So many people think of God as a really big being somewhere, Who is only concerned about and involved in really big issues. Certainly this big God is too occupied with big concerns to be interested in and bothered by the little things in our day-to-day living. After all, He has a whole universe to think about and care for.
This is a more common view than we might first think, even held subconsciously by folks who are very devout believers. You know, a mega-God Who is primarily attentive to mega-galaxies, mega-issues and mega-churches. But when it comes to the hoi polloi and their humdrum daily routines, God is really on that level uninvolved and antisocial. Little peons like us with our routine, piddly concerns are in most matters of life on our own.
GOD CONTROLS EVERY DETAIL OF LIFE
But if this mega-emphasis was alone the case and true, then how do we begin to explain God’s hyper-attention to detail when we are told in His Word in Matthew 10:29-30,
“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them
will fall to the ground apart from your Father
“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
“THERE ISN’T THE LEAST THING BUT IT IS CONTROLLED BY
THE MIND AND HAND OF GOD.”
Not one little tweety-bird or one skinny hair can fall to the ground outside of the Father’s control. God’s sovereignty control is that minute, for His eyes and hands are over the most inconsiderable things. God is the quintessential micro-manager.
I recall M. Wayne Benson asking the following questions in one of his sermons, and I have never forgotten them or lost the feeling of their striking impact. He asked, “So then we ask ourselves, who determines who will be male or female? Who determines who will be goose or gander? Who determines who will be stallion or mare? Who controls all of that? Is it the gynecologist, the gooseologist, the horseologist, or God?”
Or again, “Who determines who is going to be 5’6’’ tall and who is going to be 6’5’ tall? Who determines average height, short, and tall? It is the Republicans, the Democrats, the Independents, or God?”
And again, “Who determines that every ocean in this world has a beat, in fact, 26 beats to the minute? Whether giant breakers, more gentle rolling breakers, no give, no take, 26 beats to the minute. Who determines that, the Southern Baptists, the Assemblies of God, or God Himself?”
And once more, “Who determines that a cow
gets up on his back legs
, a horse
gets up on his front legs
, and how we get out of the sack at times on all fours
? Who determines that one will be front wheel drive, one rear wheel drive, and one four wheel drive? Who determines that, the CIA
, the FBI
, or God
You see, who and what kind of parents we have, what kind of opportunties we were born into is not our choosing but God’s. How we treat those parents and what we do with those opportunities is our responsbility, and not God’s. We must stop looking down on people with disdain or looking up at people with envy. God creates men differently and uniquely, though He loves them all infinitely.
How we need to hear all of this, and come against prejudice and judgmentalism of people for who they are, how they look, where and to whom they were born. We control none of this, only God does. We must be intolerant of Ann Richard’s snide comment about President George W. Bush when she said:
“HE WAS BORN ON THIRD BASE, AND THOUGHT HE HIT A TRIPLE.”
You see, the world would answer all of this with comments like, “Hey, that is how the cookie crumbles?” Or, “That’s just the luck of draw.” Or, “That’s just the hand you been dealt by mother nature.” Or, “That’s how the chips fall.” Or, “It is all in the alignment of the planets.” Or, “It’s just the whim of the moment.” On and on and on, but never giving one indication that a supreme being is in control. As Francis Schaeffer once stated:
“MODERN MAN HAS BOTH FEET FIRLMLY PLANTED IN MID-AIR.”
The world is so godless in its thinking, and yet at the same time so devilish in its consciousness, that they often speak a phrase in Satan’s honor which says,
“THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS.”
Well, the fact of the matter is quite the opposite, and it is this:
“GOD IS IN THE DETAILS.”
Only God controls every detail, big or small – 5’6” or 6’5” details of our lives, and there is not one detail that He overlooks or that gets away from His power and plan. God has it all under control, the little details, the medium details, and the big details. God is in the details. He overlooks nothing!
This means that we don’t ever have to get lost in the overwhelming details, or get under the circumstances ever again. When we fully trust the Lord to look after matters, and control the circumstances that are beyond our control (and God knows there are zillions of them), then we can fly above them. We read in Isaiah 40:31,
“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they
will mount up with wings like eagles….”
Eagles have been known to fly 14 miles without once flapping their wings. Effortless! They just mount up on the air currents, and flow with the winds of the heavens. So we too can rise, soar, float, fly above our circumstances on the wings of the Spirit, and on the winds of God’s powerful and perfect providence.
But what if there is turbulence and even some heavy storms and contrary winds. Oh yes, in every life there are and will be those. The skies of United are not always friendly, and I have been there. I have witnessed the remarkable phenomenon in the air in a loaded jet plane, when hundreds of passengers maintained several minutes of total silence, which was only broken by a curse word shrieked in terror.
In this world of imperfection, storms are possible, failure is common, heartache is likely, and ignoble deeds are commonplace. That does not mean we have to panic and crash in defeat.
We read in Romans 8:28 this incredible assurance,
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for
good to those who love God, to those who are called
according to His purpose.”
That simply and yet most profoundly means this:
“FOR THOSE WHO LOVE GOD, HE WILL BRING ALL THINGS
IN THEIR LIVES TO A BLESSED END AND CONCLUSION.”
So we can relax and leave the flying to God.
But also be sure of this, when we doubt the controlling goodness and power of God, we will find ourselves in darkness and despair in seat 13E of our certainly doomed aircraft. That is exactly what happens to row upon row of people in this world of unbelief and doubting. We read in Romans 1:21 that they don’t glorify God, nor do they thank Him for His goodness. Then the next thing that happens in Romans 1:21 is that their minds and hearts are darkened. Listen:
“WHEN WE DOUBT THE CONTROLLING POWER AND GOODNESS
OF GOD IN EVERY DETAIL OF OUR LIVES, WE THEN FIND
OURSELVES IN DARKNESS AND DOUBT.”
Footnote #1 – God Controls Every Detail
A quick caution and mandate! Simply because God is a stickler for details and covers them all, does not mean that we can be casual and slovenly about details. Just the contrary. Fact:
“BECAUSE GOD IS A STICKLER ABOUT DETAILS, WE TOO
MUST BE STICKLERS ABOUT DETAILS, BECAUSE
IT IS PART OF THE IMAGE OF GOD IN US.”
And be assured of this:
“IF WE ARE NOT IN THE DETAILS, THE DEVIL WILL BE IN
THE DETAILS AND KICK OUR TAILS.”
Look, Jesus said in Matthew 25:23,
“…you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge
of many things, enter into the joy of the Lord.”
Footnote #2 – God Controls Every Detail
If America would welcome God back into the details of government, we would not be in the mess we are in on every level. Y ou say, “Well, I thought you said He is in the details.” I did and I am. What we are talking about here is tending to the details in God’s way.
Chuck Colson addressed the legislature of the state of Texas some years ago. He told them that the the answer to our nation’s serious crime problem and overcrowded prisons is to take the non-violent criminals out of prison and pay back their victims with restitution. This is the only we can solve the prison crowding problem.
Afterwards members of the legislature came up to Colson
one after another and said things like, “That’s tremendous, why hasn’t anyone thought of that before?” Colson replied, “Read Exodus 44, it is what God said to Moses on Mount Sinai thousands of years ago
Footnote #3 – God Controls Every Detail
, like so many, was a duffer golfer
, and would hit the ball with all his might and it wouldn’t go where he wanted to go, and it did go everywhere he did not want it to go. One day a stranger
was playing ahead of Speight
, and this fellow had no trouble hitting the ball both straight and far.
Speight, on the other hand, lumbered along the fairway in a grumpy and sullen mood slapping at the ball, moving it a few yards at a time. The gentleman ahead of him offered some advice, “You are swinging too hard, young fellow,” he said, “just relax, take it easy, and let the club do the work. That’s what golf is all about.”
This wasn’t the first time Speight had heard this. It was, however, the first time he was willing to listen. The club was designed to hit the ball, not you, the other man told him. Richard was trying to move the ball with brute force. “I had been feeling totally responsible and totally inadequate at the same time,” Speight admitted. He took the advice and let the club do the work and what a difference it made. The ball rose, sailed smoothly down the fairway, and fell in the middle of the green.
Sadly, Speight’s former golf game also represented his and our prayer life often, in that we feel we need to be in control. We pray for results not only, but we with Speight tell God what to do. We pray for action, and then tell God what action to take. Many of us fill our lives with unnecessary stress, worry, and aggravation because we will not trust and entrust our lives to God, and then let go and let God.
“DON’T TRY TO CONTROL GOD AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES BY
YOUR PRAYERS, BUT RATHER GIVE GOD CONTROL OF THE
CIRCUMSTANCES BY YOUR PRAYERS.”
That is what true prayer is, lettting God hit the ball.
GOD CONTROLS JUDGEMENTS IN HISTORY
Briefly, on the smaller scale of divine judgments, I am reminded of the words of Ecclesiastes 9:11 KJV,
“The battle is not always to the strong.”
Wicked King Abimelech, King of Shechem, killed 70 sons of his father on a stone in Ophrah, with the help of his mother’s relatives. Lo and behold, while at the head of his army, a woman from a wall drops a millstone on Abimelech’s head and does him in. I guess you could say, “Sow a murderous stone, reap your deadly millstone.” We read in I Samuel 11:21,
“Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a
woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall
so that he died at Thebez?”
Well, almost did him in, for while near death, Abimelech in his pride asked his armor-bearer to finish the job with his sword, so it would never be reported that he had lost his life to a woman. This meant that he was mortally wounded and would surely have died anyway, and he knew it!
Now on a much larger scale, when God has had it with sinful mankind, the line that He draws is not some powdery-blue chalk line to slow things down, but rather a dark-blue flood that drowns man and beast on the spot.
God will not be made a fool of by trying to hang on to the tail of history which has become some depraved and bloodthirsty beast with cannibal rulers. He will not only cut off history’s tail, He will cut off its head. When and how it happens is under God’s control down to the last detail.
How could we ever forget the character in the Bible by the name of Enoch? He is most famous for being the first “Vanishing Pedestrian,” after having walked with God in his life. The Scripture that even non-Enoch fans can quote word for word in Genesis 6:24,
“And Enoch walked with God; and he was not,
for God took him.”
Enoch had a son by the name of Methuselah who lived to be 969 years. We don’t know much about Methuselah, except he is known most famously as the oldest man that ever lived on earth. But when you carefully examine old Methuselah, it was not now long he lived, but it is why he lived so long that really defines him. (He embodies both the longsuffering nature of God toward sinners, and the anger of God against sinners who abuse His mercy so much that God cannot and will not keep His wrath back any longer.)
By the way, in that regard, the name of Methuselah is of huge significance. What’s in a name? I don’t know about today, for parents now don’t generally name their kids by divine guidance, but by family trees, current popularity, and also it would seem now for rarity and shock value.
But in the Bible, names are hugely and spiritually important. They had to do with character, calling, and sometimes even catastrophes that God was going to bring upon the world. No, there were no middle initials or last names for the most part. There is only one name per person, so you had better as parents get the names from God and get them right.
Throughout Scripture God gave no one misnomers, that is to say:
“GOD NEVER GAVE HONORABLE NAMES TO WRETCHES, NOR DID
HE GIVE REPROACHFUL NAMES TO THE WORTHY.”
When God named you, that is who you are and would show yourself to be. Just ask “Cain the Spear” (murdered his brother) and “Jacob the Deceiver” (cheated his brother). Man oh man, there is no place to hide when you can’t even run from your own name.
Furthermore, kids in my class were not remembered for what God did through them, or for what He was going to do. Rather, particularly in my adolescence, guys at school were known for what they did, and it generally was not too complimentary. Their names were not so much famous as they were infamous. There was Paul the Wedger (he gave other guys wedgies), Merle the Twister (he gave others guys painful twisties on their arms), and Vaughn the Nose Picker (he needs no explanation) to name just a few.
But Methuselah by name had a global impact on the world that history would never forget, and that would never be seen or repeated again. We read in Genesis 6:21,
“And Enoch lived 65 years, and became the father of Methuselah.”
Methuselah was given an ominous name, a prophetic name, a name of judgment. The name Methuselah comes from two Hebrew root words, the first meaning “Death,” and the second root word meaning “To Bring.” In other words, the force of the meaning of his name is this:
“WHEN HE DIES – IT SHALL COME.”
“WHEN HE DIES – IT SHALL BE BROUGHT TO PASS.”
If you will, as long as Methuselah lives, no flood judgment. But when he passes away, he will take the entire human race out with him, excepting Noah and his family.
Which simply means this:
“WHEN GOD DESIGNS JUDGMENT, NOBODY KNOWS BY WHAT
UNUSUAL, LITTLE-REGARDED MEANS GOD’S WRATH
SHALL BE BROUGHT.”
I mean, who would have ever dreamt that when they greeted Methuselah from day to day, and they had plenty of opportunity to do so, for this is the guy who seemingly couldn’t die, they were speaking forth and sealing their own capital punishment for sin by drowning in a cosmic flood?
So sure are God’s means of judgment that:
“WHEN GOD CHOOSES HIS INSTRUMENT OF JUDGMENT, THIS
MEANS THAT THE WOMAN ON THE WALL COULD NOT
MISS, AND METHUSELAH’S MOTHER COULD
On yes, the world and mankind’s condition had become so degraded and filthy before the flood, that we read these incredible words in Genesis 6:5,
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on
the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his
heart was evil and that continually.”
The entire world had become one huge, rotten, stinking toilet bowl that had to be flushed. Man’s every thought and intention was like putrid, explosive streams of immoral diarrhea. And who would have ever guessed that the man, who by his death would do the flushing, was that seemingly indestructible and immortal fella name Methuselah?!
And so the life of Methuselah went on and on and on. During this time, Methuselah’s grandson Noah became the Sir John Hawkins and Billy Graham of that day. Noah was a shipbuilder and at the same time a preacher of righteousness. (II Peter 2:5) He called the sinful world to repent and come back to God. Noah went on building and preaching and Methuselah went on living because of the patient, longsuffering mercy of God. We read in I Peter 3:20,
“…when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah….”
Aging grandpa and grandson in tandem, and with every weakening heartbeat in the old man, the words and sounds of the preaching, clanking, pounding, and sawing grandson/shipbuilder/evangelist became louder and stronger. The urgency intensified, but the more that Noah preached and built and warned about the coming flood, the more he heard the mob’s mocking. Can’t you just hear it:
“COME ON, DON’T BELIEVE THAT STUFF, THAT STORY IS AS
OLD AS METHUSELAH.”
People don’t change much from age to age, for we are told that as the end of the world as we know it comes, people will say pretty much the same thing, as prerecorded in II Peter 3:4,
“Where is the promise of His coming! For things are pretty
much the same as always.”
Remember now, Methuselah’s name meant:
“WHEN HE DIES, IT SHALL BE BROUGHT TO PASS.”
When Methuselah passed away, so did the inhabitants of the whole earth, save Noah and his family. The fountains of the earth and heavens broke loose, and the flood came so quick and high, that we read in Genesis7:17-20,
“Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the
water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it
rose above the earth.”
“And the water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth;
and the ark floated upon the surface of the water.”
“And the water prevailed more and more upon the earth,
so that all the high mountains everywhere under
the heavens were covered.”
“The water prevailed 15 cubits higher, and the mountains
That by the way means that the flood waters boiled up to 22 and ½ feet above the highest mountain peek. Of course, for earth’s deep reservoirs have been piling up for 969 years with every beat of Methuselah’s heart, and when he finally died they exploded like volcanoes.
The unimaginable result is recorded in Genesis 7:22,
“Of all that was on dry land, all in whose nostrils was the
breath of life, died.”
That is to say, when Methuselah breathed his last, so the whole world of man and animal expired with him. If you will:
“ETERNAL JUDGMENT IS ALWAYS AND ONLY ONE HEARTBEAT
AND ONE BREATH AWAY.”
Yes, indeed, at a Divinely known and controlled final heartbeat and breath
, history shall expire and all men outside of the ark shall perish by drowning in a lake of fire forever
Footnote – God Controls Judgments In History
Isaac Asimov once told the hilarious story about a Rabbi Feldman who was having trouble with his congregation. It seemed they could agree on nothing. The president of the congregation said, “Rabbi, this cannot be allowed to continue. Come, there must be a conference, and we must settle all areas of dispute once and for all.” The rabbi agreed.
At the appointed time, the rabbi, the president, and ten elders met in the conference room of the synagogue, sitting around a magnificent mahogany table. One by one the issues were dealt with and on each issue it became more and more apparent that the rabbi was a lonely voice in the wildnerness.
Then the president of the synagogue said, “Come Rabbi. enough of this. Let’s vote and allow the majority to rule.” He passed out the slips of paper and each man made his mark. The slips were collected and the president said, “You may examine them, Rabbi. It is eleven to one against you. We have the majority.”
Whereupon the rabbi rose to his feet in offended majesty. “So,” he said, “you now think that because you have the vote that you are right and I am wrong. Well, that is not so. I stand here (and he raised his arms impressively) and call upon the Holy One of Israel to give us a sign that I am right and you are wrong.”
As he said this, there came a frightful crack of thunder and a brilliant flash of lightning that struck the mahogany table simultaneously and cracked it in two. The room was filled with smoke and fumes, and the president and the elders were hurled to the floor. Through the carnage, the rabbi remained erect and untouched, his eyes were flashing and a grim smile on his face.
Slowly the president lifted himself above what was left of the table. His hair was singed, his glasses were hanging down from one ear, his clothing was in disarray. Finally he said, “All right, elven to two, but we still have the majority.”
GOD CONTROLS ALL THINGS ON PURPOSE
Let us rejoice in the fact found in Ephesians 1:11,
“…according to His purpose who works all things after the
counsel of His will.”
God is not only totally in control, but controls everything with a purpose. Our God has purposes and plans, and they are going to be fulfilled for they are controlled by Him to the last detail. God’s purposes and plans never have to be reversed, revised, recycled, redetermined, or recalled. God’s purposes and plans are older than the devil, older than Hell, and all opposition to His purposes and plans will fail.
Furthermore, God never has to call a meeting to plan for an emergency situation, you know, an emergency meeting of the three persons of the Holy Trinity and say, “Dear Me, my oh my oh my, things are not going as planned, things are bad, things are out of hand, what are we going to do.” No, no, no, never panic or anything close to it in the Godhead.
One of the first things John on Patmos saw in his heavenly vision, when he was carried away by the Spirit of God on the Lord’s Day, was a throne. We read his words in Revelation 4:2,
“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was
set in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.”
What He saw was an eternal fact, for that throne had never been constructed. It is an eternal throne, and God the eternal God is sitting on that throne carrying out His eternal purposes and plans by His eternal rule and power. Thus follows the entire book of Revelation encompassing the entire purpose and plan of God for this world and for mankind.
I recall the story of a young woman coming up to Sun Yung Moon one day after church, and she said to him, “The death of Jesus Christ was a mistake and a waste, and you are the present day Messiah.” Blasphemy! Damn these false Christs that allow people to worship them. If I had been there, I would have had to fight down the urge to turn her over my knee, and give her the biggest and most painful spanking of her life right then and there. And then take Sun Yung Moon over my knee and do the same. I have always wanted so spank a false christ.
“THE SON OF GOD, OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, THE
ONLY AND TRUE MESSIAH, DID NOT DIE BY CHANCE,
OR BY MISTAKE.”
“THE GREATEST THING THAT HAS EVER COME TO PASS – THE
DEATH OF THE SON OF GOD FOR OUR SINS, WAS NOT
LEFT TO AN UNDETERMINED SET
Please read with me Acts 2:22-23,
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: ‘Jesus the Nazarene,
a man attested to you by God with miracle and wonders
and signs which God performed through Him in your
midst, just as you yourselves know,”
“This Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and fore-
knowledge of God, you nailed to the cross by the
hands of godless men and put Him to death
“GOD’S PURPOSE AND PLAN FOR THE WORLD’S SALVATION DID
NOT REST ONLY ON A NUMBER OF POSSIBILITIES.”
“THE REDEMPTION OF MANKIND DID NOT HANG LOOSE AS TO
WHETHER THERE WOULD BE SUCH A THING OR NOT.”
Let this sink in:
“JESUS WAS DELIVERED OVER TO HIS KILLERS NOT ULTIMATELY
BY JUDAS, BUT BY THE PREDETERMINED PURPOSE AND
PLAN OF GOD.”
I am no hyper-Calvinist that leaves no room for the free will of man to be responsible in all of this. I was brought up in a heritage that came very close at times to seeing ourselves as computerized Christmas figures in store windows that recite stories and lines while moving their mouths and blinking their eyes. Nonsense! In the same passage where we find God’s predetermined purpose and plan for our salvation, we read in Acts 2:23,
“…this man…you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless
men and put Him to death.”
Yes I know, to put all of this together in our little pea brains is like an anaconda trying to swallow a whole elephant. We are Christians not by figuring but by faithing.
But we must realize in wonder and worship, that Jesus Christ was never engaged in a game of Russian roulette as an unwilling participant. Calvary was no accident, and not for a moment left to the hands of chance or uncertainty. Write it down:
“THIS LITTLE DOT CALLED EARTH IS THE PLACE WHERE GOD
AND NO ONE ELSE, IS WORKING OUT HIS PURPOSES
AND PLANS FOR ALL ETERNITY.”
We close with the words of Isaiah 43:11-13 KJV,
“I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior.”
“I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when
there was no strange god among you: therefore you
are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.”
“Yea, before the day was I am He; and there is none that
can deliver out of My hand: I will work, and who
shall let (stop) it?”