When you study the Holy Scriptures, how do you do it? First, you research. You compare scripture to scripture, consult a concordance, dictionary, and a Bible commentary. Then you reason from the biblical truths and identify spiritual principles. Finally, you relate these truths and spiritual principles to your own life. Many people record their Bible studies. To help you develop a biblical worldview you will use the research, reason, relate, and record teaching method, popularly called the Principle Approach. To learn more about the Principle Approach for teaching and learning, visit the Foundation for American Christian Education.
Select and print the lesson below. There are 10 lessons, each one containing scriptures and words to define using the online Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary. The study questions are designed to help you develop a biblical worldview and the principles of godly leadership. The training is based on the book, The Kingdom Leadership Institute Manual: Raising Up Leaders a Time Like This Demands, by Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas.
Lesson 5: The Sovereignty of God
Swiss Church historian and historian of the Reformation period, J.H. Merle D’ Aubigne (1794-1872), wrote:
History should live by that life which belongs to it, and that life is God. In history, God should be acknowledged and proclaimed. The history of the world should be set forth as the annals of the government of the Sovereign King.
God is ever present on that vast theatre where successive generations on men meet and struggle. [History] appears as a majestic temple on which the invisible hand of God himself is at work, and which rises to his glory above the rock of humanity.
God’s Invisible Hand at Work
The God of the Bible is the sovereign Lord. The Bible teaches, “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). Ideas have consequences and a belief system leads somewhere. In order to think and reason biblically, you must understand God’s sovereignty and superintendence. He is the ultimate authority. There is nothing beyond his jurisdiction, nothing escapes his notice, and no one is beyond his power. Just as Aubigne asserted, history belongs to him. It is His-story.
It is God who rules and reigns in the affairs of men. He sets up kingdoms and knocks them down according to the counsel of his own will. He is the one who possesses and dispossesses nations based upon their obedience or disobedience to his divine laws (Deuteronomy 28).
Our Founding Fathers understood the truth of God’s sovereignty and superintendence. So well did they understand it, they determined to open each session of the Continental Congress beseeching his help. After five weeks of disagreement, the Continental Congress was on the verge of dismantling. On July 28, 1787, eighty-one year old Benjamin Franklin made the following motion:
In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, & they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor.
And have we forgotten that powerful friend or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs the affairs of men. And if the sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that 'except the Lord builds the House, they labor in vain who build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little, partial local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance despair of establishing government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, or conquest. I therefore beg leave that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessings on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business(Click to read the full text).
Look up the definition for “superintendence” in the online Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary. Write out the definition.
Look up the definition for the verb “dispossess. Write out the definition.
Continue your word study. Look up the definition for "disposer.” Record the two definitions below.
Compare what you have learned to the scriptures. Read Jeremiah 1:10, Psalm 52:5 and Proverbs 2:22. Who dispossesses the wicked?
Read Isaiah 44:28, 45:1-6 and Ezra 1:1-3; Exodus 6:1 and 7:3-5; 1 Kings 22:19-23 and 29-35; and finally, Proverbs 21:1.
Reason from the scriptures and your word study. Who is superintending the events of history, of our country, of your life?
A Proper Response to God’s Sovereignty
Rufus King, a signer of the Constitution and a framer of the Bill of Rights said, "The law established by the Creator, which has existed from the beginning, extends over the whole globe, is everywhere and at all times binding upon mankind.... This is the law of God by which He makes His way known to man and is paramount to all human control."
Patrick Henry stated, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religion but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We shall not fight alone. God presides over the destinies of nations."
John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, stated, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for its rulers."
Finally, relate the principles of sovereignty and superintendence to your own life and the world around you. If, as our Founding Fathers believed, “God governs in the affairs of men,” “presides over the destinies of nations,” and “has given to our people the choice of their rulers” and that his law “extends over the whole globe, is everywhere and at all times binding upon mankind,” what should your response be? Are you choosing Christian rulers? Are you working for their promotion in the political sphere? Are you preparing yourself to be a kingdom leader?
For a fuller treatise of the subject, read the Kingdom Leadership Institute Manual: Raising Up Leaders a Time Like This Demands.
Proceed to lesson 6