: 23 That brings the princes to nothing; he makes the judges of the earth as vanity.
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Does the Bible reveal how God interacts with nations’ leaders to carry out His will?

“Now in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken 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, saying, thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah” (Ezra 1:1-2 Ezra 1:1-2 1 Now 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, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2 Thus said Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he has charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
American King James Version×
; compare 2 Chronicles 36:22 2 Chronicles 36:22Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
American King James Version×
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God revealed to the prophet Jeremiah that after 70 years in Babylonian captivity some of the Jewish people would be allowed to return to their homeland. They would rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the temple. To fulfill this prophecy, God influenced and perhaps controlled some of the thoughts and decisions of Cyrus, king of Persia. He “stirred up the spirit of Cyrus” so that the king would issue an edict allowing Jerusalem and the temple to be rebuilt.

Can God influence the head of any nation at will?

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD . . . He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1 Proverbs 21:1The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he will.
American King James Version×
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We can see that the reason God has not stopped human suffering and anguish on the earth is not because He lacks control over what human beings do. He can control even those at the highest levels of government. What we see is that He has chosen to exercise that control exceedingly sparingly.

God has a plan, a great purpose He is working out. That great design requires that He allow people to exercise free will. We have the option to make choices contrary to His law. God—in carrying out His purpose—permits people to make choices that oppose His perfect will.