The Christian Way of approaching Adversity (Part 8) – God reigns, God is good
Sunday English Service – 02 MAY 21
We are right now, in the middle of a small teaching series within a bigger teaching series. For the last seven weeks, or seven sermons, we have been teaching a series called “The Christian Approach to Suffering”. That’s the big series. And within that, under that, for the last two weeks we have been teaching, you may say, a small series. And what is that? Well, this is, we’ve been saying for the last two weeks that one of the important things as a Christian, the way to approach suffering, one of the important things you need to do is, you need to remember the basic truths about God. The big series is how do you approach suffering and troubles as a Christian? As a Christian, how do you face them? How do you live in the middle of them? How do you handle them and overcome them? That’s the big series. And one of the answers to that question is, you remember the basic truths about God. The Christian, when he goes through problems, when he faces challenges, should remember the basic truths about God. That’s the smaller series.
Now, why is this important? Because we tend to forget. As humans, we have a natural tendency to forget, and particularly when we go through problems, it is very easy to forget, not forget as in, we forgot, you know, and we can’t remember but it’s not big in our mind. The basic truths about God that we already know, that we already believe, are not very big in our mind. They’re not occupying, they’re not dominating our mind, when we are facing problems. And that’s why I’m reminding you about these basic truths about God; for the last weeks or two weeks, I’ve been reminding you some basic truths. What are they? God knows what you’re going through, God knows; God cares. He knows what you’re going through, He also cares. That means He’s going to do something about it. And then, last week, we saw God can, God can do all things. And also, God will do for you. When you ask, He will do for you, because you’re His child, and He’s your Father, and so on, right? These four basic truths, we’ve seen over the last couple of sermons. God knows God cares, God can, God will. These are simple, these are basic, but it is important to remember them. By remembering them, by meditating on them, by focusing on them, we get comfort.
I hope in the last couple of weeks, you’ve got some comfort. You have been going through difficult situations, but I hope you got some comfort. I hope you got some hope for the future, that things are going to get better because God knows, and God cares, and God can, and God will. And I hope you have got some strength for today, for your present circumstances, no matter what you are facing. When you remember these truths and when you meditate on them, they give you strength for today and hope for tomorrow. So that’s what we’re continuing now, where I’m going to continue even today, I’m going to talk about two basic truths, two more basic truths about our God. I’m going to remind you about this. What are these two basic truths? One is God reigns; God reigns. God rules and reigns. God reigns, right? Secondly, God is good. Right? Would you say that after me? Wherever you are in your house, if you can just say; some of these things, only if you say, you’ll remember, right? Otherwise, you may come to the end of my one hour or more than one hour sermon. Don’t get scared. It’s okay. You know, I’ll try not to go too long, but I can’t promise. But I don’t want you to come to the end of the long sermon and then say, I don’t, you know, you didn’t know what I was talking about. So that’s one of the reasons we say to repeat, so even if you’re at your house today, I think you should open your mouth and say this, “God reigns. God is good”. In fact, go ahead and say all these, the previous four and these two: God knows, say “God knows; God cares; God can; God will”. And today, “God reigns and God is good”. Right? That’s what today we’re going to look at these last two ones: God reigns and God is good.
Again, these are not some very novel or new truths; you know this already. You know that God reigns, you know that God is good. But it’s so important to remember these truths at this time. Especially when, today, it looks like evil is reigning – ruling and reigning. It seems that way, doesn’t it? But I want to remind you today, my friend, when it seems that way, I want to remind you the truth, which is God reigns over and above evil. Over and above everything else, God reigns. God is on the throne, God’s in control, God reigns. And this God, He is not evil, and He does not do evil. He is a good God. God is good. So that’s what we’re talking about today. God reigns and God is good. Maybe some of you are thinking, well, if God reigns and God is good, then why is the world like this, in the condition that it is today? I’m going to answer, I’m going to give a small answer to that question later on in the message, in a couple of places. But first, we’ve got to start with the basics. Let’s look at these two truths. God reigns God is good. Let’s remind ourselves about these powerful truths. Let’s begin with God reigns.
What does it mean when we say, “God reigns”, “God rules”, “God reigns”, right? What does that mean? Let me, kind of, break it up into a few steps and so that I can explain what that means, right? What’s involved in that? There’s a lot involved; we’ll just give you the basics. When we say, “God reigns”, we mean that number one, God has, not only all power, but all authority. Not only all power, but all authority. ‘Authority’ is the key word. First, you’ve got to think about this word ‘authority’. You know, there’s a difference between power and authority. We saw the power of God last week, remember? God can – God can do all things. He’s all powerful, right? But today, we’re saying God reigns. Does that mean we’re saying the same thing? No, “God reigns” is saying something, over and above “God can”, because there’s a difference between power and authority. Let me give you an example. There are some people who have power, who have ability, who can. God can. Well, I’m giving an example. There are some people who can do a lot of things, but they really can’t do it, because they don’t have authority. They are not in a position of authority. You know, some people are there, you know, if only they were in a position of authority, they could do a lot of good because they can do it, but they are not in a position of authority. They don’t have that authority; they don’t have that position. So, their power becomes useless. Contrary to that, on the on the other side, there are some people who are in authority, but they can’t do hardly good things. They’re not able, they don’t have the ability, they don’t have this or that. They have authority there; they have that position. Right? But they’re not able to do. So, it’s not enough to have power. Authority is also needed. Both are needed – power and authority. And our God has all power, but also all authority. Authority means, the right to do something. Power is the ability to do it. Authority is the right to do it. God has not only power, but authority; not only ability, but also the right to do. The right to rule. In fact, He alone has that right to rule above all. That’s my second point. You know, the first one is authority. God has authority, right? Second one is, He has supreme authority – supreme authority. That means He is at the top. What does that word ‘supreme’ mean? For example, we use the word in say, ‘Supreme Court’. There are many courts in the land. There is a High Court. There are many High Courts, right? There are even lower courts than that. Right? But there is only one Supreme Court. That word ‘supreme’ indicates that this is above all else; everything else is below this. Similarly, there are many authorities you may say, in the world. Many people in high places, you may say. Many rulers you may say, but there is only one supreme authority. There is only one who is at the very top, and that is our God; that is your God.
When we say God reigns, we mean He has authority, but not only that, He has supreme authority over all else. The very top position. He is on the throne. And in fact, He alone, has the right to rule overall. He alone has the authority to command other authorities. Because He’s the One who created everything, and He’s the One who owns everything. You know, He’s like the owner; the earth and the fullness thereof, belong to the Lord. The Psalm says, “The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord”. Yes, He has given it into the hands of man and entrusted man with the responsibility and so on. But man is not the owner. You may think of man as the tenant, as the steward, given this world, and given authority and rulership and responsibility and all that is true. And man has a lot of freedom. Man has a lot of authority; man has a lot of power. But the thing is, God is like the owner. He’s above everyone and everything. He’s the supreme authority. You know, there is none above Him and all are below Him. The Bible teaches this in so many places, in so many ways. In fact, it’s there, everywhere, so much so, that we miss it. I’ll give you an example.
If you take the titles of God, right, just one example, titles. You know, God has many titles, many names in the Bible. For example, the most common name, almost the most common name probably, is the word ‘Lord’. Lord, right? In your Bibles, in the Old Testament, again, again, you will see ‘Lord’, ‘Lord’, ‘Lord’, the ‘Lord God’, you know? Thus, saith the Lord, right? It appears more than 7,000 times, in the Old Testament alone. It comes in the New Testament, also speaking about Jesus Christ. Jesus is Lord, the Lord Jesus. What does that ‘Lord’ mean? Sometimes, we use it, without understanding. ‘Lord’ means, He’s at the very top; He’s the ruler; He’s the master. Every time that word ‘Lord’ comes, it is declaring that our God is at the very top. But we miss it because it comes so often. And we’re used to it. Take another title: Most High. Abraham says, “I will stretch my hands to no one except the Most High God”, right? “The Most High”. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High; the “Most High”.
Take another title: “King of kings and Lord of lords”. Why is it put like that? The reason is, there are several kings, in those days; kings ruled the nations, you know. Several kings were there. So, there can be many kings, but there’s only One who’s King of the kings; King over the kings, Lord over the Lords. I’m not going to read many verses, but just one or two as representative versus, you know. So many places where, in the Old Testament and the New Testament, God is referred to as the King of kings. But look at this one verse: 1 Timothy 6:15 – a very powerful description of our God. 1 Timothy 6:15, talking about God, he says, “Our God is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords”. I’m reading from the ESV translation. Some of the older translations use the word: He is the sole potentate, the only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. The only One like this; there’s no one in His position. There’s no one in His category. There’s no one in His class. He’s unique all on His own. He is by Himself, in a class of His own. He’s the only great ruler. There’s no one like Him.
Give you an Old Testament verse; that’s a New Testament verse. There are many verses; I don’t have the time to give, unfortunately. But here is an Old Testament verse, speaking about how God has authority over kings, right. Daniel 2:21. Daniel 2:21: “He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings”. “He removes kings and sets up kings”. You know, Daniel is full of references like this, where even Nebuchadnezzar, this foreign, ungodly king, speaks truth about the King of kings, you know. In Daniel 2;47 Nebuchadnezzar says to Daniel, “Truly your God is God of gods and Lord of kings”. “God of gods and Lord of kings”, so many ways. What I’m trying to say is the Bible teaches that He, our God, is at the very top. Our God is at the very top, supreme authority. Use whatever word you want to use, ‘King’, ‘Lord’, ‘God’, ‘Leader’, whatever, He is the person at the very top. Problem is, we are always having our eyes on this level. We are often just looking at the people who are in authority on this level, at the ground level. Human authorities, leaders; we’re looking at them and we are expecting from them and we are doing it. It’s not wrong to do that. But I’m saying, as Christians, as people of God, we need to do more than that. We need to lift up our eyes above, to the One at the very top, who’s our God and realize that He is the supreme authority. He’s got authority; He’s got supreme authority.
Thirdly, with all this authority, He rules; He reigns. He rules and reigns. I say this because there are some people who have authority and position, but they don’t rule. They don’t use that. Right. They are there, you know, they have a position. They don’t use it. They don’t really, you know, rule. So, based on them having the authority and the power, is a waste, but our God doesn’t abandon His throne. He rules and reigns. How many places the Bible talks about this? In the Psalms again and again, you will see the statement: The Lord reigns. The Lord reigns. Right. For example, Psalm 93: The Lord reigns; He is robed in majesty. Or another example, Psalm 22:28: For kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations. Who rules? The Lord. Lift up your eyes and put your eyes on the Lord, who rules over the nations. Not just one place; He rules over the nation. Kingship belongs to him above all else. Psalm 47: For God is the King of all the earth. Problem is, we’re only looking at lower kings, lower authorities, lower leaders. My friend, your God is the King of all the earth. Sing praises with a psalm. Verse 8: God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne. He has authority, supreme authority and He’s ruling and reigning over all the earth. You see, when you realize this, when this hits you, when your mind and heart is dominated by this, it can have an amazing effect on you, my friend. You see, if you realize that our God is on the throne, our God is ruling and reign, He has supreme authority, then you won’t fear anything. You won’t be afraid of anything. Your fears will go down. Peace will rule your heart. That’s why I’m talking about this today.
Today, there’s so many reasons to fear, you know. Fear is always speaking to our mind, doesn’t it? Fear says, “what will happen?” God knows what will happen. What’s going to happen tomorrow? What if this happens? What if that happens? And sometimes, we just stay silent. No, we need to open our mouth and reply. When fear tries to come into our mind and tries to dominate, let me suggest something. Open your mouth and say, My God reigns. My God reigns; my God is on the throne. My God rules. My God is at the top. He’s got things in control. Open your mouth and say things like that, my friend. That’s what we’re talking about. God reigns. Nothing is outside his authority and control. We don’t have to fear, you see? We fear because things are not in our control. We can’t control everything. We’re just human beings. We can control some things. We can control how we feel, for example, and control what’s in our mind and things like that. Right. We do have some control. Yeah, we have quite a bit of control, but we don’t have all control. We can’t control the whole world; we can’t control what happens everywhere. We can’t control what others do, sometimes. But guess what? Our God is on the throne and He can control everything and anything. Everything is in His control; He rules, He reigns supreme. And so, you do what you can do, what you need to do. And then you say, beyond this, it’s not in my control. I’m not going to worry about it. Because God rules, God reigns. God rules. God is on the throne. I’m going to leave it up to Him. He knows what He’s doing; He’s a great king. You see, this is how you reply to your fear, my friend. So, God reigns, means He has authority, supreme authority, and He’s using that to rule and reign over all the earth, over the nations.
And that leads to the fourth point, I want to say, which is, He rules and reigns overall. His reign is absolute, overall. You see, I just mentioned, right? Everything is in His control. Now, that does not mean He’s doing everything. Listen carefully. I’m saying God reigns over all. I’m not saying God is doing everything. There’s a difference, when we say, God reigns over all, verses, God is doing all. When we say, God reigns over all, that does not mean, God is doing all things. No, no. I’m not saying God is responsible for all the bad things happening; He is the One doing it. No, no, no, no, no, no. But He is ruling over all; everything is under Him. Everything is not outside of His authority and control. Nothing is beyond. Nothing is so great, that it’s beyond His control and His authority. That’s what we’re trying to say – God rules and reigns overall; His rule is absolute.
Let me expand on that. Because I want you to know how far His rule goes, how wide and how high and how deep it is; how absolute it is. God rules over everything, in every place, all the time, including all the details. God rules, everything, and everyone, in every place, all the time, including the details, in a detailed way, in a minute way. Everything is under His authority; no one or nothing is outside his authority. No one or nothing can stop His rule. No one or nothing can stop Him from doing what He wants to do. Nothing can stop God. That’s what we mean when we say, He rules; He reigns over all beings. If He decides to do something, if He purposes to do a thing, nothing and no one can stop it. Man cannot stop it. The most powerful men cannot stop it. They have tried. For example, the Egyptian Pharaoh tried. You know, that’s the world’s superpower at the time. And he was the man at the top, the king. But he comes against God’s purposes. God wants his people out of slavery, out of Egypt. But he tries to get in the way. He tries to stop but he can’t. He uses his power and everything and he can’t stop God. Other kings have tried, for example, Herod the Great in the New Testament. Herod the Great – that’s how he’s known in history. Remember, he’s the guy on the throne when Jesus was born as a baby. And Herod hears about the birth of Jesus from the wise men, and he hears, you know, they’re talking about this baby as the “Son of God” and as a “King” and all that. And he gets scared. And he is a king who’s thinking, who is this new king? They say, a new king has been born in Bethlehem. So, he wants to, you know, basically destroy, kill that baby. He tries, uses all his power, might, authority, cunning craftiness, deception, but he cannot succeed. Nothing or no one can get in God’s way. Roman emperors, you know, they say the greatest Empire probably was the Roman Empire. Roman emperors in their height have tried to stamp out Christianity. They’ve tried to come against God’s purposes. Every time they failed. What ended up happening is, the Roman Empire became Christian. See, nothing or no one can stop God from fulfilling His purposes. He rules overall. Over, not only, mankind, over the forces of nature. I’m talking about God’s rule is absolute. There is nothing outside his control or there is nothing that He can’t control – let me put it like that. There’s nothing that, you know, even God can’t bring it into control. No, there’s nothing like that. People talk about the forces of nature, out of control; nobody can control. Yeah, we can’t control it. The forces of nature. Like, for example, the ocean, the sea, you know, but God very easily controls it. The sea cannot stand in His way, cannot prevent him from fulfilling His purposes. The Red Sea could not stand in His way, in the way of God’s people, could it? Just with a stretch of a hand, God splits open the Red Sea, makes a highway through the sea.
Take the New Testament, Jesus, just with a word, He calms the storm and the sea – absolute control over the forces of nature. Man can’t get in the way; nature can’t get in the way – evil forces. I say this, because especially today, there are so many evil forces at work. Seems like evil is everywhere. But I say to you, my friend, I want to remind you today, that your God reigns, and He reigns so absolutely, and so amazingly, that evil forces cannot get in His way; cannot stop Him from doing what He wants to do. For example, the devil is an evil force; he cannot stop God. He is not on the same level as God. It may seem that way, based on what’s happening in many places, but the devil is not on the same level as God. He can’t challenge God’s authority, he’s not all powerful.
You know, I say this because some people think in those terms. You know, there is an entire worldview – there are people in the world who have a worldview, it’s called dualism. Basically, the worldview is like this: there’s good and there’s evil, and they both are there, in somewhat equal measure, and equally powerful, and they both fight against. Good fights against evil. Sometimes good wins, sometimes evil wins. It’s called dualism. It’s the reality. Some people believe in that. Now, the thing is, some Christians believe, something not like that, but something close to it. Sometimes, they think there’s God, this devil, and you know, they both have almost the same power and authority, and they fight each other. And sometimes God, and sometimes they… No, my friend. The devil is not on the same level as God. I’m reminding you of things you already know. The devil is nowhere close to God. The devil does not have all power, all authority, he just can’t do whatever he wants; he can only operate within certain limits. For example, the devil is nothing before Jesus; he’s under His feet. It’s not like, they both are boxing each other, Jesus, and the devil. No. The devil is under the feet of Jesus – picture that. He is not on the same level, under His feet.
Remember, when Jesus was in His earthly ministry, He drove out the demons, you know. And you see the demons just bowing before Him, you know. They just humbled themselves before Jesus, they beg Him. You know that one case comes to mind, especially Mark chapter 5, where Jesus drives out the demons from this man, many thousands of demons, probably many, many demons are in that one man, right? In fact, when He speaks to the man, and the demon replies. Jesus says, “What’s your name?” The demon says, “My name is Legion, for we are many”. Legion means probably many thousands. “We are many” – many thousands of demons might have been in that one man, to that extent he was possessed. And yet, if you see the way the demon talks to Jesus, in that place – Mark chapter 5 – I don’t have time to read it, you go read it. The demon is begging Jesus, saying, “Please don’t drive us out of here”. You know, we don’t have anywhere to go. If you drive us out of this man, at least, give us the permission to enter those pigs. You know, there were some 2,000 pigs in a nearby place, on a hill. The demons begged Jesus for permission. And Jesus said, “Okay”, and He drove out the demons in one word, and they go to those pigs and that’s where you see the power of those demons. When those demons entered those pigs, those pigs lose their mind, and they run down that cliff, jump into the sea, kill themselves, 2000 pigs, the town is shocked. Such an evil force. And yet before Jesus, it begs, bows down.
Jesus is far above all evil forces, far above. Ephesians 1:21 says, “He’s far above”, right? Ephesians 1:21: Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet… He’s on top; nothing comes close to Him. Evil forces cannot compete, cannot challenge his authority. My friend, this is your Jesus, your Saviour, your Lord – I’m reminding you. Take an evil force like sickness, God rules over these evil forces. God does not commit evil, but He rules over evil. Evil does not come from Him. He does not commit evil, but He rules over evil, meaning when evil happens sometimes, we may not be able to do things about it. We may feel like it’s beyond our control, but it’s never beyond His control. He is never perturbed by the evil like we are. He is on the throne. He rules over everything, including evil – take an evil like sickness. That’s an evil and it seems to be ruling. It’s a big deal for us. But I say to you, my friend, it’s not a big deal for God. It’s not a big deal for God. Take Jesus, how many times He healed the sick. Not even a single time, did He try and fail? Did you ever see anything like that? No. Every time He heals people of anything, whatever their sicknesses, whether it is a small fever or something as challenging as, you know, a man born blind. Pretty easily, He heals. It’s amazing. It shows not only His power, but His authority. How far above these evil forces Jesus is?
The Jesus that you read in the Gospels, is still the same today and He’s alive and He’s working today. He’s in our midst today, as we preach, I believe the presence of Jesus is there where you are. Look up to Him as great, not to these evil forces. Don’t consider these evil forces as great. Yeah, they are great in our eyes, in the world’s eyes. But I’m saying, God is far above all that, Jesus is far above all that. We trust in Him. We depend on him. Take an evil force like death. Death, what a terrible thing that is. How much pain it inflicts. Death, you know. But death cannot stop God from doing what He wants to do. You know, the devil, when Jesus died and He was buried and kept in the tomb, right? The devil probably thought that’s it. Story’s over. They said He may be the Saviour of the world, but I finished him, put them on the cross, and it’s done, over. He’s dead and now He’s buried. The stone has been, you know, they’ve covered the tomb with a stone, and they’ve sealed it and it’s over. The matter is over. Case closed. He thought death won but on the third day, Jesus rose again, showing that God rules over death completely, completely. I’m trying to simply say, “God rules over everything, including the evil forces”. Because now, when evil forces seem rampant everywhere, you should not think God Himself is perturbed or helpless or doesn’t know what to do or lost control. No, my friend He rules over evil. He doesn’t commit evil, but He rules over evil.
Job 42 – Job recognizes that nothing can stop God’s purposes. Job 42. When his mind becomes clear, when Job repents, this is what he says. Verse two: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted…” No purpose of yours can be thwarted. God’s rule is absolute overall. I’ve shown you that He rules over mankind, over nature, over evil forces, over everything, everyone. Let me also say a few words about how He rules in every place, every time. Every place, it doesn’t matter where God rules, there is no place where He is not ruling, where He does not have authority. You know, this comes out in different ways. For example, in the New Testament, we are taught that the name of Jesus has authority everywhere. Philippians 2, At the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, every tongue should confess. Where? In heaven, and on earth and under the earth. Have you noticed that? Heaven, earth, under, why? Because in those days, people divided the whole universe into three. Basically, that’s the way they thought: Heaven, earth, under the earth – three realms. Paul is saying, according to their understanding, he speaks, and he says, “The whole universe, the whole existence, all three realms – heaven, earth, under it – wherever you go, if you utter the name of Jesus, the name of Jesus carries power and authority everywhere. There is nowhere, no place, where His name does not have authority”. It doesn’t matter if it’s heaven or earth or under the earth, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess.
Even the Old Testament teaches that Psalm 135, verse 6, Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven, on earth, in the seas, and all the depths. It doesn’t matter where it is. He rules over everything; He rules in every place; He rules all the time, all the time, all the time. There’s no time that, you know when things are going well, it seems like He’s ruling. But even when things are going bad, He’s still ruling; there is no end to His rule. He has been ruling from eternity past to eternity future, He will rule. The Bible puts it like this in many places: He will rule forever; He will reign forever. For example, Psalm 146, verse 10, The Lord will reign forever, your God to all generations. “Forever”. There are too many verses, no time to. I’m just reminding, I just want to remind you of things you already know. He rules over everything, in every place, all the time. And let me say this, about His absolute rule, very important. He rules over all the details, even the minute details.
Usually, when we think about somebody ruling and reigning from the top, you know, they’re in a very high position, the way we think is, they’re not going to be concerned about the small minute details, the seemingly insignificant stuff, right? Happening somewhere, in some corner of the kingdom, the king can’t worry about that. Obviously, he can’t be looking at all the small stuff, he’ll be looking at the big stuff, but not the minute, the seemingly insignificant stuff, but our God is at the very top. He’s higher than the highest king, and yet, He looks into the lowest of the lowest and the most minute details. He rules over all the details.
Jesus Himself talks about how, you know, in Matthew 10:29, He talks about how, even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground, apart from God knowing and willing. Some translations put it as “knowing”; some translations put it as “willing”, you know. Matthew 10:29, Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground, apart from your Father. That means, one sparrow falling to the ground, may be insignificant for man, it may mean nothing for man, it may be a small, insignificant detail but God rules over that detail.
Proverbs 16:33, an amazing verse. Proverbs 16:33, The lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every decision is from the Lord. Have you read this verse? “The lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every decision is from the Lord”. In those days, they used to cast lots. Sometimes, when they had to make a decision, you know, and where there are two parties or three parties, whatever, in order to give everybody an equal chance, so to speak, or in order to remove the decision-making process from anybody’s control or influence, what they’ll do is, they’ll say, “Okay, I won’t control it; you don’t control it. Let’s just cast lots and see what this tells us. We’ll leave it up to random chance”. Whatever the lot says, whatever the dice, you know, you accept the rolling of the dice. We don’t know what’s going to come, you don’t know. I don’t know. We just roll it. Like the coin, toss of a coin. We don’t know whether it’s going to be heads or tails. Let’s leave it up to chance or whatever, right? It’s not in my control, not in your control. But this verse says, even that, is under His control. He is not left to the whims of randomness and chance and fate, as people think. No, my friend, God rules and reigns over every random thing. Over fate – what people call us fate; what people call us chance. It doesn’t matter. He rules and reigns overall, nothing is outside his control.
Proverbs 19:21, Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Thousands of thoughts and plans in the mind of a man but it is the purpose of the Lord, which will. Why am I talking about this? I’m trying to say His rule is so absolute, down to the smallest details. I’m not saying He’s doing everything, Again, let me clarify, I’m not saying He’s doing everything. No, I’m saying He’s ruling over everything, down to the smallest details, so that nothing ever goes outside His control. Now, why is this important? Because see, we are worried about the details. And we are worried that He is not concerned about the details. Right. And there’s so many details to worry about. If you want to worry, you can worry all day. In today’s world, you know, there’s so many things to worry about. There are great things, big things, there’s small things, even stepping outside the house has become a problem. That itself has become a matter of concern and worry. Can we go there and buy this and come back safely? If you want to worry, there are a thousand things we can pile on ourselves and worry about. My friend, I want to tell you, you don’t have to be worried about all that. Because your God rules over all. He’s on the throne. He rules overall, including all the details. Nothing ever goes beyond or outside His control. God is in control. Say that, “God’s in control” – say that to yourself. God’s in control; things are going to be fine! God’s in control; things are going to get better! God’s in control; things are going to improve! God’s in control; things will work out for me! God’s in control; He will see to it! God’s in control; God reigns.
See, this truth that ‘God reigns’, needs to become very real to you. It needs to become very big to you, like it became to Isaiah. In Isaiah, chapter 6, in a world where people were probably worried and afraid, you know. Isaiah, chapter 6, is an amazing chapter, where Isaiah sees God’s glory, right. I don’t have time to read it, but you go read in Isaiah 6, verse 1. Many people miss how it begins: In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, seated on the throne, high and lifted up; the train of his robe filling the temple. People focus on the vision and the vision is just amazing – Isaiah sees God’s glory, like few have ever seen. But it’s important when he saw it. When did he see it? In the year that King Uzziah died, you know. In those days, when a king dies, it’s a period of great turmoil, confusion because we don’t know who’s going to come next and become the next king, and there’ll be fights about that and, you know, all kinds of things can happen, especially when the king like Uzziah, who ruled for many, many years. And under who’s rule, you know, the land, kind of, prospered in a way. Other things happened, but overall, the land was in a good condition but then he died, everything was up for grabs. See, in that time, then the nation is probably, concerned, afraid, thinking what’s going to happen next. In the year that King Uzziah died; in the year, where there is no leadership here; in the time when you can’t hope in anything here; Isaiah looks up and he sees the Lord, seated on the throne, high and lifted up; the train of His robe filling the temple. The land is mourning the death of this great king, Uzziah. Up there, things are going quite smoothly. No morning up there; He’s ruling and reigning, see. Isaiah sees that great vision of God’s glory and that changes him; it makes them a bold person. In that passage, God says, “Who will go and do my purposes”, and Isaiah says, “I’ll go”. Once he’s seen God’s glory; once he’s seen God on the throne; once this truth, that God reigns becomes real to him, it doesn’t matter who’s on the throne here. It doesn’t matter who rules here, it doesn’t. All those things matter, little, if you are consumed with the thought that God reigns, my friend. God reigns; God rules; God’s on the throne; God’s got everything in control, whether they seem like it or not. Whether circumstances seem to point in that direction or not.
I’ve spoken all this about God reigning. Now, let me ask you a question. Does this give you comfort and hope? When I announce, declare, when I remind you that God reigns, your God reigns, your God is on the throne. Is that a comforting truth for you? Does that bring you comfort, my friend? Does that give you hope for the future, things will get better? He’s on the throne. Does that give you a surety, a confidence? The reason I’m asking is, you see, the truth that God reigns, can have two different effects on people. One is a positive effect. Like I said, it can give you comfort, it can give you hope, it can give you a confidence, it can make you feel at peace; God’s on the throne. Thank God, you know. God’s on the throne. Thank God, you know. You know, I can have hope that things will get better. God’s on the throne; I’m just going to trust in that. It can have that positive effect. But not only that, but it can also have a negative effect. When some people hear that God’s on the throne, they are not receiving comfort or hope, or strength or confidence. Rather, they are getting more afraid. Some people, when they hear that God reigns, they’re getting afraid. If God reigns, what’s going to happen to me? You know, am I going to be okay? Because they’re afraid of God. Some people, when they hear that God reigns, they don’t get confidence, they just get doubts and questions. If God reigns, how’s the world like this? You know that question is in many people’s mind but I’m talking about people consumed with that question. If God reigns, how is the world like this? For some people, God reigning, just makes their doubts worse. For some people, when they hear God reigns, they even get angry at God. And they say, because He reigns, only it’s like this; because He’s on the throne, only it’s like this. My friend, what kind of an effect does this truth have on you? It’s a very important question. Does it have a positive effect or a negative effect?
Reason I ask is, it leads me to my next point, which is, God is good. You know, wherever people have a positive effect, wherever this truth, ‘God reigns’, has a positive effect on people, you will find that those people have a firm conviction that God is good. A firm conviction that God is good. Whenever people have a firm conviction that God is good and they hear God reigns, for them it’s good news. The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad. “How beautiful are the feet of them, who preach the good news”, Isaiah 52:7 says. What’s the good news? Go read that verse. The good news is your God reigns. For people, who are convinced that their God is good, when they hear God reigns, it’s like sweet music to the ears, it’s like a comforting sound to their ear. It’s like ointment, it’s like a calming, it has a calming effect, because they know their God is good and if He’s on the throne, if He is reigning, things will get better. He will help them out. He will change their circumstances, see. For people, who have a negative effect, when people hear ‘God reigns’, when they hear that truth, and it only brings fear into them, or only brings questions, or only makes them angry. You know what the truth, they do not have a firm conviction that God is good. They do not have a firm conviction that God is good, my friend. Where are you today? I’m not asking, do you know if God is good. I know, everybody knows, God is good; we all know that. This is one of the, you know, even children know that; we all think God is good. We know God is good; we say “God is good”; we know it. I’m saying, “Do you have a firm conviction that God is good?” The way you know is, what kind of an effect did this truth of God reigning, have on you now? How did you respond to it? How did you react to it? That’s why, this truth of ‘God is good’ is so important, because when you know that the Person at the top is good, you’re glad He’s at the top but if you have a doubt, whether He’s good, you’re not glad He’s at the top, you’re not confident when He’s at the top, you’re only doubtful.
My friend, your God is at the top; He rules and reigns, but He’s also good. Let’s consider that because it’s so important. Wherever you are today, whether you have a firm conviction or not; think with me, ‘God is good’. I want to remind you of that – God is good. This is foundational to our hope. If we don’t have this, we have nothing. What do we hope on? How can we hope in a God was not good? If God is not good, then Him reigning is bad news, but if God is good, then Him reigning is the best news, my friend. God is good. Let me just break that down and tell you what that means, you know, a little bit. That’s an amazing truth but let me quickly try to tell you some points about God is good. What does that mean? ‘God is good’. It means, His nature and character are good; number one, His nature and character. He’s not only good in action, but also in character, in nature. His actions come from his character and nature, and in His innermost character and nature, God is good.
Exodus 33, verse 18, a very important passage because here, Moses, in a very critical situation, cries out to God and says, “Lord, show me Your glory”, right. Exodus 33:18, “Please, show me your glory”, he says, and God responds to his request, and shows him His glory, and I want you to see how He does that. Exodus 33:19, God says, “I will make all My goodness pass before you.” Notice, what’s happening. Moses is saying, “Lord, show me Your glory”. God is replying, “Yes, I will make all My goodness pass before you.” What is God saying? He’s saying, “You want to see My glory; here’s My glory; My glory is My goodness”. You know, when people think of glory, they often think of it in a one-sided way. They think glory is just the light, and the flash, and the cloud, and the Shekinah glory, the cloud and they just think of all these dramatic things, right. That’s it. Yeah, all that is there. God’s glory includes His power, His might, His beauty, His majesty, all that, yeah, yeah, yeah. But also, God’s glory, very importantly, includes His goodness. So much so, that when Moses says, “Show me Your glory”. God says, “Okay, I’ll show you, My goodness; I’ll make all My goodness pass before you”, and then He actually does it in the next chapter.
Exodus 34:6, the Lord passed before him. He comes down in the cloud, actually. If you read it, it is a little dramatic, but then the climax of that is, He speaks. The Lord speaks. Look at Exodus 34:6. The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”. But you’ve got to connect things, right. Moses said, “Show me Your glory”. God says, “Okay, I’ll show you My goodness; I’ll make My goodness pass before you”. And then, He comes, and He shows him His goodness. What’s His goodness? His goodness includes all these things: A God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. All this is contained within God. You see, God is good. The statement, ‘God is good’, is a very wide statement. It includes so much. It’s such a simple thing, but within it, is so much; within it, is God’s mercy. God is good means, God is merciful; God is good also means, God is gracious; God is good also means, God is slow to anger; God is good also means, God is abounding in steadfast love; God is good also means, God is faithful. All this comes. ‘God is good’ is a very sweeping statement, within which, mercy and grace and love and everything is right there. His very nature is good, and His goodness is one of the climactic points of his glory. A very important part of his glory. God is good means; His nature is good.
God is good means, secondly, His works are good. His works are good; His actions are good. What God does, is good. He has a good heart and a nature and character, and out of it, flows good actions. I want you to think about God’s actions; what God does. When I say that, many people, they will look at the world today and say, whether God is doing good things. When we say, think about God’s actions, you can’t think about it by looking at the world. You can’t see God’s actions by looking at the news or reading the paper. When I say, think about God’s actions, we’ve got to go to the Bible. This is where you see God’s acts – the great acts of God, the great works of God is right here. It’s in this Bible and even when you go to His Word, you’ve got to be careful. Some people go to God’s Word, open somewhere, some corner and they say, “Look what God did here; how can He be good?” That’s entirely the wrong approach, you know. Everybody knows that if you want to read a book, you got to start from the beginning, right. You’re reading a story book. You don’t open to the middle and read somewhere and try to understand that. You start from the beginning; you read all the way through, all the way to the end. The beginning is very important. The ending is very important. Only with that, you can understand and appreciate what’s in the middle. Even a movie – you don’t just watch some scene in the middle of the movie, you know, you’ll get confused, you may even get scared. But the thing is, when you don’t know that it turns out good, in the end, the whole thing is pointless. You have missed the point by missing the beginning and the ending. You see, what I’m trying to say is, people go to the Bible, they pick out this verse and that verse and they say, “How can God be good?” But, when you go to the Bible, the beginning and the ending is crucial, because that’s where you see God’s acts, God’s works, without man’s involvement, without Satan’s involvement. In the beginning, God created the world. Before man gets involved, before Satan is involved. You know, God creates the world, and you read Genesis, chapter 1. You know Genesis, chapter 1, but I’m saying, you remember it during these times. When you look at this world, also remember Genesis, chapter 1. When you look at the world, it may seem that all bad things are happening but remember that God created a good world. Don’t forget that, my friend. So many, if you read Genesis 1, again and again, God creates something and then He looks at it and He says, “It is good”. God saw that it was good. At the very end of Genesis, chapter 1, He saw everything that He had made, and God called it, very good. ‘Very good’. When He says, “Very good”, it must have been so good. There’s no evil in Genesis 1, there’s no evil in what God made. There’s no, you know, sorrow, there’s no mourning, there’s no pain, there’s no sickness, there’s no curse, there’s no poverty, nothing. You can’t find that in Genesis 1. You can’t find it in the ending also. See, God created a world without evil. In the end, the Bible says that God is going to, again, recreated the worlds; He’s going to do away with this old world, and He’s going to make or create a new heaven and the new earth, a new creation, brand new. The old will be gone and the new will be brand new. You know, it’s like we change the bedsheets, right. Like we change the bedsheets, He will change the heavens. That’s His power. And one day, this is going to happen, my friend; you need a reminder of these things. We need to remind ourselves, when the world is filled with all kinds of evil, we Christians have a hope that one day, everything will change. And God will make a new world, a new heaven, and a new earth, and in that, there is no evil, there is no suffering, there is no pain.
Let me read just a couple of verses from Revelation 21, verse 4, He will wipe away – this is the ending of God’s works – He will wipe every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, for the former things have passed away. Can you imagine a world without tears, without death, without mourning,
without crying, without pain. There’s no suffering there, no suffering. Come down to verse 27, it says, “Nothing unclean will ever enter this new world that God makes”. Nothing unclean. What am I trying to say, my friend? I’m trying to say, before man got involved, before Satan got involved, you see God’s creation, you see how He began, how He created the world. You see how He’s going to end up and finish things. You will see that there is nothing bad, no evil, He does only good. It’s very clear, it’s crystal clear, easy to understand. You begin there, and using that as your reference, then you understand what happens in the middle.
Now, what happens in the middle is, evil enters, suffering enters, pain comes into this world, cursed things enter this world, sickness enters this world. It was not there when God created the world, but it came in later. How did it come in? People say, “Why is the world like this”. The Bible gives an answer, a clear answer. What’s the answer? In Genesis, chapter 3. Where did all the suffering come from? How did it come? Why did it come? The Bible gives the answer, very clearly, see. Read Genesis 3, it’s clear. Man’s sin brought all evil and suffering into this world. Man’s sin. What is sin? Sin is rejecting the rule of God, the reign of God.
You know, we preached, in the first half of the sermon, I preached that God reigns. I don’t know whether you liked it, but I can tell you that Adam did not like this message. What message? God reigns. He did not like it, because he rejected the reign of God, he rejected the rule of God. He said, “I don’t want you to reign, oh God. I don’t accept, I don’t acknowledge your rule, your reign. I don’t accept you as King over my life. I will do whatever I want, you know. God gave only one condition to Adam and Eve. Only one thing, He said don’t do. He gave them full freedom, but not absolute freedom. He said, “Don’t do this one thing”. Just one condition, “Don’t eat from this tree alone”. By eating from that tree, by doing the one thing that they were not supposed to do, what were they saying? They were making a big statement. People say, well, after all, He just took a fruit and ate. No, no. no, they were making a statement. They were saying, “God, you gave us only one thing not to do, one condition, but we will not even follow that, because we reject your rule. We reject you as King over my life. We will do what we want. We will be our own kings. We will be on the top; we refuse to acknowledge your rule and your reign and your kingship. That is sin – refusing the rule of God. And what happens when you refuse the rule of God? What happens when you dishonour the One, who gave you life, breath, and everything. What happens when you dishonour and reject and rebel against the One, the supreme authority? What happens is, all manner of evil and suffering enters the world. That’s what happens. That’s the explanation that the Bible gives. Before man did that, not a single evil, not a single suffering, not a single pain was there. Nothing bad was there. So, if we want someone to blame, it is man’s sin – Adam’s
sin. If you want somebody else to blame, the devil is there because the devil is the one who tempted Adam and Eve. So, the devil is to be blamed; Adam and Eve are to be blamed; man’s sin is to be blamed. Right. Not God. God is not the author of evil; God does not bring evil; God does not send evil. No, no, no, He’s not that God. He’s not an evil God, He’s a good God, you see. That’s the way the Bible puts it. He rules over evil but He’s not responsible for evil. You have to be clear in your mind. He rules over evil, but He cannot be held responsible or blamed for evil. Whereas He rules over the good, but He also has to be given credit for the good. There’s a huge difference between the way God relates to good and God relates to evil. With good, God is the author of it and God is the source of it and God is everything. Without God, there is no good. He also rules over it. But with evil, He rules over it, but He is not responsible for it; He’s not the author of it; He’s not the source of it.
So, number one, God is good; God is good in His character, nature; good in His actions. In the beginning, in the end, but also in this fallen world, in the middle, God is still good. In His actions, He does so much good. Even in this fallen world, even in these hard times, I want to remind you, my friend, that God is still good. God does so much good. We may forget that when we see all the evil happening in the world. I want to remind you, even in these times, even in this fallen world, God still does so much good, so much good. Do you think that way? Do you have a sense of, oh, God is doing so many good things? As Christians, we’ve got to have that sense, otherwise how can you thank God? How can you praise God? It will be hypocritical, if you think, if a person thinks, all this evil is happening, where God is doing nothing good and then sings, “God is good” – that’s hypocritical praise, you see. As a people of God, as a Christian, we’ve got to have a sense of the goodness of God, even during hard times. And I say to you, my friend, even during hard times, even in these times, God is doing so much good. Are you aware, my friend? There are people who are not aware; there are people in the world, who generally, they don’t even think about God. Generally, they won’t spare a thought for God. They don’t have any place for God in their life, generally. But when something bad happens, that’s when they think about God. We’ve seen people who, generally they have no place for God. They won’t even think about Him, right. But when something bad happens, all they can think is, why did God do this? Is that the right way to think, you know? That’s the way the world sometimes thinks. People in the world, some people are like that.
The Bible teaches exactly opposite. The Bible says, “Every time a good thing happens, you’ve got to think about God, because God is behind that good thing”. Not the evil, the good thing. James chapter 1, if you read from verse 13 onwards, James says, “Don’t blame God for bad things and say God made this happen. God tempted you, God made you fall. Don’t blame God for your own faults, for others’ faults. Don’t blame God for evil”. And then, he says, in verse 17, “Every good and perfect gift comes from our Father above.” Every good thing only comes from Him, not the evil things.
You know this; I’m reminding you. Why? I want you to think about every good thing in your life. Just take a moment, think about good things today. Think about some, any good thing you have, in your life. Every good thing came from Him. Good things don’t happen automatically. You see, the people who think about God, only when evil happens, what do they think about good? They think it happens automatically. They think somehow good things happen. Yeah, they happen, so what? What’s the big deal? No! Good things don’t happen automatically. The Bible says, “God is the giver of good gifts. Every good gift comes from our Father above”. Every good thing; every good thing. If you can think of good things, let me remind you, my friend. If you’re hearing the sound of my voice today and understanding anything, you’re alive. You’re alive – that’s a good thing. It’s because of God, my friend.
Lamentations 3:22 says, “Because of the mercies of God, we are not consumed”. We are, you know, God’s mercies are the one that keeps us from just disintegrating and going into nothing. We are not consumed because of the mercies of God. You are alive, that’s a good thing. You’re breathing, that’s a good thing. He’s the One who gives us life, breath, and everything. If you have a meal to eat today, that’s a good thing.
Psalm 136, towards the end of that psalm, I preached on it, you know, last year, on the last Sunday. It says, “God is the One who gives food to all flesh”. But people eat food without ever thinking about Him. If you’re going to eat a meal today, my friend, God is behind that. Any good thing, if you have a family today, who is the One who gave you family, my friend? Whose idea was it to give you a family, to have, to give man a family life? God! If you have work today, that’s a good thing, my friend. If you have anything good today, I say to you, it is from God. I did not even mention any spiritual good things like salvation or nothing. There are a thousand good things, ten thousand reasons to give Him thanks. What I’m trying to say is, even in these hard times, God is doing so much good, if our eyes can be open to it and it’s important to realize that. Otherwise, we’ll just become like the world, only seeing the bad, that is happening. That’s going to destroy our confidence, that God is good. You can’t just be looking at only the bad stuff, and then continue to believe God is good; that’s not practical. It will erode your confidence in the goodness of God if you only focus on the bad. God is good in character, nature. God is good in actions, not just in the beginning and the end but also now, in this fallen world, in these times even.
Fourthly, God is the sole source of all goodness. God is the only source of all goodness. If you see a good thing happening anywhere, this is, kind of, I’m repeating in a different way, what I said earlier, but I think it’s still important. If you see goodness anywhere, in anyone, the only source is God. The ultimate source is God. It’s like that spring, on the top of a mountain from which the water comes, right. And then, as it comes down the mountain, it gets bigger and then it divides into so many different streams and goes so many different places, maybe a hundred places also, it may go. But if you trace it back to its source, there’s only one source. One fountain. One spring. There is only one source for all goodness in this world, and that’s God. That’s why Jesus says, “There is no one good but God”. There is no one good, but God. He’s good in character, good in action, in the beginning and end, but also now, and He’s the sole source of all goodness, and He’s good to all. He’s good to all, to everyone, in some way or form or shape, experiences His goodness, right, everyone, everyone.
Jesus says, in Matthew 5, “God causes His sun to rise above the good and the evil”. The sun rose today in the morning, right. Even on lockdown, the sun rose. How did it rise? People don’t even think, the sun rose, so what? No! Jesus said, “God causes his sun to rise upon the good and evil”. On everyone; He’s good to everyone, in that way. He sends the rain on the just and the unjust.
Psalm 145, verse 9, says, “The Lord is good to all; His mercy is over all that He has made”. He’s good to all, but He’s especially good to those who are suffering. If you are suffering today, you need to hear this. God’s goodness especially manifests when you are in need and suffering. He’s especially good to those who are in need and suffering, and really struggling, my friend. Look at Psalm 103, verse 6, The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. Those who are oppressed, those who are down-and-out, those who are struggling. What does He do? Righteousness and justice – what does that mean? That means He brings them up. Those who are being oppressed, what is righteousness and justice for them? It’s to bring them up. They are being oppressed unjustly, and God is the One who brings them up, justly. He does good to them, to all those who are oppressed, to all those who are oppressed. If you are oppressed today, my friend, the Lord is good to you. Believe that. Just say, you know, “God is good to me”. God is good; I believe it. Say, “Something good is going to happen to me; I’m going to come up; I’m no longer going to be in this oppression. There’s going to be a deliverance, there’s going to be an exaltation. I’m going to come up because the Lord wants justice for the oppressed”.
Isaiah 40, verse 29, He gives power to the faint – or the weak – and to him who has no might, He increases strength. Who does He give power to? To the ones who have no power. So, if you say, I don’t have no power, I don’t have anything, I don’t you know, I can’t do it or whatever, just come to God, my friend. He is known to give people who have no power, lots of power. He gives power to the faint, to the weak. And to those who have no might, He increases the strength. You’ve got no might? You’re a good candidate before God; you come to Him; He will increase your strength. What does it mean to come to Him? Just believe in Him; just believe that God is good, just open your mouth and say, God is good. He is going to fill me with His strength; He is going to give me power.
Verse 30, if you continue reading, those are familiar, amazing versus. Isaiah 40, you read after 29, verse 30, Even the youth shall faint and be weary, even the young men shall utterly fall. Those, who seem to have a lot of strength in this world, they will fall. Verse 30, But those who wait on the Lord… Who’s he talking about? He’s talking about these people who have no strength, who are weak, who are down-and-out, but they come to God, they pray to God, they believe in God, they trust in God. It’s simple things like this, “God, you are good, I believe it. I believe you will do good to me”. They wait on the Lord. And those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. If you are struggling today, my friend, wait on the Lord. Call out to Him. Believe He is good. Open your mouth and say, “God, You are good; I believe you will do good to me; I believe that you will fill me with Your strength. And I believe that I will run and not be weary, walk and not faint”. He’s good to all, especially to the suffering and the weak and the needy, and even to the undeserving. The undeserving. You see, when God is good to the suffering, what do we call that? When God is good to those who are in need, we call that ‘mercy’, don’t we? We call that ‘compassion’. But God also, is good to the undeserving. Undeserving means, we don’t deserve it. Actually, we deserve the opposite of goodness.
The Bible says, “While we were sinners, while we rejected the rule of God, Christ died for us”. Romans 5, verse 6 onwards, if you read, it talks about how God shows His love to us, even while we never deserved anything, while we never deserved it; while we were sinners, Christ died for us; while we were enemies of God. That same passage says, “God reconciled us to Himself”. We were enemies and God brought us close to Him; God made peace with us; God did everything to make peace with us, through His Son, Jesus Christ. To the undeserving, God shows His goodness. Psalm 25, verse 8, Good and upright is the Lord; therefore, He instructs sinners in the way. A person may think I have no, I don’t deserve to receive anything from God; I’m a sinner. That’s okay because He’s good. He instructs sinners in the way. He leads sinners; He shows the way to sinners. He forgives sinners; He gives them a second chance, because He’s good. My friend, no matter what condition you are in, believe that God is good. Just open your mouth and say, “God is good”. God is good. God is good. He’ll do good to me. Just open your mouth and say, “Something good is going to happen to me”.
Yeah, you can say that because God is good. Something good is going to, in fact, you can say, “God is going to do something good for me”. God is going to do something good to me. It’s coming, it’s on the way, because God is good. God’s in control; God is good. God reigns; God is good. These are two truths that go together. Because if He’s only good and He does not reign and rule overall, then He can’t really help you, sometimes. You can’t count on it. And alternatively, if He is only reigning and ruling over all but He’s not all good, then you don’t know what He will do. You need both of these to be true, my friend and both of these are true, the Bible teaches both of these very clearly. God reigns; God is good. Hold onto that, believe it, confess it. But you know, people, as I said say, you know, if this is true, if God is good and if God reigns, then how can the world be like this today? How come the world is like this today? Well, I answered it a little bit before, but I think, what they really mean is, you know, if God reigns and God is good and why is He not doing anything to stop evil? Why is he remaining silent? That’s the question, isn’t it? That’s a very important question; it’s a very huge question; shall I say, it’s a very big question, very broad question. In some ways, a difficult question to answer.
I’m going to give a small answer. There are many things we can say but small answer as already, we’re past the time. Before I give somewhat of an answer, let me give two warnings. One is a general warning that applies every time; one is a specific warning for the times we are living in. The general warning is, sometimes we have questions about God. That’s inevitable because you can’t understand everything about God. You can’t understand everything about God, perfectly or shall I say, you can’t understand Him fully. Alright. Because He’s God. And you are not and I’m not. He’s big and we’re small. How can we comprehend with our small brains, this big God, you know? That’s like trying to say, I’m going to collect all the water in the ocean with one bucket; it’s not possible, my friend. The bucket gets full, but there’s plenty of water left, so we can understand a lot about God, and we need to understand, rightly, about God. We need to have right understanding, but we cannot have a full or completely full understanding. There may always be questions, and that’s okay. Nothing wrong; that’s the general warning.
Secondly, specific warning to the times we are living in. See, with the times we are living in, there’s evil all around us. We are living right in the midst of evil, in the middle of very evil circumstances, right. So, when we are right in the middle of evil like that, it’s very difficult to understand how God reigns, and God is good; very difficult, it’s not easy; very difficult. When you’re right in the middle, in the thick of evil, it’s very difficult to understand that God reigns and God is good. You can believe it; you can hold on to it but it’s very difficult to understand that you know. I’ll give you a couple of examples. Take Joseph – you know the story of Joseph? He didn’t do anything wrong and yet, evil after evil happened to him. Right. He didn’t do nothing wrong. They threw him in the pit; his own brothers betrayed him, threw him in the pit, pretended like he was dead to his father, and then sold him as a slave. He went off, he was carried off to Egypt, where he had to live the life of a slave. And then, he comes up, even in those difficult trying times and you know, he’s faithful in his job and everything. As a slave, he’s very faithful, and then he’s accused of a wrongdoing, which he never committed, and then he’s thrown into jail. Think about his life. Evil after evil happening, for no fault of his. He didn’t really do anything wrong; his brothers got jealous. And it started off a chain of events that, you know, just went from bad to worse, it seemed like. When Joseph was in the pit, right, while he’s in the pit; if somebody had shouted out to him – like I’m shouting out today – if somebody shouted out saying, “God reigns, Joseph and God is good”. He may have said, “I believe it” but he’s not going to say, “I understand it”. Joseph, do you understand how God reigns and God is good? No. Of course he can’t understand; he’s in the pit. When he’s in the pit, he can’t understand it; you can’t expect him to understand it, although, I think, he would have believed it. When he was sold as a slave, he wouldn’t have understood how God reigns and God is good; when he was in jail, he wouldn’t have understood how these two things work together, perfectly. Same thing. After he comes out of that situation, when all this evil, you know, the story of Joseph, how all this evil is then transformed; it’s turned into good, right. Joseph comes out of prison; he is elevated to the top position, next to Pharaoh in Egypt. Basically, he’s ruling nation, and it all turns out for his good; not only his good, for the good of so many people, so many nations. In fact, through Joseph’s brilliant administration and leadership, many nations are saved from death and starvation, in that period of famine, remember? At that time when all circumstances have changed, you will look at Joseph, he understands. He looks back, he looks back to all the evil and he understands how God is still good.
Let me just read the words of Joseph here. Genesis chapter 45, Genesis 45; just bear with me a little bit. Genesis 45, I’m saying, in the middle of evil, in the middle of evil circumstances, it’s very difficult to understand. But when you come out of it, when God turns evil into good, you can look back and understand. Genesis 45, verse 4, Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please”. His brothers have come, they’re afraid that he’s going to take revenge on them, and Josephs says, “Don’t worry, just come here”. This is when Joseph is Prime Minister of Egypt and when they came near, and he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt!”. He says, “This is me; it’s me, your brother, whom you betrayed, you sold, you did evil to. Verse 5, “And now, do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here.” He’s very clear, Joseph, isn’t he? He says, “You sold me; you sold me. But don’t be distressed or angry with yourself”. Why not? Because – look at how he continues – “For God sent me before you to preserve life”. For God’s sent me before you, to preserve life. Verse 5, there are two seemingly contrasting statements. One is, he’s saying, “You sold me here; you people only sold me here!” And then he says, “God sent me before you to preserve life”. Look in verse 7, again, “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to keep alive for you, many survivors”. It’s amazing. Joseph is clear that they only sold him but he’s also clear that God sent him. What does he mean? He means to say, they did evil, but God was ruling over the evil. Even the evil was used by God for His purposes and ensuring complete control of it that God sent him, he says.
Look at Genesis 50 verse 20; you can see the clarity of understanding in Joseph’s mind. So amazing. Genesis 50:20 – this is sometimes called the 50/20 principle. When you are going through a lot of terrible things and evil things, remember ‘50/20’. Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good. In order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive”. He’s very clear in his mind, he doesn’t blame the evil on God. He says, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good”. He doesn’t alternatively say, “Oh, God was helpless, and God was not ruling and reigning” No, no, no, no, no! He says, “You meant it for evil, but God was ruling over the evil; God meant it for good”. He rules over the evil while never committing evil Himself and turning the evil into good. That’s the answer, my friend. People who say, “God doesn’t do anything”. No, God turns evil into good; the good of his people, not the good of everybody; the good of his people. The good of his people. That’s what God does. But you can’t understand it while you’re in the middle of the problem. You’ve got to wait until you come out of it, until the evil is turned into good, then you can look back and understand.
Another quick example, the cross of Jesus Christ is probably the best example, you know. Here is the greatest evil, perpetrated on the One who never deserved any evil, but only good. See, Jesus was a sinless person. He never committed even one sin. He did not deserve any evil, He did not deserve any suffering. If there’s anyone who never deserved a bad thing, a single stroke on His body, it is the Lord Jesus Christ. Perfect, sinless, not only man, but God; He’s the Son of God. And yet, what happens on the cross? They tie him up and they give Him lash after lash, lacerate His back, and tear it into pieces and then they put Him on the cross and they drive nails into the hands of the sinless One, the perfect One. Let me ask you, when the nails are going in, when the nails are being driven in, if anybody had looked at the disciples and they said, “Do you know disciples, God is in control; God is good?” The disciples would’ve said, “Get lost! What do you mean, ‘God is in control’? Look at what’s happening! The nails are being driven into the hands of the Son of God!” The disciples ran away; they were not even like Joseph. They just ran, fled the scene. They probably thought, we don’t know what’s happening. It doesn’t look like God’s in control. Nobody’s going to be able to understand, you know, God’s reign or God’s goodness, when the nails are being driven into the Son of God’s hand, or when He was laid in the tomb and the stone was closed and it was sealed. If you looked at that time and said you know, to the disciples, “Disciples, God’s in control; God is good”. They’re not going to understand it. While the body of Jesus lays lifeless in the tomb.
But on the third day, when He rose again, then if you say, they’ll understand. Then it makes sense, how He turns evil into good and brings salvation to all, right. Then it is clear that although the evil was perpetrated by men, by Herod, by Pilate. Go read Acts, chapter 4, Peter is very clear, just like Joseph. The same Peter, who ran away, right. Not like Joseph, in that day, but the Peter, who ran away and denied Jesus, who was so afraid in Acts 4, while he’s being persecuted and threatened, stands up and he revealed such amazing clarity. I don’t have time to read it; go read it. And Peter says, “These evil men came against Jesus”. Which evil men? Herod, Pilate, the Gentile soldiers, and the Jews who cried, “Crucify Him!” But God’s hand, they only fulfilled what God had determined. God had purposed, he says. What he’s trying to say is, the evil was committed by these people, but God ruled over the evil, to the extent that it was His purpose, as being fulfilled, see. The cross of Jesus Christ is the best example, where evil is turned into good. To people who say, “What is God doing? Why is He not keeping? Why is He not doing anything? Why is He not putting a stop to the evil?” No, my friend, you can’t understand it, while the evil is going on. You’ve got to wait for the third day; you’ve got to wait for the resurrection; you’ve got to wait until things are transformed and turned around, and only then, we will be able to understand how God’s in control and God is good.
So, what do you do if you’re in the middle of trouble, then, if you have to wait? Just accept that God’s in control and God is good. You don’t have to understand it, fully. You’ve got to understand it only minimally, just enough to hold on to these truths, just to understand it enough, to hold on to this truth that God’s in control and God is good. You don’t have to understand it, fully, but you’ve got to accept it. That’s your only hope. You’ve got to hold on to it; that’s your only hope. Because if you don’t have these two, what hope do you have, my friend? If God’s not in control, then who knows what’s going to happen. If God is not good, you’ve got to fear Him. You’ve got to run from Him. But the Bible says, “God’s in control and God’s good, whether you understand it or not, no matter what the circumstances look like”, you know. It doesn’t matter what you see with your eyes, or what your mind says, it doesn’t matter; God’s in control, God is good. God was in control when Joseph was in the pit. Although nobody could understand it. God was in control when He was in Potiphar’s House, when he was in jail; God was in control when the nails were going through the hands of the Son of God. Although nobody would have believed it. You see, God’s reign is in some ways, we can’t understand it. He reigns in a different way sometimes. He reigns from the cross sometimes; He reigns through the cross. We can’t understand it, but He reigns sometimes in an unexpected way. And He is good also, sometimes in a way that we can’t understand. It doesn’t matter, what you see, what you think, what other people say, what circumstances point to, just hold onto these truths, believe it, hold on to it, sometimes it’s hard to even believe it. And those times, I would say, just open your mouth and say it, just open your mouth right now, open your mouth and say, “God’s in control, God is good; God reigns, God is good”. Hold on to that, my friend. That’s your only hope. That’s only hope. But that’s all the hope you need. It’s all the hope you need; you don’t need nothing else. God’s in control. God is good. And that’s where you’re going to be okay. You’re going to be fine. Things are going to work out, eventually, for your good. Even the worst evil in your life, will be turned into good, for you and others. Believe it, my friend. Hold on to that hope.
May God bless you. Let’s pray and close this service.
THE CHRISTIAN WAY OF...
The Christian Way of...
The Christian Way of...
The Christian Way of...
The Christian Way of...