Our Wise and Sovereign God
When have you trusted God’s power in a difficult time?
The prophet Daniel was taken into exile in Babylon when King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. Stress was high for the Israelites, but Daniel found hope by seeing God as “the one who changes times and eras, who dethrones one king, only to establish another, who grants wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those with insight” (Daniel 2:21). He trusted God’s power in a difficult time.
Daniel focused on what is called, in theology, the “sovereignty of God.” This approach regards God as the supreme ruler, the master of the universe, and the one who wields ultimate power. The sovereign God works out the divine purposes, in every time and place and situation.
God’s sovereignty is easy to celebrate in good times, but it can be acknowledged in painful times as well. Historian Eric Washington of Calvin College has studied African American church history and discovered that many enslaved people found comfort in God’s sovereignty, even while in captivity. “Believing in God’s sovereignty gave slaves a way to see their suffering as redemptive suffering. They chose to see their suffering not in vain but as having a purpose in God’s sovereign plan. … They learned to trust in Christ through suffering. They rejoiced in Christ as they left slavery, whether through escaping, buying or being granted freedom, or emancipation.”
From songs and spirituals that came out of the pain of slavery, it is clear that many saw evidence of God at work throughout the journey from enslavement to freedom. Along with Daniel, they lifted their voices and said, “God’s name be praised from age to eternal age! Wisdom and might are his!” (verse 20). They discovered, even in bad times, that “God is the one who uncovers what lies deeply hidden; he knows what hides in darkness; light lives with him!” (verse 22). They trusted God’s light to shine in their lives, even in a time of deep darkness.
God’s sovereignty was revealed first in Genesis, when God made an “enduring covenant” (Genesis 17:7) with Abraham and his descendants. This covenant is enduring because God is sovereign, able to do exactly what God wants to do, in every time, place and situation. Daniel discovered that God was true to the covenant, and he said “I acknowledge and praise you, my fathers’ God! You’ve given me wisdom and might” (verse 23).
We can be thankful that God always takes the lead in this relationship. Along with Daniel, we discover that our Sovereign God is always faithful to us, offering us wisdom and might.
Sovereign God, thank you for standing with me, especially in challenging times. Amen.