I recently ran across two pictures that vividly illustrated one of the fundamental principles revealed in the Scriptures — namely, the sovereignty of God.
The first was a painting by Pat Marvenko Smith, the remarkable illustrator of the book of Revelation. It showed the hand of God reaching down from Heaven to knock the playing pieces off a chessboard spread across the surface of the earth. It reminded me of how God so often intervenes in history to summarily dismiss the best laid plans of political leaders. He is able to confuse, frustrate and defeat the goals of the most powerful kings, presidents and prime ministers.
The other picture was an editorial cartoon by the insightful Israeli artist, Oleg Schwartzburg. It showed Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, involved in a tug of war with several leaders of the world's superpowers. They are pulling mightily and sweating profusely while Netanyahu, standing alone, easily resists their pull, all because the finger of God rests on his end of the rope! It cleverly illustrates the only explanation possible for the continued existence of Israel since 1948, through war after war. How else can you explain the survival of less than two million Jews in the midst of a sea of Arabs exceeding 300 million in number?
Two key verses concerning the sovereignty of God can be found in the Psalms:
Psalm 103:19 — "The Lord has established His throne in the heavens; and His sovereignty rules over all."
Psalm 135:5-6 — "I know the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, He does."
Do you remember when the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, was rendered insane and lived like an animal for seven years, crawling around in fields eating grass? Daniel wrote that this whole experience was for the purpose of impressing upon the king "that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it [dominion] on whomever He wishes." (Daniel 4:32). Later, when Nebuchadnezzar regained his senses, he proclaimed the sovereignty of God: "All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He [God] does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth ..." (Daniel 4:35).
The hand of God can be upon someone in either a good or a bad sense. King David mentioned the positive aspect when he prayed, "...in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great, and to strengthen everyone" (1 Chronicles 29:12). But the magicians of Pharaoh, in response to the third plague of gnats, bemoaned, "This is the finger of God" (Exodus 8:19).
Every time things appear to be getting out of control on the world scene, and the bad guys appear to be getting the upper hand, I remind myself of Psalm 2. That psalm declares that while all the political leaders of the world conspire against the Lord and His Messiah, God sits in the heavens and laughs! He laughs not because He doesn't care. He cares intensely. He laughs because He has it all under control (see Psalm 2:1-5).
In short, Almighty God has the wisdom and the power to orchestrate all the evil of Mankind to the triumph of His Son.
We believers are in good hands, and because of that, we are going to win in the end!