There’s a question that almost everyone wrestles with today—people both outside the church and people inside the church. This question has kept people from faith and it’s also shipwrecked many a believer’s faith. Actually, the question has been around for centuries, and that question is—If God is a good God and a powerful God, then why is the world so messed up? Why all the violence? Why all the suffering? Why all the war? Why all the injustice? Why has this terrible thing happened to me? Why does she have to suffer like this? Why this, why now? When it comes to understanding who God is and what God is up to in the world—when it comes to trusting God with our lives—our “why” questions are the most profound and practical questions we wrestle with. How you deal with your “why” questions will shape how you interpret your world—it will direct the way you live, and determine the condition of your heart—whether you live in hope and peace or in misery and turmoil. The answer is found in an attribute of God that’s somewhat hard to understand. The Scriptures teach that God is sovereign. What does “sovereignty” mean? What difference does it make? That’s what we will look at today as we revisit Isaiah 6 and then fast forward to Isaiah 40.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 6 & 40
SERMON SCREENSHOTS & KEY POINTS
READ Isaiah 6:1-8 — When we encounter hardship, trouble, tragedy, pain, and suffering in our lives or in the lives of the people we love it can call our core beliefs about God into question, right? We go into our “why”-questioning- default mode. Why did God allow this? Why didn’t He keep this from happening to me or to him or to her? Why this? Why now? When Uzziah, King of Judah died, it seemed to many that the world was falling apart. The Assyrian army was on the march. God was saying judgment was coming to both Israel and Judah. In Isaiah 6, the prophet sees, not only the holiness of God, (we talked about that last week), but he also saw God, high and lifted up, seated on His throne in heaven. He says, “My eyes have seen the King!”—the true King. In other words, God is still on the throne. He is still in control. He is still moving all of human history toward his predetermined end. And seeing that, Isaiah was ready to serve God in spite of being given a very disturbing and disheartening ministry—a ministry that would last until Israel and Judah were totally wiped out and taken into exile.
The fact is—all of Scripture shows us the sovereignty of God in action. You see it on every page in living color. You see it in stories like the Exodus and in Jonah’s story. You see it in poetry (Ps22:28) and in proverbs (Prov21:11). You see it proclaimed by the prophets (Dan2:21) and in the teaching of Jesus (Matt10:29-31). From Scripture, we see that God’s sovereignty is not some distant, impersonal, transcendent attribute of God. We see that God is all-powerful and all-personal. We see that God is in control of all things and in all the things that unexpectedly come into your life, he cares for you.
Isaiah 40 shows both of these important aspects of God's sovereignty as well. God is both powerful and good. He controls the course of human history—both good and bad—and he also cares for his people like a gentle shepherd.
The question is: How do you reconcile God’s power and goodness with the fact that your world sometimes seems out of control? Or the fact that, when “bad” things happen to you, it sometimes seems like God doesn’t care about you? What do we do with all the “why” questions that wreak havoc on our minds and hearts and faith? It’s true what Jen Wilkins says in her book, “None Like Him: 10 ways God is not like us.”—”The idea of God’s infinite rule (His divine sovereignty) is not only hard to grasp, but it’s also difficult to trust…” So true. The problem with both understanding and trusting God’s sovereignty boils down to this: We think that in order to make God’s power and goodness fit with the “bad” things that happen to us, we have to have God answer our “why” questions. We think we need God to explain himself to us. But that just isn’t true. Trusting God means you don’t need answers to all your “why” questions. Trusting God means you must not demand that God explain himself to you. So, what do you do?
- Decide once and for all that, by God’s grace and with his Spirit’s help, to _______________ ask God “why” again.
- Submit your “why” questions to God by submitting __________________ to God.
- Take your “why” questions to the ___________________ and leave them there.
*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.