Questions For A Sovereign God
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29
If you live in a Republic, the highest elected official in your country is a President; however, if you live in a Kingdom—say, for example, the British Isles or in Cambodia, you have a king, and that means only God ranks higher. Presidents can be voted out of office, but kings traditionally derive their power from their blood line, and most kings would tell you they are king by right of divine appointment.
OK, so what’s the point? Kings are known as sovereigns, and a sovereign is one who answers to no one! Interestingly enough that term sovereign is a biblical word. Found 19 times in the Old Testament, God is referred to as “Sovereign Lord.” What does it mean?
Today we tend to hold God accountable for about everything that happens in the world. “Why did God allow that tsunami?” we ask, or “Why did God allow my child to die?” or whatever. It’s almost as though we are the ones who should decide whether or not God’s actions are right or wrong.
Have we asserted our sovereignty over God that He should be in the docket and accountable to us for what He does? You would think so. If God is sovereign, as the Bible declares, does He owe us an explanation of what He does?
John Calvin, the French reformer and theologian, with one of the most brilliant minds ever to explore Scripture, used to say that God speaks to us as parents engage in “baby talk” when addressing their infant children, because that is the limit of our understanding. (R. C. Sproul, Essential Truth of the Christian Faith, (Tyndale House: Wheaton, IL, 1992). P. 31).
Medieval theologians used to say that “the finite cannot grasp (or contain) the infinite.” Does that mean that you cannot know God? Some would say so, and there is a sense in which that is true, but the coming of Christ to planet Earth changed that. He taught that when you see Him, you see the Father—remember, “Like Father, like Son”? Thus the life, the heart, and the example of Jesus gave us a microscopic image of what the Father is like.
Yet, going beyond what we know of God, the fact is that our knowledge of Him is so limited and so finite. Paul asked, “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But then he adds, “But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
Moses got about as close to God in the flesh as any mortal who ever lived prior to Christ’s coming, and yet he wrote, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Frankly, there is a lot that God did not see fit to explain, including the answers to many of our “Why?” questions. But what God has not explained is not a matter of His indifference but of my lack of understanding. Remember Calvin’s suggesting that God talks to us in “baby talk” as we talk to our little children (though I personally have never quite understood why babies should understand lisping instead of normal conversation).
But what we do understand is powerful and exacting. Like what? In closing may I tell you of the time Karl Barth, the Swiss theologian, was asked about the most profound thing he had learned in his theological studies. He thought for a moment and then replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Students giggled nervously but realized he was completely serious. No wonder Paul wrote, “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12b). Someday you will understand, completely. Be patient.
Resource reading: Isaiah 40:25-31