The Power of God: The Power of God in his Sovereign Rule
“He made…every nation…having determined their appointed times and boundaries”
Several years ago, we climbed the steep steps to the place where Paul spoke these words. To the North we overlooked the great marketplace of the antient city of Athens. To the east we looked upon the famous Acropolis where the ancient Greeks celebrated their worship of the goddess Athena. A little further east are the ruins of what was once a magnificent temple built for Zeus. During this time, Athens remained as one of the key cities in the Roman Empire. While the commercial center had shifted to Corinth, Athens remain the center of art, culture, and learning. It was also the center for much of the polytheistic religions that governed people’s views throughout Greece and the Roman empire. It has been estimated that there were over 30,000 idols to various gods found throughout the city. It was here, on Mars Hill, that the great intellectuals of the city would gather together to conduct philosophical debates. In their time, the famous philosophers of Greece could be found holding court on this hill. Men like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. And it was here that Paul told them about the “Unknown God.”
In contrast to the polytheist gods of the day who required assistance from humans to obtain their food, Paul spoke of the God of the universe who does not dwell in temples nor is dependent upon human hands. He is self-sufficient and self-sustaining. Rather than needed people to help provide him life, he is the source of all life on the earth and his power is revealed in his sovereign rule where he governs the nations, determining their boundaries and the appointed times they exist.
The Psalmist says in Ps 45:6, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” We need to remember who is in control and who rules the earth. God is active and sovereign, and his power is revealed in his guidance of all the affairs of the nations. But not only is he sovereign over the nations, he is in control of our life as well. Again, the Psalmist states “And in Your book were all written the Days that were ordained for me.” But his sovereign rule is not the rule of an indifferent, capricious God who orchestrates history and our lives as if we were a mere puppet. Rather he is an infinitely loving God who oversees the events in our life in order that we might know him and rejoice in his rule. During these days when it seems that events beyond our control are dictating the course of our life, we can be assured that God is the unseen hand protecting, guiding and directly these events for a purpose in the world, our nation and our own individual life. Furthermore, his infinite power means that there is nothing in the universe that can hinder or thwart that purpose. Therefore, we can have complete rest in him. We do not know what the future has in store, but we can rejoice that we not only have a God who does, but also one who controls those events with purpose as part of his plan for our life. Today, when you find yourself becoming anxious about tomorrow, remember God’s power is at work moving all of history in such a way that his plan is not only accomplished in the nations, but also in your life as you surrender to him.