You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him (Hebrews 2:7-8).
On December 17th, 2007, the Native American Lakotah tribe declared independence from the USA, even going as far as to travel to Washington, DC and deliver their message of independence to the U.S. State Department. The Lakotah claimed that areas covering thousands of square miles in the current states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana encompass lands that are rightfully theirs. Now claiming independence from the ruling government is not the same as truly being independent. Just because they claim to be free from the US and maybe even believe it, it does not make it true. Almost six years after their declaration, all that land still appears to be subject to the US government.
Likewise, most people today do not claim to be subjects of Christ the King, but that does not make it true. They may even openly reject Jesus’ claim to be their sovereign king. That still does not make it true. And, as the writer to the Hebrews notes, when we look around it often seems that most of this world is not subject to the rule of Christ.
This is one of those many places where our senses, our intellect and our feelings can lead us to believe one thing, while God’s word clearly says something else. The world does not seem to be subject to Christ, but the Bible clearly says it is.Either I am wrong or the Bible is wrong. If I decide that the Bible is wrong, I need to stop, go back to the beginning, and start my investigation all over again because I have come to the wrong conclusion. We, as fallen humanity, are not the final authority. It is God and His holy word the Bible which must be our final authority.
O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted (Habakkuk 1:2-4).
The book of Habakkuk is a personal favorite although its message also terrifies me, just as it did the prophet Habakkuk:
I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us (Habakkuk 3:16).
I see the forces of evil growing in strength within our nation and world. I see them uniting against Christians and can only wonder if this is the coming judgment of the sovereign God. Certainly it would not be the first time God has used the wicked for his divine purposes. Ultimately, my inability to clearly see God’s purpose in allowing this growing wickedness leaves me wholly dependent upon the God of my salvation:
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
Like the prophet Habakkuk and the apostles under Jesus, there is nowhere else to turn even if we are uncomfortable with the message:
So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:67-69).
Sometimes, when our faith is weak, it can be hard to trust. But then, we remember that there is only one God and one Lord Jesus Christ. To whom else could we go?
Filed under God, Judgment
Occasionally…OK…quite regularly, it is helpful to go back to Scripture and be reminded that God really is the sovereign king. That Jesus really is in control of every little bit of this broken, sinful, messed up world:
You made him [Jesus] for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet. Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him (Hebrews 2:7-8).
I sometimes, quite selfishly, desire that Jesus would come again immediately. Then, I think of so many friends and family that are not saved. Friends and family that, if Jesus came today, would only experience his eternal judgment and not his eternal grace and love. And, I can only be thankful that Jesus continues to be patient with them as he was patient with me.
But you, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations (Lamentations 5:19).
Taken out of its context, this verse from the prophet Jeremiah appears similar to many other verses that extol the eternal reign of the almighty God. Read in the context of chapter 5 and the even the whole book of Lamentations, the statement is surprising. The Israelites have been utterly devastated. Here is a partial list from chapter 5 of the atrocities that have befallen them:
- Lost their homes and wealth to foreign invaders
- Lost family members
Jeremiah recognizes that these things can only occur because God has turned his back on that sinful nation. God had taken away his protection and favor. So, Jeremiah appeals to the sovereign Lord to restore the nation to himself. As much as we desire God’s favor, it often takes the trials of this life to remind us to turn back to him. Like Jeremiah, we must turn to the Lord in repentance and look for God’s mercy.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7).
If you are a Christian and are not moved by those words, you had better check your pulse. No wait, that will not help since a Christian without a pulse will be enjoying those immeasurable riches.
This is one of those great “But God” verses demonstrating the sovereign love of God. I absolutely love the way it conveys the idea that we have already been raised up and seated in the heavenly places. One might think that Paul would point to our salvation in describing the immeasurably riches of God’s grace. He certainly could have! But, Paul tells us that God is going to show us even more of his grace in the future. Christian, if you heart is not beating faster thinking about that, go read it again!
Just as God’s unilateral action and initiative was the unique and indispensable key to preserving humanity in the days of Noah, to God selecting a nation for himself, to appointing Jesus to die for sinners, and to Christ resurrecting from the dead … so it is the key to applying salvation to the lives of sinful individuals (Casey Lute, But God, L. 784).
It can be easy to be discouraged about this world as we see evil perpetrated by leadership around the world, including in our own country. We should remember that
he who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them (the kings of the earth and the rulers) in derision (Psalm 2:4).
The Lord is in control and his wrath and fury will come upon them (Psalm 2:5) and they will be dashed to pieces (Psalm 2:9), unless they repent and turn to him. God is in control.