How God’s Sovereignty Affects Our Attitude in the Present Circumstances (part 1)

In his famous hymn “This is My Father’s World”, Maltbie Babcock wrote these comforting words:

This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget/ That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: The battle is not done; Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and heav’n be one.

This stanza pulls together two truths that confront us in this world—“the wrong seems oft so strong” and “God is the ruler yet.” In the next three post I want to address this from the biblical perspective of Psalm 75. Over each of the next three posts I will lay out a total of Nine Ways in Which the Sovereignty of God in Dealing with the Wicked Affects Our Attitude Toward our Present Circumstances. Let’s begin…

1. It Makes us Aware That God is Always Near Us (v. 1A)

Psalm 75:1a “We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near.

The reason for the psalmist’s thankfulness was that the “name” of God was near. The “name” of course, points to the presence of God himself.
David wrote about this nearness in Psalm 139:1-12 when he spoke of the Lord intimately knowing mankind from when he knit us in our mother’s womb as well as every other aspect of our lives. There is nowhere that we can hide or be hidden from his presence.

This is a comforting reality in times of need and pain. God really is right here with us. He hears your prayers. He sees your enemies as they attack. He sees it all.

2. It Gives us a Thankful Heart (v.1b)

Psalm 75:1b “We recount your wondrous deeds.

Along with his nearness was a legacy of remembering that brought forth a thankful heart.

Remembering and reciting aids in developing a thankful heart. We are forgetful people, aren’t we? The Lord knew this, and so he constantly calls his people throughout the Scriptures to remember, even instructing them to set up memory aids, special dates, rites, and festivals. In the Church Age, Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper to be done “in remembrance of him.” Why? Because as monumental as the cross of Christ is for our eternity, we still forget about it if left to ourselves.

Psalm 78:4 speaks about the need for parents to recite these memories to their children. It says, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

We can grow anxious and weary when we forget that God is in control. We can begin to see ourselves as helpless, awash in the chaos of the world, victims of chance. But if you sit down and read through the pages of Scripture, you will quickly begin to see that God has always been in control. Reminding yourself of this fact will change your outlook radically.

3. It Teaches Us Patience (v. 2)

Psalm 75:2 “At the set time that I appoint, I will judge with equity.

Here we have a change of speakers—the song has moved from Asaph speaking (or the priest who led the singing) to God himself speaking. The Lord says that “at the set time that I appoint…” This language in Hebrew refers to seasonal time, not clock time. Clock time spins fast. Seasons don’t work by a clock. Fruit doesn’t ripen according to your watch. God doesn’t punch-in to work.

Let there be no mistake, God will judge—he says so. But he will judge at the set time that he appoints. We can’t say “Amen” to God’s sovereignty and then be impatient when he doesn’t act on our schedule, can we? We can’t be like Martha, Lazarus’ sister, who got so upset that Mary wasn’t helping her prepare the food in the kitchen that she stomped right into the middle of Jesus’ teaching time and demanded that the LORD command her sister to help her! It appears Martha thought Jesus needed a little help leading the world. He doesn’t.

When you become impatient and wonder when God will judge, remember that God is in control as he has always been. Be still and know that he is God.

Praying for Missions

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t.”

—John Piper

Satan wants to cause disruptions and disunity among missionaries to make their ministry ineffective, and ruin their testimonies, which if not quickly dealt with, could cause many to reject the gospel.

There can be a tendency to think of missionaries as superheroes and put them on a pedestal, but the truth is that they are just like all other Christians with every weakness and temptation that you struggle with. Like you and me, they too need to depend on the Lord so that He can work through them. God truly does use the weak and foolish of this world to confound the wise (1 Cor. 1:27).

Missionaries need your prayers.

Some examples of things you can pray for:

  1. Dependence on God.
  2. For strong, godly marriages.
  3. For health problems- these can cause discouragement and might press missionaries to eventually leave the field.
  4. For the difficulties of language and culture learning.
  5. That the message of the gospel of grace (not works) would be clearly understood 
  6. Missionaries are often surrounded by Satanic forces through witchcraft and rituals of the local people.
  7. Frustration that comes from with lack of privacy, lack of results, unfamiliar foods, extreme climates.
  8. Open communication and good relationships with coworkers.
  9. Loneliness, including separation from family and friends. 
  10. Making new friends in a new culture and language.
  11. Missionary children- for social, educational and spiritual development.
  12. Bible translation- Satan doesn’t want God’s Word to spread into other languages and it is a real spiritual warfare to get the Word of God into a new language.

Eight Ideas for Reaching Your Mission Field (Other Cultures in Your Back Yard)

1. Take your neighbors a plate of cookies with a tract in their own language. If you give a non-disposable plate they are almost sure to return it, possibly with a gift of their own. Then continue the relationship.

2. Get the young people of your church involved. Many teenagers are taking foreign language classes in school or have learned it at home. Challenge them to memorize their testimony in this foreign language and go from there.

3. Hand out copies of the Gospel of John in the language of your neighbors and those at work or leave in your work break room, hospital waiting rooms, laundromats and other public places for people to pick up and read. 

4. Pray specifically for families and couples to be saved and discipled. The family is so important and will lead to other members being brought to Christ

5. Consider starting some informal soccer games on Saturday and involve the children or maybe even adults. Bring a cooler of cold water. Take a break, give out the water and share the gospel. In many countries, soccer (or football as it is called in other places) is a favorite.

6. If you have a ministry in your church that teaches in another language, pray fervently for that ministry to grow. We can plant and water, but it is God who will bring the growth.

7. If you speak a foreign language, volunteer to be a translator for gospel materials. You must have good grammar and spelling, but the needs are endless!

8. If you speak the language, help with outreach events, paying particular attention to those who come and speak in a foreign language.

Some encouraging quotes to help fuel your prayer for missions:

  • “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God” — William Carey, who is called the father of modern missions
  • “If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” — David Livingstone
  • “Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell.” — C.T. Studd
  • “Someone asked, ‘Will the heathen who have never heard the gospel be saved?‘ It is more a question with me whether we — who have the gospel and fail to give it to those who have not — can be saved.” — Charles Spurgeon
  • “Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God’s delight in being God.” — John Piper
  • “People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives … and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.” — Nate Saint, missionary and martyr
  • “We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.” — John Stott
  • “It is not in our choice to spread the gospel or not. It is our death if we do not.” — Peter Taylor Forsyth

The Need for Modern Reformers in the Local Church

“The problem with preachers today is that nobody wants to kill them anymore!”

Steven J. Lawson
Bishop Hooper burned at the stake for the gospel.

Although we Protestants say that we don’t venerate the saints, you wouldn’t know it the way some pastors fawn over Luther, Calvin, Knox, Spurgeon, and other reformers. Don’t get me wrong, I think those men were used mightily of God, in spite of their flaws and personal sin.

But what I wonder about is how it is that so many pastors who would look up to these men and admire them for their courage and boldness are so cowardly in their own churches when they are called upon by the testimony of the Word of God to stand firm against a potential revolt by those who do not want biblical change.

When Gideon was called to pull down the idols in his town, he may have been overcome by the fear of man, but at least he did it, even if under the cover of night. And when they found out what he did, they wanted to kill him.

When Josiah came to understand how far Judah had fallen away from obedience to the Law, he immediately began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of its idolatrous high places and reinstated the reform that was necessary to please the Lord. This led to a need to rebuild and reorder the temple so that proper worship could be restored.

And the church today is in need of men who are ready and willing to make the changes that are needed in their local churches where unbiblical practices have found a nesting place for ages. For fear of confrontation, loss of income, or prominent families, or a simple fear of losing your job, pastors remain silent in the face of unrepentant sin and all manner of false practices. Unregenerate men are allowed to remain on elder and deacon boards, unhealthy and unbiblical curriculum and programs continue to function so as to avoid a conflict with a women’s ministry head or the parents of the youth. The call for entertainment in church continues to ring louder as the Word of God is given less time to work in the hearts that need it.

Yes, we admire Luther’s stand at the Diet of Worms where he refused to recant. We applaud Spurgeon for being unwilling to give in to the New Measures that sought to entertain the goats. We are in awe of Whitefield who preached the gospel wherever he could garner an audience. We rejoice at the courage of John Rogers and the other Marian martyrs who refused to stop preaching under Bloody Mary of Tudor, and were burned at the stake for it. But will we stand today? Where is our courage? Where is our godly resolve to trust God in the face of angry adversity within and outside of the church? Brothers! Be strong and very courageous!