Tag Archives: sovereignty of God

It’s not about us, it’s about God’ plan & glory!

Our self-centred fallen nature puts so much interest in what happens to us, what we do, how we feel, etc. But all these become unimportant when we come to realise and appreciate the humbling fact that our very existence is not about us, but for the glory of God. Let that sink in and you will have a new perspective of everything….

Matt 26:75 – Could Peter have avoided denying Jesus?

‘And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.’Matthew 26:75

Jesus said to Peter in Matt 26:34 “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” In response, Peter answered in Matt 26:35 “…Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”.

Since Peter’s denial was already prophesied, could he have avoided it? The simple answer is NO. God’s secret “sovereign will” MUST, and without any doubt, certainly come to pass. But that should not make us adopt fatalistic views on this matter. We cannot make excuses for sins we fall into. We cannot deny human responsibility in sin and blame everything on God’s “sovereign will”.

Peter’s sin of denial cannot be vindicated with the reason that “he could not help it” since it was decreed that he would deny Jesus. Peter had been warned. He should have taken the words of Jesus seriously. He could have prayerfully sought help so that he may not fall into that sin. Who knows if God may relent and spare him of falling into it? But Peter did not heed Jesus’s warning. Instead, he placed himself in circumstances that “facilitated” the fulfillment of the prophesy. For example, upon his first denial, he should have remembered what Jesus said. He should & could have been even more alert or even moved away from where he was. But he did not. (Someone jokingly even said that he should have stayed away from places where there were roosters.)

The whole point to note in this episode is that the reason for Peter’s sin was really because he was afraid to be associated with Jesus. It was not simply because it was decreed. Most of the time, we don’t even know God’s secret will or decrees. Only God’s “revealed will” (in the form of what is written in the bible) is made known to us. Hence, it is His “revealed will” that we should obey. And as we take each step “obeying” and (often times) “disobeying” God’s “revealed will”, His “secret will” is made manifest.

As for Peter, this episode made him realise that he was not as “strong” as he presented himself to be. He has come to understand that every word that Jesus said will be fulfilled. Peter realised that Jesus was indeed God. And it was the design of God to work out all that Peter was experiencing for his good (Rom 8:28). This is the mysterious promise that “all things work for our good” which only believers can have. Let this cause us to bow down and worship our sovereign God.

(Afternote: the doctrine of the sovereignty of God is not easy to comprehend. I welcome questions on this subject. When you have appreciated it, it will bring you great comfort and assurance that you have a sovereign God who has everything under His control. Please refer to another sermon I had preached on this subject to understand more.)

Psa 39:4-6 – Lord, make me to know my end…

“ Lord , make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them.” Psa 39:4-6

This is a sober reminder of how frail we are, that God is the Creator and we the creatures. How important it is that we have a right measure of ourselves before our Creator! This will keep us humble and meek in our interactions with fellow men.

Job 41:11 – Who owns the universe?

Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine.  Job 41:11

This is the declaration of God Himself. He tells us that no one existed before Him. Everything under heaven belongs to Him. Gen 1:1 tells us that God created the heavens and the earth when nothing existed. Let this truth and reality sink into us. Let us worship the maker and ruler of the universe.

Job 38:1-41 – Listen as God speaks….

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy? “Or who shut in the sea with doors, When it burst forth and issued from the womb; When I made the clouds its garment, And thick darkness its swaddling band; When I fixed My limit for it, And set bars and doors; When I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, And here your proud waves must stop!’ “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, And caused the dawn to know its place, That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it? It takes on form like clay under a seal, And stands out like a garment. From the wicked their light is withheld, And the upraised arm is broken. “Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. “Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place, That you may take it to its territory, That you may know the paths to its home? Do you know it, because you were born then, Or because the number of your days is great? “Have you entered the treasury of snow, Or have you seen the treasury of hail, Which I have reserved for the time of trouble, For the day of battle and war? By what way is light diffused, Or the east wind scattered over the earth? “Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, Or a path for the thunderbolt, To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one, A wilderness in which there is no man; To satisfy the desolate waste, And cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass? Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like stone, And the surface of the deep is frozen. “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth? “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, That an abundance of water may cover you? Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, And say to you, ‘Here we are! ’? Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven, When the dust hardens in clumps, And the clods cling together? “Can you hunt the prey for the lion, Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, When they crouch in their dens, Or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait? Who provides food for the raven, When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food?  Job 38:1-41

These are the words of God Himself, spoken to Job. Pause whatever you are doing. Ponder and mediate over what He has said. When the truth sinks in to us, we can do nothing but bow down and worship Him in awe.