God is in charge. He is above all. He is in control. He is sovereign. Sometimes it is hard to understand his sovereignty when tragedies occur, such as mass shootings, floods, fires and hurricanes. We must look to the Bible for understanding and direction. When Jesus speaks about end times events, he speaks of God’s sovereignty in many ways.
6 You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these events are the beginning of labor pains.
9 “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. 10 Then many will fall away, betray one another, and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
God is sovereign over all creation (v7). The Lord is our creator. He created the heavens and the earth. He sustains creation even to this day. Without his sustaining power, the earth’s systems would descend into chaos and destruction unfathomable. So when you see famines or earthquakes (v7), fires or floods, hurricanes or other natural disasters, do not think that things are completely out of control. They are not because God is sovereignly in control.
God is sovereign over all nations (vv6-7). The Bible is clear that our God is above all nations. Nations rise and fall, but our Lord remains on his throne. In the book of Isaiah, for example, God pronounces judgments that are to come to many nations, and when those prophecies came true, it proved that God was sovereign over all nations. God is high above North Korea, Iran, Russia, the United States, and every other nation. No matter what you hear on the news, do not be afraid. Pray for the nations. Trust in the Lord. He is sovereign over all nations.
God is sovereign over the events of history (v8). It is somewhat easy to see this as you look at the events of the past. You can trace the hand of God allowing events to unfold to accomplish his purposes for nations and for drawing people to faith in Jesus. It is sometimes difficult to see God’s sovereignty over modern day events. But the God who was in charge of events of the past is the same God who is sovereignly allowing modern history to unfold.
When tragedies occur, you can be sure that sin caused the suffering. The problems you face are a result of sin, either the sinful decisions of your life, the sinful decisions of others, or the sin that exists in our world bringing death and destruction. But in the midst of tragedies, God brings healing. He brings peace. He helps us to pick up the broken pieces. He is sovereign over all the events of history.
God is sovereign over the events of your life (vv9-13). In the first century, Jesus predicted that those who follow after him would face suffering and even persecution at times, and they did. He promises to never leave us or forsake. He promises to give us strength to endure whatever life throws our way, including financial hardships, broken relationships, sickness and disease. When the doctor says, “It’s cancer,” God is still there. When the spouse says, “I’m leaving,” God is still there. He will lead you and guide you. He will give you guidance and endurance. He is in control. Trust in him. Follow his way.
God is sovereign over the spread of the gospel (v14). Jesus says that the gospel will be shared as a testimony to all the nations and then the end will come. Before this world ends (and our sovereign God knows when that will be), the good news of Jesus Christ will be proclaimed to people of every tribe, tongue and language. The book of Revelation affirms these words spoken by Jesus in Matthew 24 when it gives us a picture of people from every tribe, tongue and language worshiping Jesus forever.
We have a part to play in getting the gospel to every nation. We should pray for missions and missionaries. We should give to missions. We should welcome the nations who live in our city. We should go to the nations as the Lord leads.
ACTION STEP: This week, pray for God to give you opportunities to speak about his sovereignty in conversations at work or school, at home, at church and in the community. When you hear someone talking about a world event, extreme weather, life’s challenges or something else that opens the door, simply say something, “I’m so glad to know that God is in control. I’m trusting in him and following him every day.” And then pray that the conversation continues in such a way that you have the opportunity to share the gospel and/or invite the person to whom you are speaking to come to church with you soon.