By Matt Oomkes
Over the past few months I have found myself thinking a lot about the sovereignty of God. Because nothing is outside God’s control, we can completely trust that his promises and decrees will come to pass. If he says it will happen, then it will happen. Moreover, if something has happened, we must at least assert that God allowed it to happen. If something happened without God allowing it to happen then that thing would be outside of God’s control, and he would not be sovereign (and therefore not God).
As Christians, we tend to rejoice that God is sovereign when considering God’s promises of salvation and blessing to us, but balk when we consider it means that God has allowed for the things that have brought us pain and suffering. So is God being sovereign a good thing or a bad thing? Let’s look at portions of Psalm 62 to see why the psalmist thinks it is a good thing.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
In the midst of trial, the psalmist reminds himself to wait for God alone. Why? Because he recognizes that God is the only source of his ultimate hope, his salvation. Hope in anything else is a gamble, and certainly not a guarantee. If we place our hope in our jobs, our families, or even our health, those things are not guaranteed to last. God does not promise us these earthly blessings. But the hope of salvation that comes from God is certain for the Christian. God is our fortress, one that even the strongest enemy cannot overcome.
When things are going our way, this is easy to see and believe. The challenge for the Christian is to trust in God at all times, even when he allows us to suffer various hardships and trials. When earthly gifts are taken away or withheld it is easy for us to doubt God’s goodness, but if we do that we are forgetting that the greatest gift, the one that far surpasses all the rest, is still ours – that is, salvation. This does not mean we should not go to God with our pain and sorrow. Indeed, the psalmist instructs us to “pour out our heart before him”. But when trials come we should seek refuge in God as our fortress, so that we may not be shaken. Christians should never let hardships drive them to despair, for the Christian is never without hope.
Verse 10 warns us of what is perhaps a greater danger for the Christian:
Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
There are two sides to this coin. We must trust in God when things are going poorly for us, but we must also trust in Him when we prosper. When God gives us good gifts there is the temptation to love the gifts more than the gift-giver. Ask yourself this question: “If ____ was taken away, would I still trust that God is good?”
If riches increase, set not your heart on them, but on God. He is our fortress, our rock, our refuge. Trust in Him is never misplaced. God is sovereign, and our salvation and glory rest on Him alone.